DERMOFIT: A cognitive prosthesis to aid focal skin lesion diagnosis

The 10 most commonly observed skin lesions

Actinic Basal Cell Melanocytic Seborrhoeic Squamous Cell
Keratosis Carcinoma Nevus (mole) Keratosis Carcinoma
A premalignant lesion that usually requires treatment An invasive skin cancer that requires treatment (urgent/very soon) A normal finding in adults A benign skin tumour (treated for aesthetic reasons on occasions) An invasive skin cancer with a risk of distant spread (urgent)
Intraepithelial Pyogenic Haemangioma Dermatofibroma Malignant
Carcinoma Granuloma Melanoma
A premalignant lesion that may develop into a squamous cell carcinoma A benign lesion, that often requires treatment because of bleeding A benign collection of blood vessels A benign dermal tumour The most serious type of skin cancer (urgent)


DERMOFIT is a Wellcome Foundation funded research project. The project goal is to develop an interactive skin cancer image database indexing tool, where users compare 'live' skin lesions/spots to images selected from a database. Based on user feedback on the goodness of the selections, the database will searched for better matches.

The project has both science and social goals. The science goal is to make contributions to the diagnosis of non-melanoma cancers (which are not widely studied by other teams, as contrasted with melanoma, which is widely studied). The social goal is to develop a web-based tool that can be used by non-specialist medical people (e.g. GPs, clinic nurses) for pre-assessment of spots, or even potentially by the general public as a tool to encourage visits to their doctor if they are worried about a spot.

Previous exploratory projects (Banks, Stavrakakis) developed database extraction algorithms and an interactive interface that looks like:

This project will build on those studies, aiming to:

  1. develop algorithms for classification of these types of lesions,
  2. build a publically usable web-based self-assessment tool and
  3. collect a database of usable skin samples for other skin lesion researchers.

The project starts on August 1, 2008 and continues until July 31, 2011.


The key components of this project are:


You can find some:

  1. Publically downloadable datasets.
  2. Project publications
  3. Our skin cancer research has led to the DERMOFIT skin cancer training and diagnostic assistant iPad app in partnership with Simedics.


At the moment, there are no paid positions. Visiting researchers are welcome.


Robert Fisher
School of Informatics
Univ. of Edinburgh
1.26 Informatics Forum
10 Crichton St
Edinburgh EH8 9AB, United Kingdom
Phone: (44)-131-651-3441 (direct line)
Phone: (44)-131-651-3443 (secretary)
Fax: (44)-131-650-6899
Jonathan Rees
The University of Edinburgh
Lauriston Building
Lauriston Place
Edinburgh EH3 9HA
Tel: 44-(0) 131 536 2041
Fax: 44-(0) 131 229 8769