ERA4TB predoctoral researcher, Lara Visuña Perez has recently been awarded the Idea Puzzle prize for her research design. Lara is a researcher in the ARCOS group at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid.

What is the IDEA Puzzle award?
An annual prize of €1,000 is given to the person with the most coherent doctoral research design created with Idea Puzzle software at an authorized university. Idea Puzzle software is a decision-making tool that helps doctoral students improve the coherence of a research proposal, article or doctoral thesis. It also helps to review the strengths and weaknesses of a research project in any field of knowledge.

What is Lara’s research about?
Lara’s research titled ‘Deep Learning for the Automatic Bacilli Monitoring in Time-Lapse Microscopy (TLM) Images’, the research is a part of her doctoral thesis under the guidance of Jesús Carretero and Javier García Blas, both also from Universidad Carlos III of Madrid.

The research design proposes a method for an automated bacteria evaluation in time-lapse microscopy, utilizing artificial intelligence models and image processing. Time-lapse microscopy is employed to assess bacterial culture evolution and their response under various conditions, including exposure to different drugs.

This research has a big potential for speeding up this process of developing tuberculosis (TB) drugs and evaluation of TLM, proposing an automatic monitoring tool for mycobacterium tuberculosis culture growth. The deep learning tool is being developed as part of ERA4TB work package 1, with valuable support from EPFL and the Institut Pasteur, whom provided microscopy videos and essential assistance for testing and developing the initial version of the AI tool.

“I am delighted to have received this award; it signifies not only a great recognition of the feasibility of my proposed tool but also encourages me to advance my research career.” – Lara Visuña Perez