The 12th SINAPSE Annual Scientific Meeting was held on 19 June 2020, in the event’s first virtual instalment. The programme featured stimulating proffered presentations from imaging researchers across Scotland, invited talks including updates on the pan-Scotland iCAIRD and PICTURES projects and a timely presentation on chest imaging in COVID-19, and a keynote lecture by Prof Uta Noppeney from Radboud University on her research into how the brain makes sense of the senses.


In the Hopin online event platform, audience members gathered virtually for the first plenary session of the day which started with a welcome from SINAPSE Director Dr Jennifer Macfarlane. Three proffered talks followed; Dr Natasha Fullerton (NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde) presented a pictorial review of clinical neuroimaging that has been carried out on the 7T MRI system at the Imaging Centre of Excellence (ICE) in Glasgow, Naif Majrashi (University of Aberdeen) presented findings from UK Biobank brain MRI data showing seasonal changes in hippocampal, amygdala and brainstem volumes that differ between those living in urban and rural settings, and Ylenia Giarratano (University of Edinburgh) presented an automated framework for revealing biomarkers from Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography retinal images. Then Prof David Harrison (University of St Andrews), Director of iCAIRD, gave our first invited talk of the day, speaking about progress made and challenges encountered during the first year of the project focussed on the application of artificial intelligence to digital diagnostics in radiology and digital pathology.

After breaking for the day’s first virtual poster session and time for visits to virtual exhibitor booths, two parallel sessions commenced in which a total of 10 proffered talks were presented in themes of Image Analysis and Methods Development.

A lunch break followed, with time for speed networking in which delegates were randomly matched for one-on-one video chats. The second plenary session then began with Dr Magdalena Ietswaart (University of Stirling) as chair. In two final proffered talks, Zuzana Pinkosova (University of Strathclyde) presented EEG data showing graded differences in brain activity when information is judged as highly relevant, low relevant or non-relevant, and Dr Keith Smith (University of Edinburgh) presented network analyses of neonatal brain MRI data. Our second invited talk was given by Ms Susan Krueger and Dr James Sutherland (University of Dundee), reviewing the first year of the PICTURES programme to enable petabyte-scale image data research.

After the second virtual poster session of the day, the final plenary session was chaired by Dr Justin Ales (University of St Andrews). Prof Edwin van Beek (University of Edinburgh) gave our third invited talk, presenting on chest imaging in COVID-19 and implications for pathophysiology and treatment. Finally, Prof Uta Noppeney (Radboud University) delivered the ASM keynote lecture on her work using neuroimaging and computational modelling to investigate causal inference in multisensory perception.


The prizes for Best Proffered Talk were awarded to the following presenters from each parallel session theme:

  • Image Analysis – Dr Paola Galdi, University of Edinburgh (Neonatal morphometric similarity mapping for predicting brain age and characterizing neuroanatomic variation associated with preterm birth)
  • Methods Development – Dr Sarah Allwood-Spiers, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (Safety validation of a custom-built head coil for 7T human scanning)

As described in the summary above, proffered talks from SINAPSE members also were featured in the first two plenary sessions of the day, presented to the full ASM audience. The prize for Best Plenary Talk went to Ylenia Giarratano from University of Edinburgh (A framework for revealing retinal biomarkers in Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography).

The ASM programme featured a wide array of proffered poster presentations, previewed in 1-minute ‘lightning talk’ videos broadcast immediately before the morning and afternoon virtual poster sessions, in which delegates were able to interact with poster presenters. Through an online voting system, delegates indicated their favourite poster from each session, and the Best Poster prize went to Katerina Pappa from University of Glasgow (Systematic review and meta-analysis of working memory updating training effects on task performance and neuroimaging measures in adults) in the morning session and to Dr Sydney Williams from University of Glasgow (First In Vivo Images from an In-House Parallel Transmit Coil for MRI at 7 Tesla) in the afternoon session.


The meeting was supported with generous sponsorship provided by:

  • Partners: Siemens Healthineers and NHS Research Scotland
  • Exhibitors: Bartec, Canon Medical, NRS Mental Health Network, and TherMidas


Recordings of the following presentations have kindly been made available to view (where indicated with * recordings can be accessed by registered SINAPSE members and log-in is required):

Invited talks

* iCAIRD: Seeing is believing?

Prof David Harrison, University of St Andrews

PICTURES programme – enabling petabyte-scale image data research

Ms Susan Krueger and Dr James Sutherland, University of Dundee

Chest imaging in COVID-19 and implications for pathophysiology and treatment

Prof Edwin van Beek, University of Edinburgh


* How the brain makes sense of the senses

Prof Uta Noppeney, Radboud University

Proffered talks

Plenary Sessions

The Countryfile effect: Greater seasonal variation in brain volumes in rural compared to urban dwellers

Naif Majrashi, University of Aberdeen

* A framework for revealing retinal biomarkers in Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography (OCTA)

Ylenia Giarratano, University of Edinburgh

The cortical activity of graded relevance

Zuzana Pinkosova, University of Strathclyde

Hierarchical complexity of the macro-scale neonatal brain

Dr Keith Smith, University of Edinburgh

Parallel Session 1: Image Analysis

Neonatal morphometric similarity mapping for predicting brain age and characterizing neuroanatomic variation associated with preterm birth

Dr Paola Galdi, University of Edinburgh

Improving longitudinal whole brain atrophy quantification in brain magnetic resonance imaging through retrospective intensity standardisation

Emily Carvajal, Universidad del Valle, Colombia

Identifying patient status using optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA): A transfer learning approach

Alessandro Fontanella and Rayna Andreeva, University of Edinburgh

Pathology GAN: Learning deep representations of cancer tissue

Adalberto Claudio Quiros, University of Glasgow

Parallel Session 2: Methods Development

* Multiparameteric quantitative ultrasound measurements for differentiating brain and brain tumour phantoms

Hannah Thomson, University of Glasgow

Evaluation of resting flexor digitorum superficialis muscle stiffness using ultrasound shear wave elastography in healthy volunteers: a preliminary study

Phongpan Tantipoon, University of Dundee

Using 4D flow MRI to assess blood flow and pulsatility in the human brain

Alasdair Morgan, University of Edinburgh