Ulysses Balis, MD
Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Informatics
University of Michigan Health System
Digital Pathology Technology with a Close Look at Image-Based Decision Support
As digital pathology accelerates in its adoption for a number of clinical use cases, there has similarly been a groundswell of activity in developing algorithms to allow for direct interrogation of digital imagery content for diagnostic information. Such image-based decision support solutions hold the promise to transform the practice model of surgical pathology from a primarily screening-based set of activities to a review / confirmatory model, where pathologists are empowered to operate at their highest level of credentialing. This presentation will explore the technical and operational aspects of the emerging constitutive technologies that are enabling Image-based decision support solutions.
Dr. Balis currently serves as the director of the Division of Pathology Informatics at the Department of Pathology, within the University of Michigan Health System. This division is noteworthy for being one of the few such remaining academic information technology divisions operating in support of pathology that is housed wholly within the pathology department itself. He has active research initiatives in a several areas of pathology and medical informatics, including: image search & content-based image retrieval of whole-slide imaging data, laboratory automation and real-time asset tracking, heuristic approaches for semi-autonomous lexical extraction/analysis of diagnostic archives and federated enterprise data architectures, with all of these areas serving as rich training substrate for a growing and thriving pathology informatics fellowship – one of only five such programs in the U.S. Dr. Balis is also a member of P.A.M. Dirac Foundation’s Advisory Board (as the only standing physician member), with primary interest in the use of Quantum Mechanics as an enabling technology for the creation of distributed secure medical records in a cloud computing environment.
Dr. Balis obtained separate undergraduate degrees in Computer Engineering and Biology from Duke University (with a minor in Greek Classical Studies), with subsequent medical training at the University of South Florida and residency training in pathology at the University of Utah. During his residency training, he founded the Core Instrumentation and Image Processing Laboratory at ARUP Laboratories and was a member of the scientific team that first reported real-time PCR. Following residency training, he joined the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Harvard Medical School as a Whitaker Foundation Fellow, completing a postdoctoral fellowship in tissue engineering and MEMS technology. During this time was awarded several patents in hepatic bioreactor and bioartificial liver design. Also during this time, he continued his efforts with the College of American Pathologists, as chair of their Informatics Committee, in seeking the creation of a DICOM standard for digital microscopy, with this goal being finally realized in 1999, with the ratification of DICOM’s VL Image object Definition. In 2000, he received the CAP Foundation’s Lansky Award in recognition of these efforts.
Following his postdoctoral training, he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the GI pathology service of Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also served as director of their Pathology Informatics Service. Concurrently he held an appointment as research scientist and Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Services at Shriners Hospital- Boston Burns Unit. Additionally, he served as Shriners Hospital’s Acting Chief Information officer between 2003 and 2005. During his time at Harvard University, he co-founded Living Microsystems, Inc. (now doing business as Verinata Health, Inc.) along with colleagues Mehmet Toner and Ronald Tompkins, with his being awarded several additional patents for rare cell detection from circulating blood. In 2006, he joined the faculty of U-M's Department of Pathology.