Leadership


 

Professor Paul Keall

Director

View academic profile

Professor Paul Keall is an NHMRC Leadership Fellow at the University of Sydney. He is the Director of the Image X Institute. His career has taken him to positions around Australia and in the USA. Prior to his current role, he was the Director of the Radiation Physics Division at Stanford University. He returned to Australia via an NHMRC Australia Fellowship, one of only 39 people given this award.

Prof. Keall and his team of 20+ scientists in Image X have the mission to improve the lives of cancer patients by inventing and advancing new ways to image and target their disease with radiation therapy. 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 350 articles with a high number of citations (h-index 76). 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 three companies. Prof. Keall is engaged professionally in several roles within the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and other professional societies. Outside of work, he enjoys time with his family, and loves (almost) all forms of sport and outdoor recreation.

 

 

Professor Ricky O’Brien

Deputy Director

View academic profile

Professor Ricky O’Brien is the Deputy Director of the ACRF Image-X Institute, University of Sydney. 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 in industry developing astrodynamics applications for space debris tracking and satellite laser ranging at EOS Space Systems in Canberra. He then went on to further industry roles developing financial optimisation software as a Senior Developer at Optimo Financial.

Prof. O’Brien leads the ACRF Image X Institute’s Patient Connected Imaging Program, which develops novel solutions to predict and mitigate the effects of patient motion on medical imaging. Prof. O’Brien’s primary research interest is in developing new medical imaging technologies with a focus on radiotherapy, for which he has been awarded three international patents. This work is cross disciplinary and covers novel applications in medicine, physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering. Funded by more than $10M of competitive government grant funding from the NHMRC, Cancer Australia, NSW Health and the Cancer Institute NSW, Prof. O’Brien leads a multi-disciplinary team of 6 post-doctoral researchers.

In 2019 Prof. O’Brien launched the ADAPT clinical trial to reduce scan times and imaging dose by more than 75% for lung cancer patients. In this trial, a novel form of respiratory motion guided cancer imaging is being implemented for the first time to improve the imaging of lung cancer patients.

Having a keen focus on translating technology from bench to bedside, he has forged strong relationships with industry leaders Siemens and Elekta. Formal partnership agreements with these companies allows his technology to be implemented in experimental setups using some of the world’s most cutting-edge medical imaging systems.

Outside of work, Ricky devotes time to his young family, and competes in grueling cycling challenges.

Academic


 

Dr Youssef Ben Bouchta

Research Associate | View Academic Profile
Project: AV Biofeedback

Youssef Ben Bouchta is a research associate working at the Image-X Institute on the development of novel patient-centred novel technologies. His background is in the measurement of radiation dose and in the translation of novel radiotherapy techniques to the clinic. His current research focuses on real-time treatment adaptation in radiotherapy, surface imaging and on the translation novel technologies to the clinic such as real-time audiovisual biofeedback and surface imaging.

He is currently leading the AVIATOR and SMaRT clinical trial and the VISION volunteer study. In his spare time, Youssef enjoys reading, hiking and, when possible, travelling to remote places.

 

Dr Samuel Blake

Research Associate | View academic profile
Project: The Patient Connected Imaging Program

Sam Blake is a research associate in the Patient Connected Imaging Program with a background in Monte Carlo radiation transport simulations and the development of novel radiation detection systems. His current research uses mathematical modelling to improve the quality and efficiency of cone-beam CT image guidance technologies for lung cancer radiotherapy. He is also interested in developing and implementing real time in vivo dosimetry systems to improve the safety of radiotherapy delivery. Outside of work, Sam enjoys running and exploring cafes and parks with his wife and kids.

 

Dr Caterina Brighi

Research Associate | View Academic Profile
Project: The Australian MRI-Linac Program

Caterina Brighi is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the MRI-Linac Program. Her background is in brain cancer MRI/PET imaging and nanomedicine. Currently her work focusses on using functional MRI and PET imaging techniques to characterise different aspects of the tumour biology (such as cellularity, vascularisation, hypoxia and metabolism) and building workflows that will allow clinicians to integrate this information in the development of more efficient, personalised radiotherapy treatment plans for patients with brain cancer.

In 2021 she was awarded the Best Early and Mid Career Researcher Oral Presentation Award at the Sydney Cancer Conference. Outside work, Caterina has a strong passion for swimming. Before pursuing an academic career, she was European Junior Champion, she won 12 medals at international competitions representing the Italian National Junior Team, and she totaled over 50 medals and broke 13 national records at Italian National Championships.

 

Dr Hilary Byrne

Program Manager | View academic profile
Project: CT Ventilation

Hilary’s current research focus is on extracting information about lung function from CT images. This will help in planning radiotherapy to minimize patient side-effects and in diagnosing, assessing and tracking lung disease. She has an interest in helping develop new technologies for use in the clinic, and was awarded a Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) Fellowship in 2022. She led the BRAVEHeart clinical trial to completion in 2021, clinically assessing an optical surface motion tracking device developed by our group. Hilary also has an interest in novel techniques to enhance radiotherapy using nanoparticles. She was awarded a Sydney Vital Nanotechnology Fellowship in 2019 and ran a pilot study on radiosensitisation at the Australian MRI-linac.

Away from work, Hilary enjoys family time with her husband and two boys and in her time off indulges in choir singing, learning to play the recorder and fencing (the Olympic sword-fighting, not the agricultural land-enclosing type!)

 

Dr Owen Dillon

Research Associate | View academic profile
Project: The Patient Connected Imaging Program

Owen Dillon is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Patient Connected Imaging program. His background is in Image Reconstruction, Inverse Problems and Bayesian Statistics. His work is focussed on Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) with a particular emphasis on estimating and incorporating patient motion. He is primarily involved in the ADAPT clinical trial, improving lung cancer radiotherapy imaging while reducing imaging time 60% and imaging radiation 85%. His other research work has involved robotic systems in surgical theatres and implementing 3D imaging capabilities on 2D systems. His main pastime outside of work is hiking in and around Sydney.

 

Dr Mark Gardner

Research Associate | View Academic Profile
Project: Nano-X

Mark is working on the ‘Remove the Mask’ project, which aims to improve the patient experience during radiation therapy for people with head and neck cancers. Mark is also part of the Nano-X team, which is a low-cost radiation therapy device. Mark’s research interests include automated medical images analysis, machine-learning applications in medicine, cone-beam CT reconstruction, and improving the patient experience in radiotherapy. Mark also is interested in science communication, having made it to the state finals in the FameLab competition in 2020, a public speaking competition requiring researchers to explain their research to the general public in 3 minutes. Outside of work his interests include hiking, video games, basketball and communicating through Simpson’s references.

 

James Grover

Research Associate
Project: The Australian MRI-Linac Program
James completed his Master of Medical Physics at the University of Sydney in 2021 after attaining a Bachelor of Science in 2019. His areas of interest include radiotherapy and machine learning. James is working on the implementation of a neural network-based treatment adaptation on the MRI-Linac Program with Dr. David Waddington. Previously, James completed a research project applying machine learning to CT ventilation imaging with Dr. Hilary Byrne and Prof. Paul Keall. In his free time, he enjoys travelling, self-defence training and playing the guitar.

Emily Hewson

Research Associate
Project: Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring (KIM)

Emily Hewson received her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2022 and is currently a Research Associate specialising in real-time adaptive radiotherapy techniques. Her thesis focussed on developing beam-adaption that can track multiple targets simultaneously for patients with locally advanced cancer and was carried out in collaboration with the Royal North Shore Hospital. Emily’s work in this field was awarded Best in Physics in 2021 at the 63rd AAPM annual meeting. She is now continuing her research in motion monitoring and tracking techniques during radiotherapy. In her spare time she enjoys reading, hiking, and taking her dog to the beach.

 

Nicholas Hindley

Research Fellow
Project: Markerless Tracking

Nicholas is a postdoctoral researcher focussed on the development and clinical implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) during image-guided radiotherapy. He is passionate about steering AI toward a bright future and sees healthcare innovation as an important avenue for this cause. Prior to his current role, Nicholas joined the Center for Machine Learning as a Fulbright scholar in the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Harvard Medical School. During his time at Harvard, Nicholas developed an AI framework to aid scientific discovery by approximating unknown physical laws. A committed educator, Nicholas taught chemistry at the University of Sydney for six years, lectures in the data science and statistics programs and delivers workshops on AI.

Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys reading and writing – his article “Deep Learning and the Era of Artificial Intelligence” currently stands as the most widely read post on betterhealthcaretechnology.org. He also enjoys music; and has performed as a vocalist in the Sydney University Jazz Society Big Band.

 

Dr Paul Liu

Research Fellow | View academic profile
Project: The Australian MRI-Linac Program

Paul Liu is a postdoctoral associate working on the Australian MRI-Linac program which aims to combine high quality MRI with radiotherapy. He has a background in medical physics and his current projects include improved imaging techniques, real-time treatment adaptation and MRI-Linac clinical trials. Previously he has worked on the NanoX project to develop a low-cost linear accelerator.

In 2020, he was awarded an Early Career Fellowship from the Cancer Institute of NSW to develop radiotherapy with patients in an upright position. In his spare time, Paul enjoys playing sport, travelling and photography.

 

Amelia Martin

Research Assistant
Project: Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring (KIM)

Amelia is a BSc student at the University of Sydney in her third year, majoring in Physics and Chemistry. Having worked under Dr Trang Nguyen over the summer with the institute’s scholarship program, she is excited to continue her work under Emily Hewson and Prof. Paul Keall in experimentally evaluating the 6D Internal-External correlation algorithm.

Beside her passion for science and learning, she spends her spare time with family, playing flute and bushwalking.

 

Dr Elshin Mathias

Research Associate | View academic profile
Project: The Patient Connected Imaging Program

Elshin is a postdoctoral fellow in the patient connected imaging program. His background is in biomedical engineering and has experience working on various signal/image processing projects, mathematical modelling and designing surgical tools. His current work is focused on improving 4DCT imaging used in radiotherapy treatment planning.

He is primarily involved in the REACT clinical trial which aims to reduce imaging errors in 4DCT images. He is also interested in better acquisition and reconstruction protocols for 3rd generation modern CT scanners. Outside of work, he enjoys time with his family, and loves playing badminton.

 

Dr Lars Mejnertsen

Research Associate | View academic profile
Project: Beam Adaptation

Dr Lars Mejnertsen is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working on beam adaptation. Having graduated with a PhD in Physics from Imperial College London in 2018 in the field of space plasma physics, he worked on the development of the Gorgon simulation code for planetary magnetospheres. The code aims to assist in the forecasting in space weather: the impact of solar activity on the Earth’s infrastructure.

Joining the ACRF Image-X Institute in 2019, Lars brings his experience in computational physics and algorithm development to the beam adaptation project, which aims to improve the efficacy of radiotherapy. By adapting the profile of the incident radiation, taking into account the presence of multiple tumour targets and their motion during treatment, a tailored dose can be administered to the tumour whilst avoiding healthy tissue. In his spare time, he enjoys making the most of the outdoors by going on long walks and taking part in water sports.

 

Dr Tess Reynolds

Research Fellow | View academic profile
Project: The Patient Connected Imaging Program

Tess Reynolds is a Cancer Institute of NSW Early Career Fellow leading a multi-disciplinary research program delivering innovative solutions to clinical imaging challenges in interventional cardiology, neurology, oncology, and orthopaedics. Tess is the Image X Institute’s Career Development/Mentoring Advisor and the Thoracic Imaging Theme Lead, also serving on the Institute’s Management and Executive Committees. In 2021, she was a top-3 finalist for the Outstanding Early Career Researcher Australian Museum Eureka Prize and received the Jack Fowler Early Career Investigator Award from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. Outside of work, Tess plays ice hockey and has represented Australia at 4 world championships (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2020).

 

Dr Chandrima Sengupta

Research Associate | View academic profile
Project: Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring (KIM)

Chandrima is a post-doctoral research associate in the projects related to advancement of the Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring (KIM) technology. Currently, her work focusses to develop, improve and advance real-time adaptive radiotherapy techniques for radiation therapy patients. She is leading two multi-institutional clinical trials related to the KIM technology: TROG 17.03 LARK trial and TROG 18.01 NINJA trial that aim to quantify the geometric and dosimetric accuracy achieved with KIM guidance for liver and prostate cancer patients. In 2021, she was awarded the ‘Best Radiation Oncology Oral presentation’ at the Engineering and Physical Sciences in Medicine (EPSM) Conference in recognition of this work. She collaborates on the Remove the Mask project, on testing the accuracy of novel surface guidance applications using a 6 degree-of-freedom quality assurance device she co-authored and manages. She is also interested in imaging technologies related to proton therapy treatment. After work, Chandrima can be found cooking, watching movies and travelling to unknown destinations.

 

Dr Shanshan Shan

Research Associate | View Academic Profile
Project: The Australian MRI-Linac Program

Shanshan received her PhD at school of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland in 2021 and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate specialising in real-time MR image reconstruction and distortion/motion correction for the Australian MRI-Linac project.

Shanshan received Best in Physics Award at the 64th AAPM annual meeting in 2022, Dean’s Award Recommendation for Outstanding HDR Thesis in 2021 and Richard Jago Memorial Prize in 2019. In her spare time Shanshan likes to spend time on cooking and trying yummy food; she also likes doing Yoga and Zumba.

 

Dr David Waddington

Dr David Waddington

Research Fellow | View academic profile
Project: The Australian MRI-Linac Program

Dr David Waddington is a Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellow at the ACRF Image X Institute. David’s research is improves the targeting of cancer treatments by integrating radiotherapy with real time MR imaging of tumours. This work is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to image tumour anatomy and function with a precision that has never before been possible. David leads the MRI Development research stream within the $25M+ Australian MRI-Linac Program and is the MRI lead at the ACRF Image X Institute.

When he’s done with work for the day, you’ll often find David pounding his way along a trail in the Blue Mountains or throwing his toddler on a mountain bike to go shred the gnar.

 

Dr Brendan Whelan

Research Fellow | View Academic Profile
Project: The Australian MRI-Linac Program

Brendan received his PhD at the Image-X institute in 2016 for a thesis entitled “Maximising the mutual interoperability of an MRI scanner and a cancer therapy particle accelerator”. This work was supervised by Professor Paul Keall, and was awarded the ACPSEM PhD award for the best PhD thesis published in the field of medical physics in 2016. After completion of his PhD, he continued working in the MRI-Linac program in a postdoctoral capacity. In 2018 he moved to Germany, working as a Multiphysics Specialist within the Innovation Department, Advanced Therapies, Siemens Healthineers.

In 2020 he returned to the Image-X institute to take up a CJ Martin NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. Through this fellowship, he will spend 50% of his time at the Radiation Oncology department at Stanford University working with Professor Billy W. Loo, and 50% of the time at Sydney University under the supervision of Professor Paul Keall. Brendan is widely acknowledged to be the best looking and cleverest member of the research group. He also writes his own bios.

 

Students


 

Suzy Lydiard

PhD Candidate
Project: The Australian MRI-Linac Program

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.

 

Natasha Morton

PhD Candidate
Project: The Patient Connected Imaging Program

Natasha completed her undergraduate degree in 2014 at the Australian National University, majoring in physics and mathematics. Natasha has recently completed a master of Medical Physics at the University of Sydney. Her project focused on code development for determining 3D tumour control probability (TCP). This was used to determine the effects of motion on TCP during prostate cancer treatment for both real-time multi-leaf collimator (MLC) clinical trial patients and several motion simulated scenarios.

Her research will focus on second generation 4DCT. Natasha enjoys a good fiction book and expanding her culinary skills.

 

Marco Müller

PhD Candidate
Project: Markerless Tracking

Marco visited us for six months in 2017 to complete his master thesis in physics, and was involved in the Australian MRI-Linac Program. He studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and has been undertaking research at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) since 2014. In his bachelor thesis he dealt with molecular optical imaging and reconstruction algorithms for optical tomography in mice. In addition to his studies in general physics, Marco went for further education courses like Advanced Physical Methods in Radiology and Medical Physics for Physicists to cover the theory of the different areas of medical physics and performed the quality assurance of linear accelerator in the university hospital in Heidelberg. When not working, during his summer stay in Sydney Marco likes to enjoy the Australian lifestyle, do water sports or go hiking in the Blue Mountains.

 

Adam Mylonas

PhD Candidate | View Academic Profile
Project: Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring (KIM)

Adam Mylonas graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Biomedical) and a Bachelor of Medical Science (Immunobiology) at the University of Sydney in 2021. Adam is currently undertaking a PhD at the ACRF Image X Institute investigating Markerless Tracking. Currently, his work focuses on developing deep learning models for real-time markerless tracking of the prostate and pancreas in intrafraction kilovoltage images. He also collaborates on the implementation of deep learning-based marker tracking as part of the Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring (KIM) project. In his spare time, Adam enjoys exploring nature, going for long hikes, and camping.

 

Professional


 

Dr Helen Ball

Operations Manager | Contact

Helen Ball obtained her PhD in molecular biology at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and has worked as a researcher in the Discipline of Pathology, University of Sydney.  She also provided advice and training for researchers at the School of Medical Sciences, as the facility officer for the Bosch Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Facility. Helen manages the operations of the ACRF Image-X Institute. She enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with her family.

 

Indrajit Ghosh

Software Developer | Contact

Indrajit Ghosh is a Software Engineer leading the developing of the LEARN DB image database, which catalogues images and other artefacts generated during the clinical trials conducted by Image X along with several leading clinical and research partners. The database allows utilising existing data by AI algorithms for researching better outcomes for cancer treatment.

Indrajit has more than 20 years of experience developing software for medical devices and healthcare IT products and currently works with researchers to translate cutting edge research into well engineered software. In his spare time, Indrajit likes to read and take long walks to explore the urban surroundings and beautiful beaches in Sydney.

 

Jonathan Hindmarsh

Clinical Medical Physicist | Contact

Jonathan Hindmarsh is a qualified Medical Physics Specialist whose role is to assist the researchers of the institute in the clinical aspects of their work. He is also a part time PhD student at the institute investigating the implementation of real time treatment techniques.

Jonathan has worked as a Medical Physics Specialist in NSW, Australia and Alberta, Canada since getting his qualification in 2013 and his research interests include the development and improvement of treatment techniques, commissioning methods, and quality assurance processes. Outside of work Jonathan enjoys road and mountain biking, skiing, canyoning and rock climbing as well as the odd tabletop and computer game.

 

Julia Johnson

Design & Communications Officer | Contact

Julia has a unique hybrid role as the only Design & Communications Officer in the university. Julia provides a full suite of design services for the institute including design and fabrication of class 1 medical device prototypes, as well as graphics, branding, scientific figures, and content creation. In addition to this, Julia is passionate about communicating the work of the institute to the public. She manages the website and social media channels, and is working to strengthen the institute’s engagement with the wider community. Outside of work, she enjoys playing music, and in her spare time performs regularly with her banjo and guitar.

 

Natalie Plant

Clinical Trials Co-ordinator | Contact

Natalie Plant is a clinical trial coordinator supporting the translation of Image-X’s technologies into the clinical setting. Natalie has extensive experience in coordinating the development, implementation, data management and regulatory aspects of clinical trials in the field of radiation oncology. Natalie spends a lot of her spare time bushwalking and swimming.

 

Shona Silvester

Clinical Trials Co-ordinator  | Contact

Shona Silvester is responsible for providing support for the clinical trials program at the Image X Institute, with a role spanning development, site start up, data management and trial coordination.  She has extensive experience in clinical trials research, having previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry as well as an academic research organisation. In her spare time Shona volunteers with the NSW SES and enjoys playing tennis with her friends.