Edinburgh Imaging

21 Oct 22. Stuart Wiseman: honorary fellow

Dr Stewart Wiseman, Research Fellow in Brain and Retinal Imaging has been appointed as an Honorary Fellow with Edinburgh Imaging and the University of Edinburgh.

Stuart Wiseman, honorary fellow
Stuart Wiseman, honorary fellow

Dr Stewart Wiseman first joined Edinburgh Imaging and the University of Edinburgh in 2011, as a Research Radiographer in our Edinburgh Imaging Facility Western General Hospital (EIF WGH).

During Dr Wiseman’s time as a Radiographer he worked closely with the stroke team, scanning patients with suspected stroke. This led Dr Wiseman to become interested in researching the causes of stroke, where he then began a PhD with Professor Joanna Wardlaw, investigating the role of systemic inflammation in cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), funded by a University of Edinburgh Principal’s Scholarship. Following the successful completion of Dr Wiseman’s PhD, in 2018 he began a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the Stroke Association.

Dr Wiseman has decided to take a step back from full-time research and begins a new position outside of the University, however he has been appointed as an Honorary Fellow at the University, where he will continue to work on stroke studies and papers.

Dr Wiseman summarises his career to date and time at the University, in his own word

“Before joining the University in 2011, I worked with Toshiba Medical Visualization Systems (now Canon Medical Research) where I annotated CT and MR scans, including segmenting the liver, heart, and parts of the skeletal system. My other prior jobs also had analytical components. On leaving school, I worked as an Analyst in the banking sector, then did a degree in Business, before continuing as an Analyst in the global offshore oil and gas industry. Thus, when a Research Radiographer position became available in Professor Joanna Wardlaw’s small vessel stroke and brain research group I knew it would be fulfilling – balancing frontline clinical work with the analytical work that I enjoyed.

I spent several years at EIF WGH where I helped scan stroke patients for our Mild Stroke Study 2 (MSS2), and research participants for the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC 1936). It was during this time that the University supported my career development with a highly prestigious Principal’s Scholarship that allowed me to undertake a PhD, jointly supervised by Professor Wardlaw (stroke/radiology) and Professor Stuart Ralston (rheumatology). As part of this work, I conducted a study investigating the brains of patients diagnosed with the inflammatory disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) which has generated 5 papers, and indeed continues to provide fruit as a further paper using SLE data was submitted last month by lead author and colleague, Dr Maria Valdes Hernandez. While at EIF WGH, I also had the tremendous pleasure of learning about diffusion imaging from Dr Mark Bastin.

As well as scanning, I have learnt how to conduct cognitive assessments, measure brain features, undertake statistical analyses, and apply best practice in data and research management.

This experience directly led to getting a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the charity the Stroke Association, collaborating with Professor Wardlaw, Dr Fergus Doubal, Dr Tom MacGillivray and Professor Baljean Dhillon. Now based at the Edinburgh Imaging Facility Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

(EIF RIE), my Post-Doc dove-tailed nicely into the Mild Stroke Study 3 (MSS3), and was also building on previous work including that of Dr Doubal who had taken fundus photographs as part of Mild Stroke Study 1 (MSS1). With UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) support we purchased a Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS retinal imaging platform – a scanning laser ophthalmoscope that can take exceptionally detailed pictures of the retina, for example, revealing blood vessels in micron resolution. The camera also has optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) capabilities, and, as of writing, we have just received notification of acceptance of our first papers using OCTA with MSS3 data.

Now that recruitment to MSS3 has finished and with the one-year, in-person, return visits also due to complete in Q4 2022, coupled with my own Post-Doc funding ending, it seemed like the right time to take a bit of a break from full-time research.

My new role involves using machine learning to model risk and optimise pricing in the insurance industry. I will be working with big data (millions of rows of data) in the Microsoft Azure cloud environment using tools like R, Tidymodels and Apache Spark.

As I take on this new challenge, it’s worth noting that I will continue to contribute to Professor Wardlaw’s research team. As an Honorary Fellow, my plans include investigating longitudinal brain changes in stroke in the context of advanced retinal biomarkers, working with Dr Tom MacGillivray, Dr Miguel Bernabeu Llinares and others.

In the meantime, however, I would like to express my gratitude to all my colleagues at Edinburgh Imaging, to the patients and participants that have contributed to my research, as well as to all the funders.”




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Dr Stewart Wiseman, Research Fellow in Brain and Retinal Imaging has been appointed as an Honorary Fellow with Edinburgh Imaging and the University of Edinburgh.

@EdinUniMedicine @EdinUniBrainSci @SVDResearch @StrokeAssoc @StrokeScotland