Histology, the study of the microscopic structure of biological tissues, is often a difficult subject for medical students because of its visual nature.
This challenge led EnMed associate professor, Dr. Ian Murray, to study the use of eye-tracking as an aid for the class. More than 10 EnMed students also participated in the pilot study that compared eye-tracking of histology images between novices and experts and used the data for student training.
The group found that a webcam-based eye-tracking tool can convert the visual skill to a quantifiable and observable task, ultimately reducing the time it took for students to master the subject. The student authors Lauren Fitzgerald and Bradley Schott recently won first place in a poster presentation about the study at Texas A&M University’s 2021 Virtual Medical Research Conference.
“The vision of EnMed is to accelerate innovation in medicine,” Murray said. “With the application of machine learning and the development of novel eye-tracking devices to develop an automated tutor system, we can improve histology teaching by providing individualized feedback on tissue identification.”
Student authors included EnMed first-year students Vasiliki Anemikos, Kevin Birdsall, Caleb Haeussler, Srujan Kancharla, John McMurray, Robert Loving and Bradley Schott. EnMed second-year students included Mason Danna, Lauren Fitzgerald, Evan George, Amelia Khoo and Drew Levy.