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The Center for In Vivo Microscopy encourages women to pursue their interests in science and engineering

Women are still under-represented in engineering. To help counter this trend, the Center for In Vivo Microscopy (CIVM) has established a program to introduce young women to the exciting work under way in our lab. As an NIH/NIBIB national Biomedical Technology Resource Center, a key educational goal is to train the next generation of imaging scientists, including students at all educational levels from secondary through graduate school. Our summer initiatives this year reaches out to women who are interested in science and engineering. Dr. Alexandra Badea, Assistant Professor of Radiology at CIVM, is leading this initiative. Her research covers a number of disciplines ranging from sophisticated image processing to applications of MR histology in neuroscience. We urge students with interests in biomedical imaging to contact CIVM at any time of the year to see what opportunities we can provide.


Diane is a sophomore at Duke from South Korea. While she has not yet declared a major, she hopes this past summer’s experience will help grow her existing interests in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering. Guided by Drs. Badea and G. Allan Johnson, Diane has explored a new generation of visualization tools to help understand the complex changes that take place in the rat brain during the first 40 weeks of growth. She used some of the highest-resolution MR images ever acquired of the rat brain, including diffusion tensor images (DTI), to assess changes in white matter during neurologic development.


Diane using Avizo software and high-resolution diffusion
tensor images for visualizing the dynamics of rat brain
myelination as a model of neurodevelopment.



From Greensboro NC, Lauren is a Duke senior majoring in Neuroscience with minors in both Chemistry and Biology. Obviously not new to science, Lauren is doing research with one of CIVM’s collaborators, Dr. Carol Colton (Duke Neurology). Her project involves characterizing the myelin pathology in mouse models of Alzheimer’s Disease. Having skills in a wet lab, she had no prior computer science background. But working with Dr. Badea, Lauren is developing an understanding of computer programs to aid in imaging data analysis. From learning how to check accuracy of automated brain segmentation by matching labels with their respective brain images, to learning how to analyze large data sets in MATLAB, and understanding how to use voxel-wise statistics, she is broadening her knowledge and is now more comfortable with computer science. Lauren plans to apply to doctoral programs in cellular and molecular neuroscience.

Lauren with mentor, Dr. Alexandra Badea.



Chandler, now a sophomore at Durham’s Riverside High School, is already on the way to her goals through her high school’s engineering program. Although college is years away, she hopes to major in Biomedical Engineering. She tackled some of the real-world programming challenges in our lab.With help from Dr. Badea and CIVM's technical staff, she experimented with ways to register 3D MR microscopy images of mice to understand quantitative phenotypic differences. Because the images are acquired at microscopic resolution, the image arrays are considerably larger than clinical images. So, Chandler tried to overcome problems encountered with computing and memory limitations by implementing a piece-wise approach to processing smaller chunks of data and then reassembling the whole data set.

CIVM is registered as a Durham County NC agency that sponsors youth volunteers. As part of this program, Chandler volunteered with our lab and on 9/30/14 was a recipient of the 2014 Durham Mayor's Award for her work here.

Chandler working with a MATLAB program.

mayor's award Chandler with Mayor


Chandler at the 2014 Durham Mayor's Award program, with Mayor William Bell.