Last Year‎ > ‎

Elena Berman & Archana Murali

Project Summary

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects millions, but diagnostic methods are inadequate and expensive. The connection between the brain and retina suggests that retinal biomarkers may exist for AD. Three biomarkers were identified to detect AD in the retina of the eye: retinal nerve fiber layer thinning, choroid thickening, and retinal blood vein thinning. To enable off-site  analysis of retinal biomarkers in optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans,  software was developed that was as accurate as the commercial Heidelberg  Eye Explorer software that is available only with onsite scanning equipment  (r2 = 0.998). This software was used to analyze 163 eye scans. Results  showed the retinal nerve fiber layer was significantly thinner (p = 0.0004), the  choroid was significantly thicker (p = 0.0171), and the retinal vein was  significantly thinner (p < 0.0001) in the AD group than in the control group.  An online statistical confidence interval calculator was used to establish  normal ranges for each retinal biomarker, against which retinal biomarkers  were compared to predict AD, and the normal ranges were coded into the  software for diagnostic purposes. Results showed that the diagnostic software  is 97% accurate with 100% positive and 93% negative predictive values in  identifying patients who have diagnoses of AD but no other ocular afflictions,  as other ocular afflictions have been shown to have similar effect on the  choroid and retinal blood vein in the same way that AD does. Finally, code was  written to enable ophthalmologists and/or ophthalmology technicians to use  the software to evaluate OCT retinal scans.

 Elena Berman

My name is Elena Berman and I am a senior. This is my second year in Breck’s Advanced Science Research program. My scientific interests include computer science and physics. I love being involved in the community and am involved in a variety of activities at Breck. I run Cross Country and Track for Breck. I also participate in clubs, including Computer Science Club, Mock Trial, BATO BATO!, Service Council, Book Club, and Quiz Bowl. Outside of school, I read fantasy novels and play the piano. Although I like dogs, I consider myself a cat person and have two cats. Their names are Huggins and Nemesis. 
   Archana Murali

My name is Archana Murali. I will be in 12th grade this coming year. I enjoy playing tennis and golfing. I have been playing violin for the past seven years, and I am part of the Breck Chamber Players. I have also been learning Indian classical dance for the past seven years, and this past year I performed a two hour performance to mark a major milestone in my learning process. I am involved in sustainability efforts at Breck School. I enjoy biking and reading in my free time.
Honors & Awards

Elena Berman (2017) & Archana Murali (2017) worked at VitreoRetinal in Edina under the guidance of Dr. Robert Mittra. Elena and Archana were selected as Siemens Competition regional semifinalists and won a Second Place Grand Award at Intel ISEF. They were named NCWIT Aspirations in Computing State Runners-Up, and at the regional science fair, they were presented with the U.S. Army Commendation Award. At the state science fair, they were awarded a Second Place Silver Grand Award and the First Place 3M Innovator Award. At the North Central Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, they won the President Award, which was awarded to the top project in their category, and admission to the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS) as lifelong fellows.