IEEE VIS 2020: Medical Visualization Highlights

(We are very thankful that Eric Mörth, PhD candidate at the University of Bergen VisGroup and MMIV, could write this report looking forward to the medical visualization-related papers at IEEE VIS 2020 for us!)

It is this time of the year again. The biggest visualization conference is happening again, and we are all very excited about it. This year VIS is completely virtual which comes with its challenges! For me, one positive side of it is the new VIS2020 virtual webpage. All papers are nicely presented, and it is quite easy to find the papers you are interested in. Nevertheless, I still have the feeling that I would miss something if I don’t go through all the papers and mark the papers which are about medical visualization. This year I thought instead of making a schedule of all medical visualization papers only for myself, I am sharing my schedule with you, so you can enjoy all the great works of the authors as well! I hope to see you all in the Discord channels discussing the awesome papers!

VIS Short Papers

Best Papers:

The Anatomical Edutainer

Marwin Schindler, Hsiang-Yun Wu, Renata Georgia Raidou

View paper pageView presentation: Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 @ 16:50 GMT+01:00

The authors present a workflow called Anatomical Edutainer, which enables the easy, accessible, and affordable generation of physicalizing for tangible, interactive anatomical edutainment. They use 2D printable and 3D foldable physicalizations which change their visual properties under colored lenses or colored lights.

Visualizing Machine Learning:

Explainable Spatial Clustering: Leveraging Spatial Data in Radiation Oncology

Andrew Wentzel, Guadalupe Canahuate, Lisanne van Dijk, Abdallah Mohamed, Clifton David Fuller, G. Elisabeta Marai

View paper page View presentation: Friday, October 30th, 2020 @ 16:00 GMT+01:00

The authors deliver a set of lessons learned for creating visual and explainable spatial clustering for clinical users. Their insights were gathered from multi-years collaboration with radiation oncologists and statisticians.

Vis and Scientific Computing

PRAGMA: Interactively Constructing Functional Brain Parcellations

Roza Gunes Bayrak, Nhung Hoang, Colin Blake Hansen, Catie Chang, Matthew Berger

View paper pageView presentation: Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 @ 20:20 GMT+01:00

The authors present PRAGMA, an interactive visualization method that allows domain experts to derive scan-specific parcellations from established atlases. PRAGMA features a hierarchical clustering scheme for defining temporally correlated parcels in varying granularity. The visualization supports the user in deciding on how to perform the clustering. The authors assessed the effectiveness of PRAGMA through a user study with four neuroimaging domain experts.

VIS Full Papers:

Health & Disease

Humane Visual AI: Telling the stories behind a medical condition

Wonyoung So, Edyta Paulina Bogucka, Sanja Scepanovic, Sagar Joglekar, Ke Zhou, Daniele Quercia

View paper pageView presentation: Friday, October 30th, 2020 @ 15:00 GMT+01:00

The authors mined and combined information from around half a million Reddit posts and open prescription data from the National Health Service in England to visually communicate each of the 14 selected medical condition’s biological, psychological and social aspects through storytelling. A user study with 52 participants delivered interesting insights about the effect of the visualization on them

QualDash: Adaptable Generation of Visualisation Dashboards for Healthcare Quality Improvement

Mai Elshehaly, Rebecca Randell, Matthew Brehmer, Lynn McVey, Natasha Alvarado, Chris P. Gale, Roy Ruddle

View paper pageView presentation: Friday, October 30th, 2020 @ 15:15 GMT+01:00

The authors present a task analysis that resulted in a metric card metaphor as a unit of visual analysis in healthcare quality improvement. They are using the concept as a building block for generating highly adaptive dashboards and leading to the design of a metric specification structure. QualDash has been deployed in cardiology wards and pediatric intensive care units in five NHS hospitals and the authors report on evaluation results of the usage in a real-world scenario.

Visualization of Human Spine Biomechanics for Spinal Surgery

Pepe Eulzer, Sabine Bauer, Francis Kilian, Kai Lawonn

View paper pageView presentation: Friday, October 30th, 2020 @ 15:30 GMT+01:00

The authors present a visualization application, designed for the exploration of human spine simulation data. The link simulation outcomes with patient-specific anatomy, to make relevant parameters graspable for clinicians, by introducing new concepts to show the directions of impact force vectors. The authors evaluated their application with both surgeons and biomechanical researchers.

In Search of Patient Zero: Visual Analytics of Pathogen Transmission Pathways in Hospitals

Tom Baumgartl, Markus Petzold, Marcel Wunderlich, Markus Höhn, Daniel Archambault, Michael Lieser, Alexander Dalpke, Simone Scheithauer, Michael Marschollek, Vanessa Eichel, Nico T. Mutters, Tatiana von Landesberger

View paper page View presentation: Friday, October 30th, 2020 @ 15:45 GMT+01:00

The authors present a novel visual analytics approach to support the analysis of transmission pathways, patient contacts, the progression of the outbreak, and patient timelines during hospitalization. In a final study, feedback from twenty-five experts from seven German hospitals provided evidence that their solution brings significant benefits for analyzing pathogen outbreaks.

DPVis: Visual Analytics with Hidden Markov Models for Disease Progression Pathways

Bum Chul Kwon, Vibha Anand, Kristen A Severson, Soumya Ghosh, Zhaonan Sun, Brigitte I Frohnert, Markus Lundgren, Kenney Ng

View paper pageView presentation: Friday, October 30th, 2020 @ 16:00 GMT+01:00

The authors introduce DPVis to integrate model parameters and outcomes of Hidden Markov Models into an interpretable and interactive visualization. The authors state that their tool is successful in evaluating disease progression models, visually summarizing disease states, interactively exploring disease progression patterns, and building, analyzing, and comparing clinically relevant patient subgroups.

Molecules, Cells & Vessels

Visual cohort comparison for spatial single-cell omics-data

Antonios Somarakis, Marieke Ijsselsteijn, Sietse Luk, Boyd Kenkhuis, Noel de Miranda, Boudewijn Lelieveldt, Thomas Höllt

View paper pageView presentation: Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 @ 17:15 GMT+01:00

The authors present an interactive visual analysis workflow for the comparison of cohorts of spatially resolved omics-data. They allow for a comparative analysis of two cohorts based on multiple levels-of-details. The application enables the identification of cohort-differentiating features and outlier samples at any stage of the workflow. The authors conducted multiple case studies with domain experts from different application areas and with different data modalities, to show the effectiveness of the workflow.

Improving the Usability of Virtual Reality Neuron Tracing with Topological Elements

Torin McDonald, Will Usher, Nate Morrical, Attila Gyulassy, Steve Petruzza, Frederick Federer, Alessandra Angelucci, Valerio Pascucci

View paper page View presentation: Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 @ 17:30 GMT+01:00

The authors propose a new semi-automatic method to guide users in tracing neurons by using topological features. The use of a virtual reality framework which has been used for manual tracing before. In a pilot study, neuroscientists demonstrated a strong preference for their tool over prior approaches. The approach delivered an increased tracing speed while retaining a similar accuracy compared to a fully manual approach.

CMed: Crowd Analytics for Medical Imaging Data

Ji Hwan Park, Saad Nadeem, Saeed Boorboor, Joseph Marino, Arie Kaufman

View paper pageView presentation: Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 @ 17:45 GMT+01:00

The authors present CMed, a visual analytics framework for the exploration of medical image data annotations, acquired from crowdsourcing. They evaluated the efficacy of the framework with two medical crowdsourcing studies and provide expert’s feedback to show the effectiveness of CMed.

Void Space Surfaces to Convey Depth in Vessel Visualizations

Julian Kreiser, Pedro Hermosilla, Timo Ropinski

View paper pageView presentation: Wednesday, October 28th, 2020 @ 18:00 GMT+01:00

The authors propose Void Space Surfaces, a technique that utilizes the empty space in between vessel branches to communicate the depth and their relative positioning. It allows them to improve the depth perception of the vascular structures without interference with the spatial data. Furthermore, the authors deliver two user studies to evaluate the perceptual impact of Void Space Surfaces.

CG&A Full Papers

Towards Better Visual Analysis

Towards Placental Surface Vasculature Exploration in Virtual Reality

Johannes Novotny, Wesley R. Miller, François I. Luks, Derek Merck, Scott Collins, David H. Laidlaw

View paper pageView presentation: Thursday, October 29th, 2020 @ 18:15 GMT+01:00

The authors present a case study where they evaluation the application of virtual reality environments to identify placental surface blood vessels. They observed that the visualization is easy to understand and allows for intuitive exploration, but complex user interactions remained a challenge.


Please note that this schedule is in CET time! You can find the general schedule in your timezone at

I am looking forward to a successful virtual version of our biggest and most impactful conference, VIS. I hope to see you in one of the Discord channels to discuss all the mentioned papers and to get the feeling of being a part of this year’s VIS conference. Let us hope that future conferences will be in person again to enjoy the experience even more!

See you at VIS2020 😊

Karl Heinz Höhne awarded with the Enduring Impact Award at MICCAI 2020

Bernhard Preim just sent us a tip that Karl Heinz Höhne has been awarded with the enduring Impact Award at MICCAI 2020, which is great news for medical visualization! Professor Höhne is well known for his work on the 3D anatomy visualization platform VOXEL-MAN as well as his pioneering work on medical image volume rendering (see also: Groundbreaking volume rendering papers by Professor Karl Heinz Höhne: a exclusive!)

We congratulate prof. Höhne with this well-deserved award!

IEEE VIS 2020: virtual + free for attendees!

Following the footsteps of EG EuroVis 2020 and EG VCBM 2020, IEEE VIS will also be fully virtual and free for attendees and held 25-30 October 2020. The preliminary program is available here. While we can always expect several medical visualization paper and in some years even dedicated biomedical visualization sessions, there are already several talks and events announced to look forward to:

Hope to see some of you at virtual IEEE VIS this year! Don’t forget to register here! Have you spotted other medvis-related content to look forward to? Please mention it in the comments!

VCBM: virtual and free this year + call for image contest submissions!

The premier workshop venue for biomedical visualization research VCBM is already celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year! We are happy to share the following information from the chairs:

“10th Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine (EG VCBM 2020) September 28 – October 1, 2020 (virtual workshop)

As VCBM is held virtually this year due to COVID-19, the registration is free for all participants (visit to register). This year, VCBM is held jointly with VMV (the 25th International Symposium on Vision, Modeling and Visualization) and DAGM GCPR (the 42nd German Conference on Pattern Recognition). All talks will be live-streamed and there will be ample opportunities for discussions and scientific exchange.

For the 10th anniversary of EG VCBM, we are happy to announce an exciting program with high-profile keynote speakers, research paper presentations, industry talks, a joint panel discussion together with VMV, a free half-day tutorial on game engines for visualization on Monday, posters, and an image contest. For the latter, we would like to invite you to submit your images related to computational biology and medicine – visualizations, photorealistic and non-photorealistic renderings, computer generated and hand-drawn illustrations are all welcome. A jury will select the best submission to receive the VCBM Image Award, and the conference participants will select the People’s Choice Award. All the accepted submissions will be displayed in a virtual gallery on the VCBM webpage. The deadline for the submission is September 20, 2020. For more information and submission instructions, please visit:

We are also happy to announce that there will be again an open call for submissions to the Computers and Graphics Journal (C&G) Special Section on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine (VCBM) after the workshop. Besidesoriginal research, system, and survey papersthat summarize and expand the state of the art in visual computing with a strong focus on applications to biology and medicine, we explicitly want to invite significantly extended and revised versions of full papers, surveys, or posters presented at the VCBM 2020 (full papers are expected to contain at least 30% of additional material).

We hope to see you all at virtual DAGM GCPR | VMV | VCBM 2020! For more information, see!

the General Chairs of VCBM 2020:
Michael Krone (University of Tübingen, Germany)
and Kay Nieselt (University of Tübingen, Germany)”

PostDoc position in (Medical) Visualization and Visual Computing at TU Wien, Austria

The Visualization Group at TU Wien (Austria) has an open PostDoc position in Computer Science in the area of (Medical) Visualization and Visual Computing. The successful candidate will be involved in research and teaching activities of the group and will be able to pursue her/his research interests.

The position is for a duration of 6 years, with an earliest starting date in September 2020. The application deadline is the 13th August 2020. Please check out the official announcement for further details.

PostDoc position in brain imaging research at Linköping University, Sweden

The team at Linköping University, Sweden is recruiting a a post doc for brain imaging research related to brain-gut interactions in Irritable bowel syndrome.

They offer a possibility to work in a multidisciplinary team, which has been investigating brain-gut mechanisms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) since many years. The team has been using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, including MR spectroscopy together with clinical data, analysis of gut barrier function, blood samples, and questionnaires on mood and behaviour. In 2020, they are planning a new intervention study. If you want to know more about the project, you can contact Maria Engström ( or Susanna Walter ( for more information. The application deadline is the 21st of February, 2020.

Thanks for the tip, Daniel Jönsson!

Call for Participation: Dirk Bartz Prize for Visual Computing in Medicine 2019

The Eurographics Association organizes a biannual competition to acknowledge the contribution of computer graphics in the medical field, and to encourage further development. Originally called “Eurographics Medical Prize”, the competition was renamed to “Dirk Bartz Prize for Visual Computing in Medicine” in 2010 — in honor of Dirk Bartz who passed away far too early in March 2010. Dirk Bartz was a highly
recognized and enthusiastic scientist, teacher and promoter of Visual Computing in Medicine.

Submissions to the Dirk Bartz Prize for Visual Computing in Medicine 2019 are being invited from researchers and developers who can demonstrate that a particular benefit in a medical application has resulted from the use of visual computing technology that they have produced/developed. Submissions from all areas of visual computing — examples include the use of new data visualization techniques, interaction methods, or virtual/augmented environments are welcome. Entries typically summarize a body of research and/or development that has been conducted over the course of a project, PhD thesis, etc. and particular weight is put on demonstrating the medical impact of the work.

The submission deadline for next year’s award is January 25, 2019. Please find more information on the official webpage.

3 PhD + 1 PostDoc position in Medical Visualization at the University of Bergen (Norway)

Good times for medical visualization here in Norway, as we are hiring 3 PhDs and 1 PostDoc in medical visualization currently! The visualization research group at the Department of Informatics of the University of Bergen, Norway (UiB), is seeking motivated and capable new PhD students who wish to pursue cutting-edge visualization research in a stimulating and dynamic international environment. The PhD positions are for a fixed-term period of 3 years with the possibility for a 4th year with compulsory other work (e.g. teaching duties at the Department). The PostDoc position is for a period of 3 years. All of these positions are financed partly by the Bergen Research Foundation (BFS) and associated with the newly established Mohn Medical Imaging and Visualization Centre (MMIV).

More information on these excellent job opportunities is available from the job openings page. The application deadline for the PhD positions is the 1st of August 2018, so do not delay and prepare your application! You can apply directly via the Jobbnorge announcement for the PhD Positions. The PostDoc position will be announced shortly.

Delft Data Science Seminar – Visual Data Science and its role in Computational Medicine

There will be a one-day workshop on “Visual Data Science and its role in Computational Medicine” hosted in the context of the Delft Data Science program, on Tuesday the 6th of February at the TU Delft (the Netherlands).

The workshop features many fascinating speakers with expertise from a variety of fields, including medical visualization and closely related topics. A variety of topics will be presented, including visual data science vs. classical science, computational vs. interactive approaches, the role of the human in visual data science, and many more. Please find up-to-date details about the workshop as well as registration information here.

Open PhD position in the Visualization Group at the University of Bergen (Norway)

The visualization research group at the Department of Informatics of the University of Bergen, Norway (UiB), is seeking motivated and capable new PhD students who wish to pursue cutting-edge visualization research in a stimulating and dynamic international environment. Currently there are vacancies for a PhD fellowship in the MetaVis project led by Prof. Stefan Bruckner and funded by the Research Council of Norway. The project aims to study the space of visualizations itself and how it can be efficiently and effectively navigated. The goal is to develop interactive visual methods to enable users in choosing appropriate visualization techniques for particular types of data and tasks. The topic for the thesis can be chosen within this broad range to suit the strengths and interests of the PhD candidate.

Again, I can tell you firsthand now, that this is a really awesome place to work with a lot of awesome people :)! Stefan Bruckner is well known in the field of medical visualization and an excellent supervisor, making this is a truly amazing opportunity. More information on the PhD job openings is available from the leaflet here and job openings page. The application deadline is the 18th of June 2017, so no not delay and prepare your application! You can apply directly via the Jobbnorge announcement here.