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Yajun Cheng completed his visit with Small Vessel Disease Research

August 2022

Yajun Cheng is a PhD student at Sichuan University who came to work with the Small Vessel Disease research group  in May 2021.

Yajun has recently submitted his PhD thesis, titled “Development of risk prediction model of acute cerebral small vessel disease and prognostic implications of white matter hyperintensity ‘caps’ and ‘tracks’ appearing on MRI after lacunar stroke”. As part of his thesis, he closely worked with the Mild Stroke Study (MSS3) team at the University of Edinburgh. Yajun was rating medical images and used data from the study in his project, which he recognises has 'added a great value to his research'. 

Although Yajun has now returned back to China, he still collaborates with the local SVD Research team. Yajun will defend his thesis in August and then start postdoctoral training. We would like to thank him for his work, and wish him all possible successes in his future endeavours.


Mr Yajun Cheng
Mr Yajun Cheng, visiting PhD student from West China Hospital, Sichuan University.

About Yajun and his work

Funded by the China Scholarship Council, Yajun came to study in the SVD Research Group supervised by Professor Joanna Wardlaw from May 2021 to May 2022. As part of his PhD research, Yajun gathered together data from several Edinburgh patient datasets to amalgamate longitudinal data and analysed the effect of secondary brain damage on recovery after a small vessel stroke. Yajun also applied pipeline from SVD Research Group to segment white matter hyperintensities on small vessel stroke images from Chinese patients/study participants. All above work has been included in his PhD thesis. He has submitted PhD thesis in June and is about to defend it in August.


Yajun has been assisting with the ongoing UK Dementia Research Institute study of small vessel disease – the Mild Stroke Study 3 (MSS3), categorizing the acute stroke lesion, the underlying small vessel features and any new lesions developing during follow-up. He has also assisted with other image analysis project – PVS computational methods in perivascular spaces . Yajun’s role was to test ways of measuring perivascular spaces and also ways to measure small vessel disease lesions on routine clinical scans.


During his exchange year, Yajun also joined the Small Vessel Disease Research scientists and presented his work in European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC 2022), which is one of the most notable international conferences in the field of stroke research.  ESOC abstracts published by Mr Cheng and the team, included:


Cheng Y, Arteaga C, Blair G, Stringer M, Thrippleton M, Valdés-Hernández M, Wiseman S, Chappell F, Clancy U, Shuler K, Hamilton I, Jaime-Garcia D, Doubal F, Wardlaw J. (2022). Clinical relevance of white matter hyperintensity ‘caps’ and ‘tracks’ appearing long term after recent small subcortical infarcts. European Stroke Journal, 7(IS): 80. doi: 10.1177/23969873221087559.


Cheng Y, Valdés-Hernández M, Xu M, Liu J, Tao W, Wu Q, An B, Zhao H, Pan X, Wu B, Wardlaw J, Liu M. (2022). Risk profile and cerebral small vessel disease markers of lacunar stroke versus deep intracerebral haemorrhage. European Stroke Journal, 7(IS): 416. doi: 10.1177/23969873221087559.


We asked Yajun how he feels about his time spent with the Small Vessel Disease Research. He replied:


I am very excited to have recently submitted PhD thesis and hope to gain my PhD degree successfully. I would like to express my gratitude to participants who took part in MSS2, MSS3 and INVESTIGATE-SVD study, my excellent supervisor Professor Joanna Wardlaw, Dr Maria del C. Valdés Hernández, and Carmen Arteaga, and everyone working in the SVD Research Group, Edinburgh Imaging, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences. I would also like to thank my funder and my colleagues who contributed their time and efforts to help with data collection, image processing, and revision suggestions. 

Yajun Cheng



Related links

Row Fogo Centre for Research into Ageing and the Brain - visiting students

Row Fogo Cenre for Research into Ageing and the Brain - our projects

Mild Stroke Study 3 


Perivascular Spaces in Small Vessel Disease


Supervisor's scientific profiles

Professor Joanna Wardlaw

Dr Maria del C. Valdés Hernández

Carmen Arteaga