Artificial Intelligence Optical Biopsy for Evaluating the Functional State of Wounds

Joe Teague, Damien Socia, Gary An, Stephen Badylak, Scott Johnson, Peng Jiang, Yoram Vodovotz, R. Chase Cockrell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The clinical characterization of the functional status of active wounds in terms of their driving cellular and molecular biology remains a considerable challenge that currently requires excision via a tissue biopsy. In this pilot study, we use convolutional Siamese neural network (SNN) architecture to predict the functional state of a wound using digital photographs of wounds in a canine model of volumetric muscle loss (VML). Methods: Digital images of VML injuries and tissue biopsies were obtained in a standardized fashion from an established canine model of VML. Gene expression profiles for each biopsy site were obtained using RNA sequencing. These profiles were converted to functional profiles by a manual review of validated gene ontology databases in which we determined a hierarchical representation of gene functions based on functional specificity. An SNN was trained to regress functional profile expression values, informed by an image segment showing the surface of a small tissue biopsy. Results: The SNN was able to predict the functional expression of a range of functions based with error ranging from ∼5% to ∼30%, with functions that are most closely associated with the early state of wound healing to be those best-predicted. Conclusions: These initial results suggest promise for further research regarding this novel use of machine learning regression on medical images. The regression of functional profiles, as opposed to specific genes, both addresses the challenge of genetic redundancy and gives a deeper insight into the mechanistic configuration of a region of tissue in wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-690
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • Image processing
  • Machine learning
  • Soft tissue trauma
  • Volumetric muscle loss
  • Wound


Dive into the research topics of 'Artificial Intelligence Optical Biopsy for Evaluating the Functional State of Wounds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this