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Dr Tom MacGillivray received SINAPSE / CSO award

5th January 2021

retinal imaging
Members of the study team.

The 2021 Chief Scientist Office (CSO) Award for Clinical Imaging Innovation and Partnership has been awarded to Edinburgh Imaging’s Dr Tom MacGillivray, Senior Research Fellow, and colleagues from the University of EdinburghDr Neeraj Dhaun and Professor Baljean Dhillon.

The CSO granted a £10,000 award for SINAPSE to support a clinical imaging research or training project, involving partnership between a SINAPSE partner institution and at least one external organisation. The funding award is to facilitate innovative, clinically focussed imaging developments in Scotland.

Dr MacGillivray’s project, entitled "Tracking kidney disease through the eye: translating research to build an innovate clinical imaging service", is in partnership with Heidelberg Engineering.

Dr MacGillivray explains: kidney disease is common and is associated with heart disease. Current routinely-used tests only become abnormal after kidney damage has occurred. We therefore need new ways to identify people at-risk of developing kidney disease and the heart disease it associates with.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), used routinely in most many high-street opticians, rapidly images the back of the eye. Our recent research showed that there is thinning of two of the layers in the eye in patients with established kidney disease. Importantly, this thinning associated with measures of kidney function and predicted kidney function decline. In additional pilot work using fundus imaging and OCT-Angiography, we have detected abnormalities in small vessels in the retinas of patients with kidney disease.

Optical Coherence Tomography
Members of the study team using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT).

In Edinburgh we are able to image kidney patients in the hospital setting with a specialist portable scanner and then apply state-of-the-art analysis techniques to different types of retinal data we collect. The funding award is supporting dedicated ophthalmology expertise for this important research as we look to build the basis of an innovative clinical service. We can then share our experiences and knowledge with other researchers and kidney specialists across Scotland (and beyond), and train them in these techniques.


We asked Dr Tom MacGillivray his thoughts on receiving the award.

“This funding award from SINAPSE is helping to create a fantastic opportunity for our multi-disciplinary team to translate research experiences and expertise out into the hospital setting to bring benefit to patients suffering from a debilitating condition.”


This article was adapted from the Edinburgh Imaging website.

Image courtesy: Edinburgh Imaging

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Congratulations to Dr Tom MacGillivray who has received the 2021 CSO Award for Clinical Imaging Innovation and Partnership, for his project researching tracking kidney disease through the eye.