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Dr. Khan Iftekharuddin (EECE), and Dr. Gunvant (Southern College of Optometry) collaborated to produce a patent-pending process to improve eye disease detection
As published in the Memphis Business Journal 8/31/2009

The Pseudo 2D Fractal Analysis was developed through a collaboration between Khan Iftekharuddin, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Memphis, and Pinakin Gunvant, assistant professor at Southern College of Optometry.

Iftekharuddin and GunvantThe process uses light beamed through the back of the retina to measure the thickness of retinal tissue at certain points. If the tissue is thick at the “12 and six o’clock” points, it is an indicator of glaucoma. The reflection of the light provides an indicator of the tissue’s thickness.

Gunvant and Iftekharuddin were doing separate research, with Gunvant focusing on retinal research at the Southern College and Iftekharuddin doing imaging work at the U of M. Gunvant said neither of the two had any idea the other existed until he looked Iftekharuddin up online.

Iftekharuddin had used imaging to detect brain tumors through work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, but hadn’t done any research with glaucoma. He says fractal imaging is able to pick up any irregularities in shapes or signals.

“We just took that and applied it to glaucoma and the results turned out to be excellent,” Iftekharuddin says.

Gunvant says previous testing methods were accurate 85% of the time, but the 2D method has proven to be 98% accurate. He says the technique probably would not have been perfected without the team effort.

Once the two professors ensured the technique worked, the University of Memphis began the patent process, which can take up to three years. But it could also yield a viable product for the school to market and license, says Kevin Boggs, director of technology transfer and research development at the University of Memphis.

Boggs says the length of the patent process won’t prevent the two schools from marketing the product to companies that have a history of licensing patent applications.

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