Computer-assisted medical interventions

Division of Computer-assisted medical interventions

PD Dr. Lena Maier-Hein

Three-dimensional reconstruction of an individual liver. The blood supply through the portal vein (light blue), the hepatic veins (dark blue), arteries (red), gall bladder (green) and three tumors (red), including safety margins (yellow), are shown.

Research in our division aims at improving diagnostic methods as well as treatment planning and support based on imaging technologies, such as computer tomography, magnetic resonance tomography and ultrasound. The current activities of the division cover different research areas of medical imaging. Two junior groups work on new methods in the field of computer assisted interventions and medical image computing. Central to our work is the idea of translational research, i.e. translating our findings, methods and software to the patient in the clinic. Therefore, we are closely collaborating with a large number of national and international hospitals, as well as various engineering institutes and have successfully founded three spin-off companies. As a technical foundation, we established in 2002 the Medical Imaging Interaction Toolkit (MITK). This open-source software platform forms the basis for the IT strategy of the research program “Imaging and Radiooncology” and is used in all our projects as well as in a number of other research institutes and companies. In a joint effort to facilitate the international collaboration between different research groups, the Common Toolkit (CTK) project was initiated in 2009 in collaboration with Harvard Medical School. In this initiative, different research groups and companies from around the world are jointly developing a new common basis for software development in medical imaging.

The ongoing strengthening of our research foci Medical Image Computing and Computer Aided Interventions ensures innovative research results. Innovative and robust infrastructure developments facilitate the quick translation of these results from basic research into clinical practice. Innovations in the surgical field today are more and more relying on support by the computer. Together with excellent partners in the Heidelberg research environment we aim at directly supporting interventions, leading to more precise and reliable results in therapy. We are also applying our analysis methods to larger patient groups in strong collaboration with the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) and other national and international collaborators. New insights from diagnostic imaging and medical image analysis will lead to a more differentiated diagnosis and benefit the patient through a better understanding of therapy response. This goal strongly supports the translational vision of the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) for individualized image guided diagnostic and therapy.


PD Dr. Lena Maier-Hein
Computer-assisted medical interventions (E130)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42 2354

Selected Publications

  • Maier-Hein L, Franz AM, dos Santos TR, Schmidt M, Fangerau M, Meinzer H-P, Fitzpatric JM: Convergent Iterative Closest-Point Algorithm to Accomodate Anisotropic and Inhomogenous Localization Error. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 34 (8), 1520-1532, 2012.
  • Maier-Hein KH, Westin CF, Shenton ME, Weiner MW, Raj A, Thomann P, Kikinis R, Stieltjes B, Pasternak O: Widespread white matter degeneration preceding the onset of dementia. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.04.518, 2014. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Engelhardt, S. et al. (2016). Intraoperative Quantitative Mitral Valve Analysis Using Optical Tracking Technology, Ann Thorac Surg, 101(5), 1950–1956.
  • Nolden M, Zelzer S, Seitel A, Wald D, Müller M, Franz AM, Maleike D, Fangerau M, Baumhauer M, Maier-Hein L, Maier-Hein KH, Meinzer HP, Wolf I: The Medical Imaging Interaction Toolkit: challenges and advances. International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, 1-14, 2013.
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