CIBM members at CHUV-UNIL, Dr. Benedetta Franceschiello and Dr Lorenzo Di Sopra have received two awards, the Prix Retina and the 2021 Swiss OpthAward in the category “Highest Clinical Relevance” for collaborative work developing a new MRI technique for the examination of the moving eye. This opens new possibilities for ophthalmological diagnostics.

The work was presented by Benedetta Franceschiello in St Gallen on 27 August during the Swiss Ophthalmology Society Annual Meeting.

Speaking about the Swiss awards for outstanding research work focusing on the retina, Dr. Benedetta Franseschiello said: “This award is the proof of the rising clinical consensus around our pioneering invention. This paves the way towards the applicability of dynamic eye imaging in the current standard of care, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. This would not have been possible without the unique resources, community and infrastructures encompassed by the CIBM Center for Biomedical Imaging in the Lemanic Area.”

Dr Lorenzo Di Sopra said: “This award confirms how very diverse worlds, medical imaging of the eye and the heart, could meet to create a new diagnostic solution, and how the results of such collaboration can be outstanding. The Center for Biomedical Imaging was fundamental in providing the grounds to share knowledge and ideas between scientists from different areas of research, and we are curious to discover how many more inventions are yet to come at CIBM!”

The aim of the Prix Retina by the Swiss Vitreo Retinal Group is to promote an outstanding current publication by young researchers. The awarded work belongs to both fundamental and clinical research categories, in the field of ophthalmology.

The publication, “3-Dimensional magnetic resonance imaging of the  freely moving human eye” by Franceschiello B, Di Sopra L, Minier A, Ionta S, Zeugin D, Notter MP, Bastiaansen JAM, Jorge J, Yerly J, Stuber M, and  Murray MM was published in Prog Neurobiol. 2020 Nov; 194:101885. Full article and the related technology is currently patent pending WO/2020/178397.

Prix Retina and Swiss OpthAward

More information on the Swiss OpthAward here.

About the awardees

Dr. Benedetta Franseschiello, research staff scientist,  CIBM EEG CHUV-UNIL Section

Benedetta Franceschiello is a trained mathematician who graduated from Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Italy. After earning her Master’s summa cum laude in 2014, she enrolled into a joint PhD program between the Université Pierre et Marie Curie of Paris and the Department of Mathematics of the University of Bologna under an ITN Marie Curie European project, obtaining a double PhD in both Neuroscience and Mathematics, with distinction. During her PhD, she developed mathematical models for visual perception of optical illusions. Specifically, she introduced modelling approaches that could mime the perception of various types of perceptual phenomena and integrated these models within image processing algorithms. As an example, the visual perception-based model she developed solves computationally the problem of blind spots in images: such blind spots appear in the visual field of ophthalmic impaired populations. Benedetta is currently pursuing this line of research in the field of neuroimaging at CIBM, where she’s developing computational modelling for electroencephalography and vision-related neural activity. Benedetta’s move to Lausanne was to develop cutting-edge non-invasive neuroimaging techniques in the Laboratory for Investigative Neurophysiology (LINE) led by  Prof. Murray, where she joined UNIL as a post-doc in 2017. During the past three years, she focused on developing a new magnetic resonance imaging technique which allows to image the eyes while they freely move. The 3D MRI of the freely moving eye appears as a promising innovation, as it conceives non-invasive ophthalmic MRI and simultaneous eye-brain imaging, and it merges expertise of different CIBM sections. Benedetta is a research staff scientist in the CIBM EEG CHUV-UNIL Section and her current research also focuses on the development of clinical devices for visual rehabilitation, by applying artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for vision.

Dr Lorenzo Di Sopra, medical writer, 

Lorenzo Di Sopra studied Biomedical Engineering at the University of Padua (Italy), where he obtained a Master Degree in March 2016. In 2015 he won an Erasmus scholarship for a Master thesis at the School of Technology and Health of the KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) in Stockholm, Sweden. The project, which was performed under the guidance of Dr. Massimiliano Colarieti-Tosti, focused on the characterization and correction of artifacts in a micro-CT system for small animal imaging.

Lorenzo joined the Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CVMR) group led by Prof. Matthias Stuber at CHUV in April 2016 and obtained a PhD in Life Sciences from UNIL in November 2020. Under the guidance of Professor Matthias Stuber and Dr. Jérôme Yerly, he researched new methods for dynamic cardiac MR imaging. More specifically, his research interests focused on developing innovative self-gating strategies for cardiac motion estimation, combining them with advanced nonlinear reconstruction techniques for the comprehensive assessment of anatomy and function of the heart. His thesis, Free-running framework for automated multidimensional and comprehensive magnet resonance imaging of the heart, was awarded the “Prix de la Faculté de biologie et de médecine 2021” of the Lausanne University. He currently works as a medical writer at

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