Professor Paul Keall, Director, Radiation Physics Laboratory
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.
Dr Ricky O'Brien, Lead Software Developer
Dr Ricky O’Brien is currently a software developer 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.
Kuldeep Makhija, Software Developer
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.
Dr Ilana Feain, Research Fellow
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 Yuanyuan Ge, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Yuanyuan Ge received her B.Sc. degree in applied physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2002 and her D.Sc. degree in particle physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, in 2007. She then moved to the USA and changed her research direction to medical physics. She started as a volunteer post-doc at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago and then took a job as a software engineer on treatment planning systems in Prowess Inc. Yuanyuan went back to academia in 2008 and worked with Prof. Bruce Faddegon at theUniversity of California, San Francisco. Her work mainly focused on reducing radiation dose to healthy tissue by mixing X-ray and electron treatment. In 2010, she migrated to Australia and joined Prof. Keall's group. Her current interest lies in the real-time tracking of tumour deformation with dynamic multi-leaf collimator.
Dr John Kipritidis, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Kipritidis is a Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellow, spearheading the development of a novel functional lung imaging technology, computed tomography ventilation imaging (CT-VI), an exciting alternative to nuclear medicine based imaging methods. His goal as a Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellow is to shed new light on functional radiotoxicity in the treatment of lung cancer, and to inspire new treatment paradigms that spare irradiation of healthy lung. John’s main research interests are in the fields of respiration-correlated computed tomography ('4D-CT') image reconstruction and analysis, deformable image registration, and lung function quantification. Dr Kipritidis’ first postdoctoral role was as Assistant Professor at Kyoto University (2009-2010), which followed on from a PhD in Plasma Physics at the University of Sydney (2007-2009). This work focused on nuclear emission spectroscopy of small-scale fusion reactors, which inspired his interest in the humane applications of particle accelerator technology and a transition into medical imaging.
Dr Chen-Yu Huang, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Chen-Yu Huang completed her B.Sc. degree from Sun Yat-sen University with CT image registration as her graduation project. She was awarded a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales. Her research was focused on physical and biological aspects of Targeted Alpha Therapy for cancer. She developed Monte Carlo micro-dosimetric models for different stages of cancer. Further, she carried out in vitro and in vivo experiments on radio-immunoconjugate bio-distributions and the potential synergism of Tumor Anti-Vascular Alpha Therapy and vascular disrupting agents. Chen-Yu's current project at the Radiation Physics Laboratory is to investigate tumour rotation in real-time from rotating 2D projection images. Tracking tumour rotation and applying corrections in real-time will allow the prescribed radiation dose to be more accurately delivered to the tumour volume compared to current capabilities. Chen-Yu is passionate about hiking, swimming and enjoying different cuisines.
Dr Henry Woodruff, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Henry “Woody “ Woodruff obtained his Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Sydney in 2009, where he helped design and build interferometric instruments which were used to make observations of stellar atmospheres. Although he remains a member of The Astronomical Society of Australia, he jumped the fence to medical physics research in 2011 and conducted image based radiation therapy research in the Radiation Oncology department at the Calvary Mater Newcastle from 2011-2015. His main project there, code named “WatchDog”, has verified in real-time radiation dose deliveries for over 200 patients undergoing radiation therapy treatment. Having recently joined the Radiation Physics Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Woody aims to utilize a multidisciplinary approach combining the disciplines of mathematics, medical physics, computer engineering, and clinical medicine (radiation oncology) towards improving techniques for ventilation image reconstruction in four-dimensional cone-beam computed tomography (4D CBCT). To recharge his batteries he likes scuba diving, spear fishing, boating, rock climbing, underwater rugby (yes, it’s a thing, look it up), and more recently, aikido.
Dr Doan Trang Nguyen, Postdoctoral Fellow
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 Michelle Dunbar, Postdoctoral Fellow
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.
Dr Jung-Ha (Joanne) Kim, Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Jung-Ha (Joanne) Kim completed both Masters of Medical Physics and Graduate Diploma in Applied Nuclear Science at the University of Sydney. She has worked as a research assistant for a National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) project at the Institute of Medical Physics, School of Physics, at the University of Sydney. The project mainly involved computing simulations of high energy linear accelerator, which is used in current breast cancer radiotherapy treatment, using Monte Carlo simulation technique. Jung-Ha Kim stayed at the University afterwards and commenced her PhD in the estimation and correction of rigid motion in helical CT, during which she was employed as a research associate for NHMRC funded project in clinical implementation of motion correction in PET/CT at Westmead Hospital. She recently completed her PhD thesis and joined the Radiation Physics Lab to work on improving tumour rotation motion estimation for KIM. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and walking her dog.
Dr Elisabeth Steiner, Postdoctoral Fellow
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.
Chun-Chien (Andy) Shieh, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
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 William Counter, Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr William Counter received his Ph.D. in Medical Physics from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada in 2013. His research focused on pre-clinical imaging of pulmonary structure and function using μCT, SPECT, and PET. Additionally, he worked on the development of 3D-models of pulmonary airways and vasculature to facilitate image analysis and to simulate the deposition of inhaled particles. Dr Counter is also currently a student at Sydney Medical School. In his spare time he enjoys travelling, reading, and playing sports (especially hockey, snowboarding, and golf).
Spencer Martin, Research Assistant
Spencer Martin received his M.Sc. in Medical Biophysics from The University of Western Ontario in 2013. His research focused on applications of computer vision for the assessment and mitigation of inherent three-dimensional geometric uncertainties arising due to image segmentation for lung cancer patients treated with current clinical four-dimensional computed tomography (4D-CT) based radiotherapy strategies. Currently, Spencer is a M.D. candidate at Sydney Medical School in addition to working as a research assistant the Radiation Physics Laboratory with a focus on improved 4D-CT image acquisition and reconstruction.
Ben Cooper, PhD Student
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-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.
Brendan Whelan, Postsoctoral Fellow
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.
Suzy Lydiard, PhD Student
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.
Julie Baz, Executive Officer
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 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.