back Katja Bühler

Scientific Director | Head of Biomedical Image Informatics Group

Katja Bühler studied Mathematics (Dipl-math.) at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology completing her degree in 1996. Following a one year research exchange at Centro de Computación Gráfica y Geometría Aplicada, Universidad Central de Venezuela, funded by the German DAAD, she moved to Austria to work towards a doctorate in computer science (Dr.techn.) at the Institute of Visual Computing & Human-Centered Technology, awarded to her by TU Wien in 2001. There she held also a position as assistant professor (Univ.Ass.) until 2002. She seamlessly continued her career as a senior researcher at VRVis and external lecturer at TU Wien. In 2003, she was promoted to Head of the Biomedical Image Informatics Group at VRVis. 2010-2020 she coordinated in addition the research area Complex Systems. In 2021 Katja Bühler took on the role of scientific director of VRVis.

Additionally she deepened her knowledge in strategic R&D management at INSEAD in 2010 and took part in the executive education program “Zukunft.Frauen” at the Austrian Chamber of Economics in 2020. Katja Bühler is regularly hired as a technical and scientific expert by the European Union and various international funding organizations, with a focus on visual computing, image analytics, AI, HPC and research data management, as well as the evaluation and monitoring of large-scale research (FET Flagship), research infrastructures and PPP projects.

Research Interests

Katja Bühler has many years of experience in developing innovation and research strategies and in leading their implementation as international basic and applied research projects in close cooperation with industry and science at international level. Her scientific roots are to be found in reliable computing and numerics, geometry processing and visualization. Since 2003, she and her team have been dedicated to the development of highly efficient methods to provide access to the information encoded in (biomedical) images and big data in life sciences. Her interdisciplinary group covers deep expertise in image analysis, artificial intelligence and classical machine learning, high-performance computing, data mining, visualization and human-computer interaction to create novel intelligent visual computing solutions for medicine, life sciences and, since recently, also manufacturing. The group’s research results are continuously awarded various scientific prizes and led to several international patents with a strong focus on AI. The highly successful software resulting from the group’s research helps for example radiologists to cope with multi-modal images and diagnostic tasks in their daily clinical routine, allows neuroscientists and cancer biologists to gain insight into highly heterogeneous, high dimensional data and supports the optimization of manufacturing processes.
The e-Science platform Brain* co-designed with and used by several research institutions in Europe and the US, as well as the pharmaceutical industry addresses the urgent need to manage and use of image-intensive data collections and accelerates image-based and data driven research by neuroscientists.

Katja Bühler is densely integrated into an interdisciplinary scientific network. She is member of the management board of Austrian Bioimaging, associate editor of the journals Computers and Graphics, The Visual Computer, and Frontiers in Bioinformatics. She is chairman, IPC member and reviewer for various international conferences and an active member of international societies including Eurographics, MICCAI, GAMM and the Austrian Association of Neuroscience (ANA). She regularly acts as committee member for doctoral theses at international universities. Currently she is scientific advisor of the Austrian SEVA Project and part of the steering committee "GI Fachgruppe Visual Computing in der Medizin" of the German Gesellschaft für Informatik. Previously she was member of the steering committees of the EG VCBM (until 2019), the scientific advisory board of the German Society for Computer- and Robot-Assisted Surgery CURAC (2012-2014) and the French research infrastructure TEFOR.

Lectures & Panel Discussions

Katja Bühler taught Medical Visualization at the Vienna University of Technology (2001-2012). She regularly gives guest lectures at Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences for physicians, radiologists and image scientists on Image Informatics and Medical Visualization and supervises diploma and doctoral students in cooperation with national and international universities.

Outside of academia Katja Bühler is a sought-after expert in the field of visual computing, image informaticsartificial intelligence and data science for neurosciences. She regularly participates as invited speaker in panel discussions, events and conferences on these topics e.g. at Forum Alpbach, the WKO Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the VIP Night on Deep Learning & AI, the Brainstorms Festival, and the AICI Forum Villach (Artificial Intelligence in Clinical Imaging). She regularly gives interviews on these topics, most recently her research work on AI was featured in the newspaper Der Standard as well as in the magazine Report+.

Awards (selection)

In 2012 Katja Bühler and Rainer Wegenkittl received the Austrian science2business award for the management of a successful long-term research project with AGFA Healthcare. She was recently nominated for the "Woman in Tech" award 2019, which is awarded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs. In 2020, Katja Bühler was awarded the renowned TU Women's Prize.

Research Group