Awards and Achievements

Gold Award at Healthcare Business Awards 2020 for diagnosing COVID-19 through an Artificial Intelligence method on chest X-Ray images.

helath bussiness awards image

The Computational BioMedicine Laboratory (CBML) received the gold award in section “Research Project in Universities / Educational Institutions / Research Centres / Hospitals” of the Healthcare Business Awards 2020 (, for its candidacy “Artificial Intelligence System for Diagnosing COVID-19”.

The award was received by Nikos Tsiknakis and Prof. Kostas Marias on Tuesday 20/10/2020 in Athens and regards the paper “Interpretable Artificial Intelligence Framework for COVID‑19 Screening on Chest X‑Rays.” [1]. The proposed method achieves excellent results and can offer a faster diagnosis of the virus but also highlight areas of the lung in which the virus has caused damage. By using automated radiographic image analysis methods based on deep learning, we can achieve rapid diagnosis of the virus with more accuracy and lower cost than the RT-PCR method. Also, due to the faster diagnosis, the treatment and isolation procedures of the patient can be accelerated, thus contributing to the reduction of the virus’ spread.

The authors of the article are the members of the Computer Biomedicine Laboratory of the Institute of Computer Science of FORTH, Nikos Tsiknakis, Eleftherios Trivizakis, Dr. George Papadakis, Prof. Apostolos Karantanas, Prof. Kostas Marias and their collaborators Dr. Evangelia Vassalou (University Hospital of Heraklion), Dr. Nikolaos Papanikolaou (Champalimaud, Portugal), Prof. Dimitrios Spantidos (University of Crete), Prof. Aristidis Tsatsakis (University of Crete), Dr. Jose Sánchez ‑ García and Rafael López ‑ González (QUIBIM, Valencia).

[1] N. Tsiknakis, E. Trivizakis, E.E. Vassalou, G.Z. Papadakis, D.A. Spandidos, A. Tsatsakis, J. Sánchez‑García, R. López‑González, N. Papanikolaou, A.H. Karantanas and K. Marias, 2020. Interpretable artificial intelligence framework for COVID‑19 screening on chest X‑rays. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 20(2), pp.727-735.

Mentions in the News/Press

Patris 23/10/2020:

Best paper award for FORTH researchers in the area of Medical Informatics

The paper entitled «Donor’s support tool: Enabling informed secondary use of patient’s biomaterial and personal data» (doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2016.10.019) has been selected to be included in the IMIA Yearbook of Medical Informatics as one of the best articles from the literature in the ‘Consumer Health Informatics’ subfield of medical informatics published in the past year.

The IMIA Yearbook of Medical Informatics is a non-profit project to advance the field of medical informatics and to stimulate dissemination and exchange of information between researchers and professionals of the health and biomedical informatics community at large. Twenty-six IMIA Yearbooks have been published since the inception of the Yearbook in 1992.

Τhe paper is co-authored by members of FORTH’s Institute of Computer Science, Dr. Haridimos Kondylakis (Collaborating Researcher), Dr. Lefteris Koumakis (Collaborating Researcher), Prof. Kostas Marias (Head of Computational BioMedicine Laboratory) and Prof. Manolis Tsiknakis (Affiliated Researchers) with their colleagues Stephanie Hänoldb, Iheanyi Nwankwob, Nikolaus Forgó  from Leibniz Universität Hannover and Norbert Graf from Saarland University.

The research work presents a study on current practices for obtaining consent for biobanking and the legal requirements for reusing the available biomaterials and data and on enabling the secondary use of data and biomaterial through Information Technology. In addition, it presents a tool ready to be attached to existing infrastructures (PHRs & Biobanks) enabling citizens to actively provide and update their consent according to the various national laws. Finally, a proof of concept deployment of the tool into a clinical setting is described and a comparison with other relevant tools.

Best paper award for FORTH researchers in the area of BioMedical Informatics


The paper entitled “Modeling susceptibility to periodontitis” ( was awarded the “IADR/AADR William J. Gies Award” for 2014. The award is given for the best clinical research paper published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR) during the preceding year. The JDR is the top ranked journal for original scientific articles in dentistry. The paper is co-authored by members of FORTH’s Institute of Computer Science, Dr. George Potamias (principal researcher) and Lefteris Koumakis (PhD, software engineer), with their colleagues Prof. Vassilis Moustakis (from the Technical University of Crete), and Prof. Bruno Loos and Ass. Prof. Marja L. Laine from ACTA (Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

Elaborating on machine-learning approaches the authors were able to drill into periodontitis patients’ clinico-genetic data and identify reliable genetic associations with microbiological agents responsible for the periodontitis infection. The identified associations between bacterial species and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present higher discrimination between periodontitis and periodontal health than a single bacterial species or a single polymorphism, a finding that ascertains the polygenic nature of periodontitis. As the predictive power of the induced associations is high enough, they could be utilized as susceptibility predictors for periodontitis in clinical practice.

The study was performed and the awarded paper was produced in the context of the (successfully finished) INFOBIOMED and GENE2PHEN European projects.



Best Paper Award at the EHB 2011 international conference to researchers of the Institute of Computer Science of FORTH


The paper entitled “An image analysis framework for the early assessment of hypertensive retinopathy signs”, presented by Dr. Vangelis Sakkalis, researcher at the Institute of Computer Science (ICS) of the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), received the Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on e-Health and Bioengineering 2011 (EHB 2011, Iasi, Romania, 24-26 November 2011).

The research results presented in the paper have been achieved in the context of a collaborative effort between ICS-FORTH and the Hippokration Hospital of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, focusing on innovative methods and tools for retinal vessel detection and measurement of the vessel diameter. The proposed method employs an image segmentation algorithm, along with pre-processing and skeletonization techniques, in order to extract an accuraterepresentation of vessels on the retina. All the functionalities are encapsulated in an Integrated Graphical User Interface, which assists the medical professional to perform measurements in an ergonomic fashion and apply statistical measurements according to medical protocols, or targeted measurements at any selected region of interest. In addition, the system provides methods for editing the vessel representation in order to recover from possible segmentation misclassifications. The above steps are integrated into a clinical application capable of supporting vascular risk stratification in persons with hypertension that is currently clinically tested at the Hippokration Hospital at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

The research team members were: Georgios C. Manikis, Vangelis Sakkalis, and Kostas Marias (Computational Medicine Lab of ICS-FORTH), Xenophon Zabulis and Polykarpos Karamaounas (Computational Vision and Robotics Laboratory of ICS-FORTH) and Areti Triantafyllou, Stella Douma and Chrysanthos Zamboulis from the Hypertension Unit of the 2nd Propaedeutic Department of Internal Medicine of the Hippokration Hospital (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).

You may view the presentation here.



Best Paper Award in ISHIMR2005

Dr. Angelina Kouroubali received the Best Paper Award for her presentation of the paper "Innovation practices in the Emergency Medical Services in Crete" (authors: A.Kouroubali, D. Vourvahakis, M. Tsiknakis) in the 10th International Symposium for Health Information Management Research, 22-24 September 2005, Thessaloniki.

You may view the paper here and the presentation here.

For further information please contact:

Dr. Manolis Tsiknakis
Head of the Centre for eHealth Technologies
Computational Medicine Laboratory, FORTH-ICS
Tel.: 2810-391690
Email: Manolis Tsiknakis

Dr. Angelina Kouroubali
Affiliated Research Scientist
Centre for eHealth Technologies
Biomedical Computational Medicine Laboratory, FORTH-ICS
Tel.: 2810-391680
E-mail: Angelina Kouroubali



Top recognition for FORTH in Medical Information Technology area

The Computational Medicine Laboratory in FORTH has recently achieved three awards in an international competition.


Important acknowledgement for the Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH) constitutes the achievement of three awards, in an international competition ( that was carried out on 19-22 September 2004, within the scope of the International Annual Congress on Computers in Cardiology in Chicago, USA, for the research study: "Predicting the End of an Atrial Fibrillation Episode: the PhysioNet Challenge".*

This study is the result of international collaboration amongst the Computational Medicine Laboratory of FORTH, the Intensive Care Unit & Coronary Care Unit (ICU / CCU) of Venizeleio-Pananeio Hospital in Heraklion and the Clinical Physiology Institute of CNR in Pisa (Italy).

The presentation of this study was performed on 21 September 2004 by F. Cantini of the Clinical Physiology Institute of CNR, and was focused on innovative computerized methods and tools for the improvement in monitoring patients who may suffer atrial fibrillation.

More specifically, on a total of 20 participants to the competition, the Institution of Computer Science of FORTH and its collaborators achieved three out of four forecasted awards in two different categories concerning:

  • The automatic evaluation of the probability of spontaneous termination of an atrial fibrillation episode;
  • The evaluation of the exact time when the end will occur.

The fourth forecasted award was achieved by the "ARC Seibersdorf Research GmbH" in Graz (Austria).

The prizes were awarded on Wednesday, 22 September 2004 by Prof. George Moody, distinguished professor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

As emphasized by Dr. Giorgos Vrouchos, director of the Intensive Care Unit & Coronary Care Unit of Venizeleio-Pananeio Hospital, and by Mr. Franco Chiarugi, FORTH researcher, "This achievement is a result of a systematic and long-lasting collaboration between FORTH-ICS and the ICU / CCU of Venizeleio-Pananeio Hospital and the outcomes of this study contribute to the improvement in monitoring patients suffering cardiac arrhythmias, as they give the doctor the possibility to evaluate, immediately and with high precision, the probability of needing an immediate intervention and the probability of having a transitory patient arrhythmia that will pontaneously terminate. The results of this study have high importance because they create the basic conditions for effective home monitoring of patients through the use of modern electronic health services".

You may find more information about the Research Study: "Predicting the End of an Atrial Fibrillation Episode: the PhysioNet Challenge" here (pdf)

You may find some photographs from the international competition:
photo 1 | photo 2 | photo 3 | photo 4

* Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent cardiac arrhythmia which causes heart asynchronism and over-excitation.

For further information please contact:

Mr. Franco Chiarugi
Electronic Engineer
Computational Medicine Laboratory
Tel.: 2810-391658
E-mail: Franco Chiarugi



HYGEIAnet will strengthen health care in the Region of Crete guided by the principles of universality, accessibility, comprehensiveness, portability and public administration. Privacy is also a key value in HYGEIAnet. We believe that the level of privacy protection on HYGEIAnet has the potential to be higher than in today's paper-based world.

It is the marriage of these values with a sense of new technological capability that provides the foundation for our vision of HYGEIAnet, as an integrated health telematics network in the Region of Crete. That vision is as follows:

HYGEIAnet empowers individuals and communities to make informed choices about their own health, the health of others and Crete and health system. In an environment of strengthened privacy protection, it builds on a regional healthcare information infrastructure to improve the quality and accessibility of health care and to enable the delivery of integrated health care services. It provides the information and services that are the foundation for accountability, continuous improvement to health care and better understanding of the determinants of the health of the population.


eEurope award

The following are excepts taken from the official site of the eEurope Awards (

"The eEurope Awards embody the spirit of the eEurope Initiative by promoting the exchange of best practices among Member States of the enlarged European Union, the candidate countries as well as the EFTA countries in the field of eGovernment and in other priority areas covered by the eEurope Action Plan 2005, such as eHealth and eLearning.

The four eEurope Awards distributed in the years 2003-2005 are intended to be a driving force in identifying and promoting excellence and creativity in the public sector with a view to supporting the mutual recognition and adoption of best practices.

The eEurope Awards aim to highlight and disseminate efforts made by European national, regional and local administrations in using Information Society Technologies (IST) in order to increase efficiency and performance and to improve the quality and accessibility of public services. The eEurope Awards are given for outstanding eSolutions in European administrations in the fields of eHealth and eGovernment.

The specially-made eEurope Awards Trophy reflects the idea of a transparent and multifaceted Europe, which is stable but foresighted, future-oriented and technologically advanced.

The applications submitted for the eEurope Awards are evaluated and ranked by an independent jury composed of eminent experts from all over Europe in the relevant fields."


Best Poster award CinC

The paper “ECG in Your Hands: a Multi-Vendor ECG Viewer for Personal Digital Assistants” (F Chiarugi, M Spanakis, PJ Lees, CE Chronaki, M Tsiknakis, SC Orphanoudakis) won the best poster prize at Computers in Cardiology 2003 in Thessaloniki, Greece. The poster was presented during the Poster Session on September, 23 by F Chiarugi, CE Chronaki and PJ Lees and the prize was awarded on September, 24 by Dr. Bill Sanders.


You may find more information about this subject here (word) and here (pdf)

You may find some photographs from the international competition:
photo 1 | photo 2 | photo 3 | photo 4