Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Program

Electrical Engineering, MS

Committee Chair

El-Baz, Ayman

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Inanc, Tamer

Committee Member

Inanc, Tamer

Committee Member

Frieboes, Hermann

Author's Keywords

Renal rejection; CAD system; Deep learning; Diffusion MRI; ADC


Early diagnosis of acute renal transplant rejection (ARTR) is of immense importance for appropriate therapeutic treatment administration. Although the current diagnostic technique is based on renal biopsy, it is not preferred due to its invasiveness, recovery time (1-2 weeks), and potential for complications, e.g., bleeding and/or infection. In this thesis, a computer-aided diagnostic (CAD) system for early detection of ARTR from 4D (3D + b-value) diffusion-weighted (DW) MRI data is developed. The CAD process starts from a 3D B-spline-based data alignment (to handle local deviations due to breathing and heart beat) and kidney tissue segmentation with an evolving geometric (level-set-based) deformable model. The latter is guided by a voxel-wise stochastic speed function, which follows from a joint kidney-background Markov-Gibbs random field model accounting for an adaptive kidney shape prior and for on-going visual kidney-background appearances. A cumulative empirical distribution of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) at different b-values of the segmented DW-MRI is considered a discriminatory transplant status feature. Finally, a classifier based on deep learning of a non-negative constrained stacked auto-encoder is employed to distinguish between rejected and non-rejected renal transplants. In the “leave-one-subject-out” experiments on 53 subjects, 98% of the subjects were correctly classified (namely, 36 out of 37 rejected transplants and 16 out of 16 nonrejected ones). Additionally, a four-fold cross-validation experiment was performed, and an average accuracy of 96% was obtained. These experimental results hold promise of the proposed CAD system as a reliable non-invasive diagnostic tool.