UNSW Student's Pioneering Artificial Intelligence Boosts IVF Success


by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, July 04, 2018: A problem first posed in a UNSW lecture has driven a current Medicine student to design a pioneering artificial intelligence system that is now helping women become pregnant via IVF. Aengus Tran, 24, is in the final year of his undergraduate studies but has already joined forces with his brother Dimitry – an AGSM @ UNSW Business School Executive MBA alumnus – to set up a company called Harrison-AI which is improving embryo selection in IVF clinics.

The spark came from a visiting lecture by Dr Simon Cooke, the Scientific Director at IVF Australia, who explained how embryologists have traditionally manually assessed groups of embryos based on physical appearance at a limited number of critical development check points, before selecting which one they felt would be most likely to result in a pregnancy.

Aengus Tran identified that artificial intelligence could be used to make those decisions faster and also better – based on machine learning from thousands of previous successful and unsuccessful embryos – and ultimately designed a system that is now known as Ivy. Ivy is a self-improving artificial intelligence that continuously learns from the embryos it analyses via a comprehensive three-dimensional assessment of the growth of the embryos through all stages of development in an incubator. It then relates this data to whether a fetal heart has developed or not.

“Ivy has taught itself how to select out the embryo with the highest potential to create a fetal heart,” explains Tran, who is Chief Data Scientist at Harrison-AI. “It starts off with a completely blank canvas and it's not influenced by any previous human knowledge or bias. It has learned directly from thousands of embryos that have had a known fetal heart outcome and has slowly and steady improved itself to become better and better at selecting embryos.”

Harrison-AI is now in partnership with Virtus Health, one of Australia’s leading providers of assisted reproductive services, which is poised to introduce Ivy technology in IVF Australia clinics nationwide and also across Europe later this year.

About University of New South Wales (UNSW)
UNSW, Australia’s global university ranked among the top 50 Universities in the world offers programs in engineering, business, law, architecture, art and design, medicine and science. Located in Sydney, a safe and student friendly city, UNSW is home to more than 52,000 students from nearly 130 countries. UNSW has been attracting a growing number of bright Indian students for undergraduate and post graduate studies. As one of the world's leading research and teaching universities UNSW's cutting edge research and innovation facilitated by 3000 faculty is known for acceptance and successful commercialisation. www.UNSW.edu.au 

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