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The 2019 ASPNR Derek Harwood-Nash Award was awarded to Shiva Shahrampour of Thomas Jefferson University for her work presented at the 57th ASNR Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts on Development of a Standardized Normative Pediatric Spinal Cord Structural Template: Demonstration of an Automatic Estimation of Spinal Cord Cross Sectional Area Measurements (SCCSA).

Synopsis: The purpose of this work is to create a structural MRI-based template of the normal pediatric spinal cord by combining T2w MR scans of several typically developing subjects.  As a demonstration of the utilization of this template, spinal cord cross sectional area was computed at disc levels in all subjects.  This work is the first to create a standardized template of the spinal cord in pediatric subjects.  The significance of this work is directly related to the need for normative pediatric references for imaging biomarkers such as SCCSA, to enable clinical interpretation of studies done on patients with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). The standardized template will facilitate group and single subject analysis in a standardized 3D space, controlling for variability among age-matched subjects. Furthermore, this template is needed to ensure the possibility of assessing specific spinal tracts to further advance our understanding of the microstructure of the spinal cord in children.

Shiva Shahrampour completed her masters in Bioengineering at Temple University in December 2014. She is currently a PhD candidate at Temple University and a research assistant in the radiology department at Thomas Jefferson University.  Her current research focuses on developing a normative spinal cord template in children as well as evaluating individual spinal tracts using automatic delineation of motor and sensory pathways based on a white matter atlas. This data could assist in extracting tract-specific diffusion biomarker information relevant for identifying pathologies in SCI.

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