20 – 21 November 2023

HKUST BDI, HKUST (GZ), and Zhejiang Cancer Hospital co-host the International Conference on Digital Pathology and Data Intelligence

With the rapid growing and disruptive advancements of various Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, digital pathology has emerged as one of the popular medical fields that embraces and applies these ground-breaking AI technologies. To foster knowledge exchange and collaboration between academia and researchers from data intelligence domain, and medical practitioners, the HKUST Big Data Institute (BDI), in collaboration with the HKUST (Guangzhou) Information Hub and Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, successfully co-organized the “International Conference on Digital Pathology and Data Intelligence” on 20 to 21 November 2023 in HKUST Clear Water Bay campus.

The two-day conference aimed at offering a platform for participants from Hong Kong, Mainland and overseas, including faculty members, students, researchers, as well as computer science professionals and medical practitioners to share the cutting-edge research on digital pathology and explore innovative approaches to revolutionize the development of this field. Attendees were given the opportunities to exchange inspiring insights and research highlights as well as discussed the opportunities and challenges for advancing digital pathology development. Practical use cases and applications of AI technologies in the hospitals were also introduced by the esteemed speakers in the event.

In the welcoming remarks, Prof. CHEN Lei, Director of BDI of HKUST, expressed that digital pathology is an exciting and trending research area. He highlighted that AI technologies can be applied in a specific medical domain that can contribute to the society and benefit to the human being.

Dr. LIU Yueping, Director of Pathology Department of the Fourth Hospital of Hebei Medical University and Hebei Tumor Hospital, introduced several applications of AI technology in breast pathology. She shared valuable insights with the audience regarding the successes and challenges of current and potential AI applications in diagnosing and grading breast carcinomas and other pathologic changes, detecting lymph node metastasis, quantifying breast cancer biomarkers, predicting prognosis and therapy response, and predicting potential molecular changes.

Prof. ZOU James, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Data Science of Stanford University, presented his on-going research on development and utilization of large language models in pathology, along with other medical and healthcare applications.

Dr. DA Qian, Department of Pathology of Ruijin Hospital (affiliated to Medical School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University), talked about the needs for digital transformation of pathology. She shared the status and roadmap of constructing Digital Intelligent Pathology Department in Ruijin Hospital. Dr. Da's presentation shed light on the importance of embracing digital technologies in pathology and the efforts being made to establish a cutting-edge digital infrastructure that enhances patient care and medical services in China, contributing to the advancement of China’s healthcare industry.

Prof. SHEN Wei, Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, shared his recent research on “Efficient 4D Reconstruction of Deformable Tissues in Surgical Scenes”. Prof. Shen talked about his research work focuses on advancing the capabilities of computer vision in medical imaging, specifically reconstructing surgical scenes.

Dr. ZHENG Yefeng, Director and Distinguished Scientist of Tencent Jarvis Lab, gave a concise introduction of the Lab, which is a research team with dedication on medical AI technology development. Dr. Zheng shared the latest research work on "Robust Medical Image Analysis: Learning from Imperfect Clinical Data" and discussed how their team addressed the major challenges associated with imperfect clinical data in the development of medical AI solutions.

Dr. SU Dan, Director of the Pathology Department of Zhejiang Cancer Hospital and Zhejiang Province Leading Talent in Technological Innovation, presented a study conducted by Dr. YUAN Li, Department of Gastric Surgery of the Cancer Hospital of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Zhejiang Cancer Hospital). The study focused on the relationship between changes in tongue image and the occurrence and development of gastric cancer. Dr. Su reported on the modern application of tongue image in traditional Chinese medicine, the material basis of tongue image change, and the correlation between tongue image changes and the pathogenesis of gastric cancer.

The enlightening conference concluded with a panel discussion session titled “AI for data science, are we there yet”, hosted by Prof. LI Xiaomeng, Assistant Professor of Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering of HKUST. The panel discussion brought together pathology practitioners and computer science experts, sparking a thought-provoking and fruitful exchange of ideas. The audience was captivated and actively engaged in the discussion on AI applications in the development of digital pathology, leading the audience inspired and deeply motivated.

This conference was supported by a grant from the Joint Research Scheme sponsored by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Reference No. N_HKUST652/23). In addition to the inspiring presentations delivered by esteemed medical professionals, the conference also featured a series of poster displays, showcasing the research works and findings in medical AI areas by faculty members and scholars from leading universities in Hong Kong and the Mainland. This conference signifies the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in driving digital pathology development. Through harnessing the power of AI technologies, researchers and medical professionals are paving the way for transformative advancements in disease diagnosis and treatment.