Edinburgh Imaging

12 Aug 20. Scottish Enterprise funding

Software that can detect life-threatening conditions from a simple eye examination could be a step closer after a University spinout project won funding from Scottish Enterprise.

Analysing the small blood vessels in the retina using VAMPIRE software technology to reveal signs of disease in the eye, body & brain.
Analysing the small blood vessels in the retina using VAMPIRE software technology to reveal signs of disease in the eye, body & brain.

The Multiple Disease Screening from Retinal Imaging project, a joint initiative between the University of Edinburgh & the University of Dundee, has received £176,000 funding from Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spinout Programme (HGSP).

Edinburgh & Dundee researchers aim to develop a unique screening tool for conditions such as heart diseasedementia as well as sight-threatening diseases such as diabetic retinopathy & glaucoma.


15-year collaboration

The project will be led jointly by Dr Tom MacGillivray of the University of Edinburgh & Professor Emanuele Trucco of the University of Dundee, following more than 15 years of collaborative research.

It will draw from a suite of image analysis software known as VAMPIRE (Vascular Assessment & Measurement Platform for Images of the Retina), which the researchers have jointly developed to facilitate clinical research in this field.

The software suite provides measurements of retinal blood vessels from images of the back of the eye that can then be used to investigate vessel health elsewhere in the human body.


Pioneering product

The HGSP funding will enable the team to investigate customer needs & the potential to develop the first commercial product stemming from the VAMPIRE research.

The two researchers have been working with their respective university commercialisation services, Edinburgh InnovationsDundee’s Research & Innovations Services team, on plans that could significantly benefit the work of healthcare professionals.


Our ambition is to form a spinout company delivering real-world solutions to key healthcare problems impacting on our society. As well as contributing to healthcare, we expect to create employment opportunities in Scotland, in software & data analysis. The success we’ve had to date shows the benefits of Scottish universities working together.

Dr Tom MacGillivraySenior Research Fellow,  University of Edinburgh


Optician use


VAMPIRE has already proven effective as a means of identifying health problems in academic studies. This backing from Scottish Enterprise is significant in allowing us to take our research from the laboratory to the public realm, & we hope that the software will form an integral part of a person’s visit to the optician in the near future.

Professor Emanuele TruccoNRP Chair of Computational Vision in Computing, University of Dundee



Social media tags & titles

Dr MacGillivray, @EdinburghUni & Professor Trucco, @dundeeuni have been awarded the High Growth Spinout Programme funding from @scotent on a joint spinout project for eye-scan software targeting life-threatening disease. @vampire_retina #RetinalImaging