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Archana Murali

Project Summary

Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are chronic, debilitating neurodegenerative disorders, and the ability to accurately diagnose and monitor these diseases is critical for treatment and intervention.

The thicknesses of four retinal biomarkers were identified to detect Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease: the choroid, nerve fiber layer, retinal vein, and ganglion cell layer. Software was developed by the author to analyze retinal scans remotely, quickly, with low incidence of crashes, and with accuracy equal to or exceeding commercial software. A total of 4,675 retinal scans from 375 patients were analyzed using this software.

Results of the analysis of serial scans of the retina show that when the Alzheimer’s group was compared to the control group, all four biomarkers were significantly thinner, and average rate of change of all four biomarkers was significantly different. When the Parkinson’s group was compared to the control group, the nerve fiber layer and ganglion cell layer were significantly thicker, the retinal vein was significantly thinner, and average rate of change of choroidal thickness was significantly different. Results suggest that monitoring how retinal biomarkers change can be used to predict the progression of the patient’s disease.

Confidence intervals were calculated for biomarker measurements and their average rate of change for each test group. These ranges were added to the new remote software and utilized to diagnose, predict, and monitor Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in patients. The software is 99% accurate in identifying patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 97% accurate in identifying patients with Parkinson’s disease.

 Archana Murali


My name is Archana Murali. I am a senior this year, and this is my second year in the Advanced Science Research program at Breck. I have enjoyed researching in the computational and medical fields. Outside of research, I enjoy playing tennis and golf. I have been playing the 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 two years ago, I performed a two-hour performance to mark a major milestone in my learning process. I am involved in sustainability efforts at Breck School, and a variety of different clubs and councils. I enjoy biking and reading in my free time.
"Science research has allowed me to understand the beauty of the research experience and finding something that is new and original. Often in regular classes, we are encouraged to follow the material that is laid out for us, but Advanced Science Research encourages us to search in uncharted territory in a particular field. There is no limit to how many questions I can ask, and I found this freedom exciting."
Honors & Awards

Archana Murali (2017) worked at VitreoRetinal Surgery in Edina under the guidance of Dr. Robert Mittra. She will be attending Columbia University next year.

Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology

  • Named a 2016 Siemens Competition Semifinalist

Tri-State Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

  • North Central Tri-State Junior Science & Humanities Symposium participant

State Science and Engineering Fair

  • 3M Foundation Science Award for 2nd place High School Project
  • IBM Watson Innovation Award for the 1st place High School Project
  • SAS Institute Data Analysis and Visualization Award
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica Software Award – Mathematica software for 1st place project in each category
  • Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair participant

NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

  • National Center for Women & Information Technology National Honorable Mention recipient
  • Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Award State Winner

Twin Cities Regional Science Fair

  • International Science & Engineering Fair Competitor, awarded an opportunity to attend Intel's international competition in May 2017 in Los Angeles, CA
  • I-SWEEEP finalist, awarded opportunity to attend the International Sustainable World Engineering, Energy & Environment Project Olympiad in Texas in May
  • Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award
  • Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Award
  • Orbital ATK Sponsor Award
  • Premier Bank Sponsor Award
  • Top ribbon signifying qualification to the Minnesota State Science Fair Competition in March
  • Research Paper Competition Finalist signifying qualification to the North Central Tri-State Junior Science & Humanities Symposium in March