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Leading AI Research that Improves Care for Children

By Dr. Marius George Linguraru, Principal Investigator at our Sheikh Zayed Institute
150 Years Stronger Patient Story Dr. Marius Lingararu

I’ve always been fascinated by the challenge of researching pediatric health. I grew up all too familiar with the hardship involved with sick children ― my mother was the chief nurse at a pediatric hospital in Romania. I studied computer science and it didn’t take me long to figure out that computers could help kids.

I was elated 10 years ago at the opportunity to join Children’s National Hospital, where I could focus my investigations on quantitative imaging and artificial intelligence for pediatric health. My work provides insights into disease that help us create solutions for children faster. Our inventors have produced unique AI technologies in pediatric health, such as facial analysis software that can detect serious genetic conditions, including Down, DiGeorge or Williams syndromes, with a smartphone app and a photo instead of blood tests.

This technology uses facial measurements, such as the shape of the nose and the angle of the eyes, to identify children who might be at risk and offer earlier treatment that improves their quality of life. It’s the future of the field.

My research has continued throughout the global pandemic. I'm working to detect problems before a child has symptoms. We’re looking at newborns’ faces, brains, abdomens and chests with our quantitative imaging and machine learning technologies. Predicting their health risks means an opportunity for earlier, life-saving treatments and fewer emergency situations in the future.

My team is building a home for artificial intelligence at Children’s National. We have a unique opportunity to lead in this field. The need is urgent. And what better investment is there than in children?