Our people

Professor Paul Keall, Director, Radiation Physics Laboratory, NHMRC Senior Professorial Research Fellow


Paul Keall

Prof Paul Keall

Paul Keall is a Professor in the Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney and an NHMRC Senior Professorial Research Fellow. He graduated with his B.Sc. from the University of Waikato, and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide. His career has taken him to positions at Queensland University of Technology, Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to his current role, he was the Director of the Radiation Physics Division at Stanford University. At the University of Sydney Prof. Keall and his team of 25 scientists have the mission to create, share and apply novel cancer imaging and targeted radiotherapy methods that improve human health. His team have achieved significant bench-to-bedside clinical translational milestones in 4D imaging, real-time tumour position localisation, real-time adaptive radiotherapy, CT ventilation imaging and audiovisual biofeedback. Additional programs include the research and development of the Australian MRI-Linear accelerator, and the Nano-X cancer radiotherapy system. Prof. Keall’s research is funded by over $10M of competitive government grant funding. The scientific work has resulted in over 250 articles with a high number of citations (h-index 45). He is regularly invited to speak at large international meetings. The cutting edge technological nature of the research has resulted in a number of patents, licenses and industrial engagement, including founding two companies. Prof. Keall is engaged professionally in several roles within the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology. Outside of work, he enjoys time with his family, and all forms of sport.

RESEARCHERS

Associate Professor Ricky O'Brien


A/Prof Ricky O

A/Prof Ricky O'Brien

Dr Ricky O’Brien is currently a Associate Professor in the Radiation Physics Laboratory working on the DMLC tracking, Audiovisual Biofeedback and RM4DCBCT software projects. Ricky completed his undergraduate studies in Pure and Applied Mathematics from RMIT University and his Ph.D. in biological mathematics at the University of Western Australia . After completing his Ph.D. studies he worked for five years at EOS Space Systems in Canberra developing astrodynamics applications for space debris tracking and satellite laser ranging. More recently he spent five years as a Senior Developer at Optimo Financial where he developed financial optimisation software. Ricky’s interests are in software development, optimisation, astrodynamics, biological mathematics and mathematical modelling.

Dr Ilana Feain, Senior Research Fellow


Ilana Feain

Dr Ilana Feain

Dr Ilana Feain obtained her PhD in Astrophysics from The University of Sydney in 2006. From 2006 until 2014, Ilana was a Research and Project Scientist at CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science Division, where she focused on radio interferometric imaging of super massive black holes in order to understand galaxy formation and evolution in the distant Universe. Ilana is also an adjunct senior lecturer at the School of Physics and currently co-supervises one PhD student at the Sydney Institute for Astrophysics. Ilana is a vocal advocate for encouraging young women to pursue careers in science, and in supporting female scientists as they progress through their career jungle gyms. In 2007, Ilana was awarded the Inaugural L'Oreal For Women in Science Fellowship for her research and outreach work with Global Jet Watch, placing telescopes in girls schools across the world. In 2014, Ilana changed direction, choosing to pursue a career in medical physics and took up a three year research fellowship with Paul Keall in the School of Medicine Radiation Physics Laboratory. For fun, Ilana runs, cycles and swims in the hope that she'll be able to do another half-ironman triathlon at some point soon.

Dr Fatemeh Abdolali


Fatemeh

Dr Fatemeh Abdolali

Fatemeh Abdolali obtained her PhD degree from University of Tehran in 2016 with majors in biomedical engineering. Her research focused on shape based analysis of maxillofacial deformities in Cone Beam Computed Tomography. She was a special research student in Nara Institute of Science and Technology in 2015 and she investigated the efficiency of statistical shape models for automatic segmentation of mandibular canal which is important in implant surgery planning. In addition, she worked as a lecturer in Azad University from 2016 to 2017. Her research interests include medical image processing, biological signal processing and computational modeling. In her spare time, Fatemeh enjoys traveling and reading books.

Dr Saree Alnaghy, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Saree Alnaghy

Dr Saree Alnaghy

Dr Saree Alnaghy completed his Bachelor’s degree in Medical Radiation Physics at the University of Wollongong in 2012. He also recently finalised his PhD research on the development of an in-body gamma camera system for real-time seed imaging for both low dose rate and high dose rate prostate brachytherapy. Saree joined the Radiation Physics Laboratory in 2017 as a Postdoctoral Fellow where he is working on the development of 6DoF phantom for geometric and domestic QA for KIM. In his spare time, Saree enjoys playing basketball and driving cars.

Dr Michelle Dunbar, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr Michelle Dunbar

Dr Michelle Dunbar

Dr Michelle Dunbar completed her PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of New South Wales in 2012, and from 2012-2015 was a Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong. Michelle has experience in applying mathematical optimisation techniques to both medicine and public transport networks, to assist in key operational decisions and provide robust solutions under uncertainty. She also has experience in applying non-linear optimisation tools to a variety of medical datasets to allow for improved disease detection and diagnosis; one of these tools has subsequently been taken up by a health care company. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys surfing, cycling and bushwalking.

Emily Hewson


Emily

Emily Hewson

Emily Hewson obtained her Bachelor’s degree majoring in Physics and Psychology from the University of Sydney. More recently she completed her Master of Medical Physics degree. Her Master’s project investigated the use of the Monte Caro code TOPAS for the calculation of backscatter factors for kilovoltage x-rays with comparison to measured values using Gafchromic film and OSLs. Emily’s research will focus on Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring (KIM). In her free time she enjoys swimming and reading.

Dr Paul Liu, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr Paul Liu

Dr Paul Liu

Dr Paul Liu obtained his Bachelors degree from the University of Sydney in 2007 with majors in Physics and History and Philosophy of Science. He then completed his Masters in Medical Physics and undertook a PhD in the same field. During his doctorate, he worked in collaboration with the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to develop new techniques to measure radiation therapy dose using fibre optics. These new methods improved the safety of brachytherapy treatments as well as those involving small radiation fields. In his spare time, Paul enjoys playing sport, travelling and photography.

Dr Doan Trang Nguyen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr Doan Trang Nguyen

Dr Doan Trang Nguyen

Doan Trang (Trang) Nguyen has recently finished her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Sydney in novel non-invasive imaging of lung functions. During her PhD, Trang oversaw the very first successful implementation of the contrast enhanced Electrical Impedance Tomography technique for detection of blood clot in the lungs, validated on a large animal model. The work was a collaboration effort between Electrical Engineering at Sydney University and Westmead Cardiology Research. Recently joined Radiation Physics group, Trang's works will be focusing on improving the KIM technology for real-time prostate cancer radiation therapy (SPARK trials) and for lung cancer radiation therapy. Trang's research interests include bioelectronics, physiological signal monitoring and analysis and especially medical image processing. In her free time, Trang likes cycling and reading. She also has very eclectic taste in music.


Dr Chun-Chien (Andy) Shieh, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr Chun-Chien (Andy) Shieh

Dr Chun-Chien (Andy) Shieh

Andy is a Taiwanese national who graduated with a B.Sc. degree from the University of Sydney majoring in Physics, Applied Mathematics, and Computational Science. He later completed his Ph.D. at the Radiation Physics Laboratory in 2016, and continued to work as a postdoctoral research associate in the group. Andy’s research has been focused on computational innovations in medical imaging such as real-time tumor tracking using x-ray and high-quality 4D cone-beam CT image reconstruction. During his Ph.D., Andy developed an algorithm that enables the direct tracking of lung tumors during radiotherapy. His current project in the group is to transition this algorithm from bench-to-bedside. Andy is also involved in the development of the imaging technology for the Nano-X system the group is building. Andy spends most of his free time playing music. He is also a guitarist in a wedding band, so ask him for a deal if you have any friends getting married!

Dr Elisabeth Steiner, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Dr Elisabeth Steiner

Dr Elisabeth Steiner

Dr Elisabeth Steiner obtained her PhD from the Medical University of Vienna in 2015. Her research focused on intrafraction motion management strategies for different tumour sites and motion characteristics and the resulting dose from imaging procedures for various imaging technologies in photon beam radiation therapy and particle beam therapy. In addition, she worked as a clinical medical physicist at the Vienna General Hospital (AKH)/Medical University of Vienna from 2014 to 2015. In 2016, she joined the Radiation Physics Laboratory where she is working on the evaluation of deep inspiration breath hold for breast cancer patients and the investigation of breathing training for lung cancer radiotherapy. In her free time Elisabeth enjoys running, hiking, travelling and skiing.

Dr Brendan Whelan, Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Brendan Whelan

Dr Brendan Whelan

Brendan Whelan is a Postdoctoral Fellow, having submitted his PhD in October 2016 studying under Professor Paul Keall. Brendan graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2009 with a Bachelor of Physics and a Diploma of Music. He completed the Master of Medical Physics program at the University of Sydney in 2011. Brendan is working on the MRI-Linac program; specifically on the development of a patient rotation system, and the impact of magnetic fields on the linac electron gun. Brendan is widely acknowledged as the best looking and cleverest member of the research group. He also writes his own bios.

STUDENTS

Vincent Caillet, PhD Student


Vincent Caillet

Vincent Caillet

Vince is a PhD student at the University of Sydney currently working under the supervision of Prof. Paul Keall and Dr. Jeremy Booth. In addition to his current studies, he is also employed as a hospital scientist at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia. Before joining the Radiation Physics Laboratory, he briefly worked in nuclear medicine in the IRSN (France, his country of origin), on the Monte Carlo simulation of patient injected with microsphere of yttrium-90 in the liver. His main research has been focusing on the clinical implementation of multi-leaf collimator (MLC) tracking for patient diagnosed with lung cancer. Other subject of interests are the evaluation of dosimetric errors during MLC tracking, comparison of tracking algorithms and the occasional KIM gating treatment. When he is not working, the highest chance of meeting him is at the beach, most probably swimming from one beach to the other.

Ben Cooper, PhD Student

Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper

Ben Cooper is a Ph.D. student at the University of Sydney. He is also an ACPSEM-accredited Medical Physicist at the Canberra Hospital. Ben, who has adapted the reconstruction algorithm leading to the preliminary data for the NHMRC Project Grant, will continue to contribute to the theoretical developments, simulation studies and implementation of experimental phantom studies investigating respiratory modulated 4D CBCT.

Dr Fiona Hegi, PhD Student


Dr Fiona Hegi

Dr Fiona Hegi

Dr Fiona Hegi-Johnson is a radiation oncologist working at the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre. She completed her advanced training at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney and is currently undertaking her Ph.D. in the area of management of intrafractional organ motion in stereotactic radiotherapy under the supervision of Professor Paul Keall (University of Sydney). Fiona has a strong interest in stereotactic body radiotherapy for primary lung cancer and pulmonary metastases. She also treats patients with stereotactic body radiotherapy at other sites, including the liver and spine. She is the principle investigator on several multicentre trials, examining the role of stereotactic body radiotherapy in the lung and spine. Fiona's key areas of research are stereotactic body radiotherapy for lung, spine and liver, anagement of intrafractional organ motion in stereotactic radiotherapy and informatics – novel methods of data collection and text based analysis.

Suzy Lydiard, PhD Student


Suzy Lydiard

Suzy Lydiard

Suzy Lydiard is currently undertaking a PhD part-time investigating the feasibility of non-invasively treating Atrial Fibrillation using an MRI-Linac. She is lucky enough to not only have Professor Paul Keall as her primary supervisor but additionally Professor Stuart Crozier (UQ) and Dr Gary Liney (Ingham Institute, NSW) as auxiliary supervisors. She is conjointly completing her clinical Radiation Oncology Medical Physics accreditation at Auckland City Hospital, NZ. Previously she completed a BTech Degree in Medical Physics and Imaging at Auckland University and graduated with first class honours. Her honours research project assessed the clinical suitability of using compressed sensing in cardiac MRI. When she is not working, studying or jumping across the ditch, Suzy enjoys baking (a welcomed skill in the departments), exploring and reading a good novel. When she is stressed you can find her hitting the pavements and trails with running shoes.

Morgan Wheatley, Internship Student


Morgan Wheatley

Morgan Wheatley

Morgan Wheatley is working with the Ingham Institute as part of his industry experience for his engineering bachelor's degree at Macquarie University. For his bachelor's thesis, Morgan developed a miniaturised MLC prototype for tracking and irradiating tumors in real-time. When Morgan isn't studying, he enjoys taking his little sea kayak out on the water for a paddle.

PROFESSIONAL STAFF

Julie Baz, Executive Officer


Julie Baz

Julie Baz

Julie Baz manages the administrative functions of the group including grant applications and management, HR, logistics, travel and events. She has a degree in Communications and has worked at the University for the past 10 years. Prior to joining the group when it was established in 2010, Julie worked in a range of positions across the University including Communications Advisor for the central Marketing and Communications Team. Outside the University, Julie is an independent theatre producer and director.

Shona Silvester, Clinical Trials Coordinator


Shona Silvester

Shona Silvester

Shona Silvester has a Master’s in medical science and comes to the Radiation Physics Laboratory with over 10 years of experience in clinical trials research. She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry as well as an academic research organisation and will be joining the lab to work on the clinical trials program. In her spare time Shona volunteers with the NSW SES and enjoys playing tennis with her friends.

Kuldeep Makhija, Software Developer


Kuldeep Makhija

Kuldeep Makhija

Kuldeep Makhija graduated with a Bachelor in Management Science and Masters in Computer Application. After that, Kuldeep worked with Dell Perot Systems and Halliburton Energy Services as a software developer in Pune, India and partly in Houston, USA. He is currently assisting the group in building the software tools to advance the various projects underway, under the guidance of Dr Ricky O'brien. His interests are new Microsoft technologies and team and project dynamics. When not working, Kuldeep likes to travel, discover new places and take his son swimming.

Helen Ball, Research Administration Officer


Dr Helen Ball

Dr Helen Ball

Helen Ball provides administrative support for the research activities of the Radiation Physics Laboratory. She trained as a molecular biologist and undertook her PhD studies at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. After postdoctoral training at Mount Sinai Medical Center, she returned to Sydney to a research position in the Molecular Immunopathology Unit, University of Sydney. More recently, Helen provided advice and training for researchers at the School of Medical Sciences, as the facility officer for the Bosch Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Facility. She enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with her family.

Julia Johnson, Research Administration Officer


Julia

Julia Johnson

Julia Johnson comes from a design background and provides graphic design as well as administrative support to the team. Over the past decade her design projects have ranged from permanent exhibition graphics in national cultural institutions, through to industrial design including prototyping class 1 medical devices. Julia is a staunch defender of her home town Canberra, although she loves Sydney’s proximity to the beach. She enjoys playing music, and in her spare time performs regularly with her banjo and guitar.