#ImagingTheFuture Week: Enabling breakthroughs in biomedical science and technology

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s (CZI) Imaging the Future Week puts a spotlight on the importance of imaging science in biomedicine, and the value of the global imaging community in translating health research.

Imaging is unlocking solutions to the world’s biggest challenges across commercial, clinical and research fields and has helped innovate in bioengineering, biology, medical technology and science, pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical therapies.

National Imaging Facility (NIF) supports the Imaging the Future Week initiative, and the 2023 event is focused on highlighting advances in technology and the impact this has on our understanding of health and disease.

As we continue to meet the evolving needs of modern research, NIF is accelerating new technology, enabling experts to develop protocols, tools, imaging data, and the application of imaging to solve complex problems – scroll on to find out more.


Better evidence for decision-making in health

Advanced imaging methods and analysis provide critical evidence for decision-making across all aspects of health and clinical science to keep Australia healthy.

 

Australia’s largest investment in molecular imaging
Australia’s first open access research Total Body Positron Emission Tomography scanner is NIF’s largest investment to date, and it will deliver a transformative understanding of complex health problems. Next-generation molecular imaging and radiopharmaceuticals are revolutionising how we see biological processes, paving the way for better diagnosis and treatment of chronic, systemic adult and childhood diseases. The instrument will produce high quality data at lower doses of radiation. It can be used to capture information from all body organs simultaneously to build a better picture of complex processes such as ageing, metabolism, brain signalling, behaviour, cognition and drug interactions.

Multidisciplinary collaboration to improve epilepsy outcomes
MRI imaging technology, AI, machine learning and data analysis are helping improve the lives of 150,000 Australians with epilepsy. The Australian Epilepsy Project will combine neuroimaging with cognitive and genetic data, and integrate them using AI, to develop predictive tools that will guide diagnosis and highlight opportunities for precision treatment. Expertise from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Austin Health drives the project, aiming to reduce seizure frequency and the risk of injury or death.


Better health for the young and older Australians

Imaging studies that look at conditions in younger and older Australians are essential for understanding and promoting healthy development and ageing.

 

Understanding the development of cerebral palsy
NIF is contributing to valuable data assets, including the first collection to show the way that muscles grow in children with cerebral palsy. The MUGgLE Study is the first longitudinal study comparing muscle growth in the development of children with cerebral palsy and typically developing children. The study is a partnership between Neuroscience Research Australia, the University of NSW and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute. Imaging is being used to study muscle tightening and shortening as it happens, with high-resolution measurements of the architecture of whole muscles, giving researchers detailed, anatomically accurate, three-dimensional reconstructions to understand disordered muscle growth. The project has included the development of imaging methods and algorithms to be able to study this, adapting the acquisition protocols as well as the imaging analysis techniques to accommodate measurement of the specific features of muscles.

Brain-computer interface restoring independence after paralysis
An implant the size of a paperclip is allowing people who are paralysed to operate technological devices using their thoughts without open brain surgery. NIF expertise and the 7T MRI at the University of Melbourne enabled early developments of the device which can translate brain signals from the inside of a blood vessel into commands on a computer.

The Synchron Stentrode is a world first brain-computer interface designed to restore functional independence in patients with paralysing conditions like ALS. The device was named one of TIME Magazine’s best inventions of 2021, and is currently undergoing expanded human clinical trials in preparation for submission to the FDA.


Equitable regional and rural health

Crucial to societal equity and research quality, delivering a geographically distributed network of advanced imaging to support research and personalised medicine, and taking part in medical trials, is a major national challenge.

 

Bringing health equity to regional and rural Australia
NIF is deploying four low-field portable MRI scanners to remote and regional sites to help researchers apply this affordable imaging technology in rural areas. The national mobile magnetic resonance (MR) network will be the first project of its kind world-wide and is a collaboration with partners including Monash University, University of Queensland, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the Alfred Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital, University of Western Australia and MedTech company, Hyperfine. These portable scanners will be used to understand how this fast-developing technology can help diagnose stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions after testing in research laboratories at NIF nodes to build the usability of low-field MR, including developing techniques to maximise data quality and improve image processing.

Imaging mobilises ground-breaking field ventilator for deployment in the COVID-19 crisis
NIF provided critical support in preclinical testing to mobilise the now commercialised ventilator, 4DMedical ‘XV technology’ at the LARIF multipurpose fluoroscopy laboratory. A team of Australian collaborators, including biomedical company 4DMedical and University of Adelaide scientists created the ground-breaking, simple to use ‘field ventilator’ that can be locally produced at a low cost from easily acquired parts. It was developed in response to the global COVID-19 crisis, which identified potential shortages in essential medical equipment.

NIF collaborators and users funded and recognised among top researchers

NIF is enabling research that has attracted national recognition and funding, with collaborators listed among last year’s top medical researchers in The Australian, and as recipients of competitive Federal Government support. 

Top researchers in health and medical sciences 

In case you missed it, NIF collaborators have been listed in The Australian among the top researchers in 2022, covering expertise in areas including neurodegenerative disease, neuropsychiatry, theranostics and nuclear medicine. 

The list features researchers in 250 fields of academic endeavour, spanning the sciences, the social sciences through to the humanities and the arts. It aims to shine a light on what they do and the benefits they bring to the country. 

The weight of a researcher’s contribution was judged through citations from other researchers in their publications. 

NIF collaborators and users included: 

  • University of Melbourne Professor Christopher Rowe, for research in gerontology and geriatric medicine, covering dementia research, patient care and leadership in molecular imaging research at Austin Health and at the Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health
  • University of NSW Professor Perminder Sachdev, recognised for work in neurology, with a focus on conditions such as drug-induced movement disorders, Tourette syndrome, secondary psychosis, healthy brain ageing and dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, and research into new interventions such as brain stimulation for neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Professor Louise Emmett, a keynote speaker at National Imaging Facility (NIF) Scientific Symposium, listed for work in nuclear medicine, radiotherapy and molecular imaging at the University of NSW and St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

Australian Research Council support for Centre of Excellence 

Professor Michelle Watt from the University of Melbourne is part of a collaboration that has secured $35 million in funding as part of a new Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Plants for Space. 

The centre aims to create on-demand, zero-waste, high-efficiency plants for better sustainability for space habitation, with the team covering aspects such as process and systems engineering, law, policy and psychology. 

It will make use of imaging equipment at the University of Melbourne Brain Imaging Centre Unit, where NIF support and work from NIF Node Director Professor Leigh Johnston and NIF Fellow Dr Edward Green have contributed to a Functional Plant Imaging Capability, in collaboration with Professor Watt. 

Professor Watt combines imaging and sensor technologies with modelling to understand how roots function in increasingly dynamic climates – and how to increase productivity and decrease environmental impacts. 

Message from the CEO: 2022 year in review

Dear National Imaging Facility partners, users and stakeholders,

Over the past year, the impact of National Imaging Facility, Australia’s advanced imaging network, has been remarkable.

NIF underpins over 1,000 research, clinical and industry chief investigators from over 140 organisations to unlock solutions to research challenges across more than 1,300 projects. We are currently supporting 120 trials in a range of cancer types, and more than 100 studies on diagnosis and therapy for neurological conditions such as dementia, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

We have continued to partner with clinicians, industry and researchers, to design and test future medical products including new pharmaceuticals. We have helped researchers develop innovative future nanomedicines to treat brain cancer, investigate a possible therapeutic to prevent a common cardiac condition affecting children, supported industry studies to develop treatments that allow doctors to better see the cancer that they treat, and revealed insights that could enable better cancer therapy for children with Down Syndrome. We have contributed to valuable data assets, including the first collection to show the way that muscles grow in children with cerebral palsy.  

In 2022, we deployed our first of two plant imaging facilities which will help Australia improve agricultural resilience by investigating how plants respond to new environmental conditions such as temperature and salinity. NIF has also supported some less common, but equally important environment challenges, such as the treatment of an endangered orangutan called Puspa.

A particular highlight of 2022 has been the commencement of the national-scale Point-of-Care Magnetic Resonance project, including the delivery of four portable scanners. The project is a partnership between NIF, partner hospitals and US medical device manufacturer, Hyperfine. It will support health equity by investigating how to make MRI accessible to remote and disadvantaged communities and to make imaging easier to deploy in complicated clinical environments, such as COVID wards.

In May, we published Because Seeing Changes Everything, our strategic plan outlining NIF’s contributions to Australian wellbeing and our future priorities. This document illustrates the way NIF addresses the challenges identified in the Australian Government’s National Research Infrastructure Roadmap 2021. In 2023 we will continue to respond to the Commonwealth Government’s investment planning process and we are well prepared to deliver to national challenges, help accelerate system-wide enhancements and work with our NCRIS colleagues to deliver step change.

It was a privilege to host experts from across Australia whose work is at the leading edge of imaging globally at our inaugural Scientific Symposium in August.

In September, NIF joined Bioplatforms Australia, Phenomics Australia, Population Health Research Network and Therapeutic Innovation Australia, to form the NCRIS Health Group, enabling researchers to seamlessly access collaborative health research expertise, instruments and infrastructure.

The next twelve months will be an exciting time for NIF as we begin transitioning to a new structure that has been developed with our Partners. Our activities will be organised into national translational networks, a structure to foster and accelerate translation across the research, health, innovation and industry sectors.

Thank you to the NIF Central Office team for your operational support and contributions to NIF’s successes this year, and welcome to NIF’s new Chief Operating Officer, Dr Sarah Flaim, who joined us at the end of November.

I’d also like to thank the NIF Board and its Chair, Prof Margaret Harding, Partner Advisory Committee, Scientific Advisory Committee and Fellows for your expertise and impactful work to maintain Australia’s world-leading role in applying advanced imaging technology.

Lastly, thank you to our community of Partners who deliver the NIF program, our users who lead impactful projects, and our engaged research human imaging subjects and patient volunteers who make such a valuable contribution to research.  

The NIF Central Office will shut down from 24 December to 2 January and I’d like to extend my best wishes for an enjoyable and safe holiday break. I look forward to working with you all in the new year.

Best wishes

Prof Wojtek James Goscinski, CEO, and the NIF team,
National Imaging Facility

Communities in regional Australia to benefit from world’s first mobile magnetic resonance imaging network

National Imaging Facility (NIF) is deploying four low-field portable MRI scanners to remote and regional sites to help researchers apply this affordable imaging technology in rural areas.

Australians living in regional and rural areas unduly suffer lower life expectancy and a higher burden of diseases because of poorer access to health services, including reduced screening, late detection and barriers to treatment compared with people living in metropolitan areas.

The national mobile magnetic resonance (MR) network will be the first project of its kind world-wide and is a collaboration with partners including Monash University, University of Queensland, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the Alfred Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital, University of Western Australia and MedTech company, Hyperfine.

The Hyperfine Swoop is the world’s first highly portable MR imaging system capable of providing neuroimaging at the point-of-care, designed to fit inside elevators and through doorways to be manoeuvred directly to a patient’s bedside, and plug into a standard electrical outlet.

These portable scanners will be used to understand how this fast-developing technology can help diagnose stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions after testing in research laboratories at NIF nodes in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

The scanners will enable real time tele-reporting and either remote operation or point-of-care use with low training requirements.

NIF is uniquely positioned to support work to build the usability of low-field MR technology, including developing techniques to maximise data quality.

Researchers at these sites will scan subjects on low-field mobile MR and high-field 3T MRI instruments to build a unique database that can be used to bridge the gap in outputs.

This valuable data will be made available by NIF to researchers to develop techniques to improve image processing and better understand how low-field scans can be interpreted.

Head of the Imaging Analysis Team at Monash Biomedical Imaging and Project lead Chief Investigator, Dr Zhaolin Chen said the collaborative work across NIF Nodes was critical to the success of the project.

“This nationwide network is critically important to identify a viable pathway for point-of-care MRI technology to be used in Australia,” Dr Chen said.

“Multi-site data acquisition is already underway and AI-based solutions to expand utility in regional Australia are in development.

“The network enables our project team to share knowledge, cross-validate findings, optimise resources and plan the next steps, which ultimately provides a route from research into clinics,” Dr Chen said.

NIF Chief Executive Officer, Prof Wojtek Goscinski said there were additional long-term advantages to deploying the national mobile MR network to regional Australia.

“NIF is focused on keeping Australia at the forefront of imaging, and the national mobile MR network is an innovative application of new technology to improve accessibility,” Prof Goscinski said.

“We hope these data collections and the AI models researchers build using them will lead to better technology that will improve treatment and diagnosis for Australians.

“This work will provide the foundation for the development and application of AI in clinical practice for low-field MR scanners, with experts optimising image quality for clinical data usability with reduced noise and improved resolution.

“The national mobile MR network and NIF’s increased national human imaging reach will enable innovative health research in remote populations, improve low-field MR technology, and over the long run will help increase access to better healthcare, professional training and socio-economic equity,” Prof Goscinski said.

Australian cancer patients to benefit from state-of-the-art ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute

A new world-class radiochemistry lab will open at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) to enable access to innovative cancer therapies for Australians. 

 

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) has awarded a $2.1M grant to the ONJCRI to establish the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine, supporting the supply of radiopharmaceuticals for theranostic trials. 

 

The ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will complement infrastructure and expertise at the National Imaging Facility (NIF) La Trobe-ONJCRI Node based at the Austin Hospital, allowing preclinical and clinical molecular probe development studies to be performed in the new radiochemistry lab facility. 

 

It is also aligned with the NIF PET radiochemistry upgrade at the Austin Hospital through the University of Melbourne Node. 

The NIF University of Melbourne radiochemistry facility is focused on short half-life PET probe synthesis, and long-lived PET isotope production. The new ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine radiochemistry lab will enable the conversion of these isotopes into long-lived PET probes.  

 

Nuclear theranostics produced at the new facility will enable simultaneous imaging and therapy, allowing researchers and clinicians to see where targeted medicines go in the body in real time, identify drugs most likely to succeed and select patients who will benefit. 

 

Chief Investigator and La Trobe-ONJCRI NIF Node Director Prof Andrew Scott AM, said the ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will establish a unique and exciting capability for discovery translation. 

 

“Precision medicine has been described as the future for cancer treatment, whereby identifying key targets in a patient’s cancer and individualising treatments based on appropriate treatment selection can result in improved outcomes,” Prof Scott said. 

 

“The ACRF Centre for Precision Medicine will provide a key technology for theranostics for multi-centre clinical trials across Australia. 

 

“This will link outstanding researchers in cancer biology, drug development, radiochemistry and molecular imaging of cancer, leading to novel therapeutic approaches and clinical trials.” 

 

ONJCRI projects ACRF’s $2.1M investment has the potential to result in a return of $8.19M with $5.49M in health gains and $2.7M in wider economic gains.

 

The grant leverages $2.51M NIF investment in radiochemistry and molecular imaging infrastructure at the La Trobe-ONJCRI and the University of Melbourne in collaboration with the Austin Hospital.  

 

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation has also committed $300,000, over three years, for technical project personnel to drive new theranostic ovarian cancer treatments. 

ISMRM and ISMRT ANZ Chapters’ Annual Meetings shine a light on national imaging expertise and infrastructure

[Image: Presentation award winners at ISMRM ANZ, Honours student, Arunan Srirengan, Dr Ed Green, Dr Gwen Schroyen and Dr Myrte Strik. Photo credit: Dr Adam Clemente]

The Australian and New Zealand Chapters of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) and the International Society for Magnetic Resonance Radiographers and Technologists (ISMRT) held their Annual Meetings in Sydney last month, highlighting the work of leading national researchers and clinicians, including members of the NIF network.

NIF enables coordinated open access to magnetic resonance expertise and infrastructure to support leading national researchers and clinicians, and proudly supported the events.

ISMRM ANZ Joint Chapter Annual Meeting 9-10 Nov

ISMRM ANZ hosted sessions on revolutionising MRI technology, advances in neuroimaging, and clinical applications of advanced MRI, in addition to keynote speakers neurologist and leader in stroke medicine, Prof Mark Parsons and Director of the Institute of Medical Physics at the University of Sydney, Prof Annette Haworth.

Dr Zhaolin Chen was a key speaker in the Revolutionising MRI technology session, presenting the NIF Point-of-Care project, a collaboration between NIF, Australian hospitals, and US medical device manufacturer, Hyperfine, to build the usability of low-field MRI and bring critical imaging to remote Australia and deploy imaging in challenging clinical environments such as COVID wards.

[Image: Dr Zhaolin Chen presenting the NIF Point-of-Care Magnetic Resonance project at ISMRM ANZ]

A number of other NIF users spoke at ISMRM ANZ, including:

  • Rebecca Glarin from the University of Melbourne, presenting findings from her PhD on ‘Optimising functional brainstem imaging of sympathetic drive with ultra-high field MRI’.
  • Dr Shahrzad Moinian from the University of Queensland Centre for Advanced Imaging, presenting ‘In vivo microstructural border delineation between areas of the human cerebral cortex using magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF) residuals’.
  • Honours student Arunan Srirengan presenting ‘Early identification of cerebral small vessel disease in obstructive sleep apnoea patients using magnetic resonance spectroscopy: a pilot study’, featuring data obtained on the NIF 3T MRI at NeuRA. This session was awarded second prize in the oral presentation awards.
  • Dr Myrte Strik from the University of Melbourne, presenting ‘Altered network topology in patients with visual snow syndrome: a resting-state 7 Tesla MRI study’, winning the award for best Early Career Researcher Data Blitz presentation.

[Image: Dr Shahrzad Moinian from the University of Queensland Centre for Advanced Imaging. Photo credit: Dr Adam Clemente]

Congratulations to University of Melbourne NIF Fellow, Prof Brad Moffatt as ANZ ISMRM Chapter President on the success of the 2022 meeting hosted at UNSW.

ISMRT ANZ Joint Chapter Annual Meeting 12-13 Nov

The ISMRT ANZ 2022 joint meeting program theme was MRI: Past, Present and Future, and featured a range of internationally renowned speakers demonstrating future technologies and cutting-edge imaging techniques.

Keynote presenters included Medical physicist and human brain imaging academic researcher Dr Samantha Holdsworth, Chief of the Quantitative Medical Imaging Laboratory, USA National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, Dr Carlo Pierpaoli, and founding member of the Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and Principal Investigator for the Cardiac Atlas Project, Prof Alistair Young.

NIF Senior Manager and Senior Research Scientist – National Magnetic Resonance Capability, Dr Shawna Farquharson was a key speaker at the Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) Forum, presenting on ‘DWI: Principles and practical applications’.

[Image: Dr Shawna Farquharson, National Imaging Facility]

NIF users showcased at ISMRT ANZ included:

  • Prof Lynne Bilston from NeuRA, presenting ‘Brain Elastography’.
  • Sarah Daniel from the University of Queensland Centre for Advanced Imaging, presenting ‘Image quality enhancement using deep learning for in vivo human kidney MRI’.

[Image: Ms Sarah Daniel from the University of Queensland Centre for Advanced Imaging]

Congratulations to all presenters at ISMRM and ISMRT ANZ.

Brain insights through imaging to aid epilepsy and dementia diagnosis

Researchers will have new insight into what is happening in the brain, with NIF and The Florey co-investing in a $2.5 million MRI machine newly installed in Melbourne. 

The new Siemens Magnetom Vida 3T MRI scanner will enable high-quality personalised exams for clinical research, including as a tool for diagnosing epilepsy, dementia and mental health conditions.  

NIF Florey Node Co-Director Associate Professor Heath Pardoe said the machine was part of a collaboration also involving Siemens and Austin Health. 

“This installation future-proofs our MRI needs,” Associate Professor Pardoe said. 

“MRI technology is vital in giving Florey researchers the knowledge they need for solving brain and mind problems with world-leading neurological research, right here in Melbourne.” 

The new scanner has a number of technological improvements over the decommissioned machine it replaces, including improved ability to image white matter pathways – part of the brain architecture that connects neurons in grey matter for organising human behaviour. 

With its larger size, the scanner also provides improved patient accessibility and comfort. 

It is a vital component of new MRI-guided ultrasound technology to be installed at The Florey next year, enabling a non-invasive procedure using targeted heating of deep brain structures for treating essential tremor and tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease – without the need for surgery. 

NIF CEO Professor Wojtek Goscinski said the investment would enable better integration between basic science, applied science and clinical research.  

It aligned with the Federal Government’s 2021 Research Infrastructure Roadmap, which recognises the need to transform scientific discovery into medical products, he said.  

“We underpin the nation’s ability to translate research with expertise and equipment such as this, providing better clinical decision-making and better health for all Australians. 

“Focused ultrasound is among the fast-moving technologies that is increasingly critical to Australian health and wellbeing because it is so flexible and can offer minimally-invasive alternatives to surgery. 

“There are more than 150 disorders being investigated, new treatments being developed, or being applied using focused ultrasound – for tumours, trauma, pain, brain degeneration and movement disorders.” 

Victorian imaging network meets to map out innovative future

[Pictured: VBIC Annual Network Meeting guest speakers Prof Lindy Fitzgerald and Prof Amy Brodtmann] 

Innovation, industry partnerships and commercialisation will be among the topics discussed at a meeting bringing together NIF’s capabilities from around Victoria on November 24. 

The annual Victorian Biomedical Imaging Capability (VBIC) network meeting will attract researchers, clinicians and industry partners to Monash Biomedical Imaging in Melbourne. 

Participants will represent NIF nodes at the University of Melbourne, Monash, Swinburne, the Florey, Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute and La Trobe University. 

Neurologist Prof Amy Brodtmann will draw on her interests in imaging, stroke and dementia to present research findings from the Cognitive Health Initiative at Monash and Alfred Health  

Guest speaker Prof Melinda Fitzgerald from Curtin University and the Perron Institute will present on a national initiative she heads as CEO, called Connectivity, the Mission for Traumatic Brain Injury.  The initiative includes use of MRI and clinical biomarkers in a national trial to improve the diagnosis and prognosis of traumatic brain injury. 

Sessions at the meeting will also cover the work of imaging experts in research programs employing ultra-high field MRI, CT and PET; as well as presentations from experts in industry partnering and commercialisation. 

NIF Chief Executive Officer Prof Wojtek Goscinski said the meeting would provide a platform for early career researchers and emerging leaders, a showcase for new-generation imaging, and opportunities for important in-person networking. 

It would also enable discussion on the NIF Imaging Roadmap, including supporting innovation and ensuring Australia’s international comparative advantage, Prof Goscinski said. 

The roadmap will add to the substantial impact and jobs that VBIC and NIF have already delivered, with a recent report estimating more than $350 million in economic activity for Victoria. 

VBIC nodes have grown to employ more than 150 FTE imaging staff, and partner with more than 90 organisations, including Austin Health, CSIRO, Melbourne Health, Mental Health Research Institute and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. 

Capital investments have reached $37 million, providing access to human and preclinical MRI and PET-CT, preclinical DEXA scanners and confocal endomicroscopy, as well as magnetoencephalography and nuclear scintigraphy. 

A massive $235 million in major grants has been secured, enabling new research projects in cancer, infection and inflammation, brain function, epilepsy, dementia and even long-term aspirin use. 

Click here for more information about the VBIC network meeting and full programme.

Announcing: Brainhack Global returns to Australia next month

Brainhack Global Australasia’s collaborative hackathon has been announced for 2022, supported by National Imaging Facility (NIF) and the Australian Research Data Commons–funded Australian Characterisation Commons at Scale (ACCS).

The Australian branch of the inclusive event will be hosted in-person for the first time at the University of Sydney from 30 Nov – 2 Dec, inviting attendance from students, post-graduates and faculty members to develop tools and collaborate on world-wide projects as part of the global hackathon.

The purpose of Brainhack is to bridge the data science and neuroscience research communities to advance the progress of brain and nervous system research, and to collaboratively build tools that foster open and reproducible practices.

Researchers from a range of disciplines and geographic locations will work together on community led projects that foster collaboration and innovation, as well as connecting the Australian neuroscientific community to international projects.

A number of successful projects have been borne out of past Australian Brainhack meetings, including Neurodesk, a flexible, scalable and browser-based data analysis environment for reproducible neuroimaging.

For more information and to register for Brainhack Australasia click here.

NIF to demonstrate impact of coordinated data and AI at RANZCR ASM 2022

National Imaging Facility (NIF) will host a session at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) 72nd Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) this month.

The NIF Showcase will highlight critical expertise and human imaging projects from across Australia’s advanced imaging network, including regional MRI and life-changing imaging for Australians living with epilepsy.


Point-of-care imaging leveraging AI to grow healthcare equity in regional Australia

Head of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology research at Alfred Hospital, Prof Meng Law will present on new technology for point-of-care imaging and regional MRI. Prof Law is an expert on neuroimaging and AI, and his presentation will focus on federated deep learning for signal-to-noise ratio imaging and motion correction, using NIF’s low-field magnetic resonance network.

NIF is deploying four low-field MRI scanners to remote and regional sites to help researchers apply this affordable imaging technology in rural areas. These scanners will be used to understand how this fast-developing technology can be used to diagnose stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions after testing in research laboratories at NIF nodes.


Imaging networks and datasets to support life-changing platform for more than 150,000 Australians living with epilepsy

Clinical Director of The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Prof Graeme Jackson will present on the Australian Epilepsy Project (AEP), reducing diagnosis uncertainty and fast-tracking optimal treatment by combining advanced imaging, genetics, cognition, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Prof Jackson is the Chief Investigator on the AEP Platform, which will drive major advances in decision support tools for epilepsy, and NIF’s national human MR network is set to enable scanning across Australia.

The data collected by the AEP will provide a rich resource for addressing many other traditional science and mechanistic questions in epilepsy to progress epilepsy research worldwide.


NIF CEO Prof Wojtek Goscinski said the invitation to showcase NIF at the RANZCR ASM was an opportunity to highlight the transformation of imaging through AI and big data, and to underline the unique capabilities that NIF provides.

“We’re privileged to have world-class speakers Prof Meng Law and Prof Graeme Jackson presenting on two projects that are supported by data collections and the AI models around them, which will lead to better treatment and diagnosis for Australians,” Prof Goscinski said.

The impact of imaging in radiology is only increasing, with experts now able to extract quantifiable information from ever larger data collections by applying machine learning methods such as deep learning and convolutional neural networks.

Big data and AI have a transformative effect on radiology, enhancing patient outcomes by distinguishing irregularities and patterns in data collections, and enabling diagnosis with speed and accuracy.

“NIF is focused on keeping Australia at the forefront of imaging technology and imaging data analytics, and is exploring a range of activities to increase uptake of machine learning in imaging, including data infrastructure and imaging quality,” he said.

The NIF Showcase session will also see a panel of experts discuss opportunities for collaboration between NIF and RANZCR for the benefit of medical research.

View the NIF Showcase agenda below:

RANZCR ASM NIF Showcase: Friday 28 October, 08:30-10:00

TIMETOPICSPEAKER
8:30IntroductionA/Prof Sanjay Jeganathan
RANZCR President
8:35Introduction to National Imaging FacilityProf Wojtek Goscinski
NIF Chief Executive Officer
8:45Point of Care Imaging and Regional MRI 
NIF Low Field MR Network
Federated Deep Learning for SNR, Motion Correction
Prof Meng Law
Professor and Director of Radiology, Alfred Health
Director of iBRAIN
Monash University
9:05The Australian Epilepsy Project
MR guided focused ultrasound
Prof Graeme Jackson
Chief Investigator, Australian Epilepsy Project
Clinical Director, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
9:25Panel discussion
RANZCR and NIF: Opportunities for collaboration for the benefit of Australian healthcare
Chair: Prof Paul Parizel
NIF UWA Node Director
Chair, UWA Medical School
David Hartley Chair in Radiology, UWA Medical School

Prof Wojtek Goscinski

Prof Meng Law

Prof Graeme Jackson

A/Prof Christen Barras
Radiologist
Co-Convenor RANZCR ASM 2022

Dr Lauren Oakden Rayner
Director, Research
Royal Adelaide Hospital Medical Imaging

The RANZCR ASM will take place at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 27–30 October 2022.

Under the theme of Reflect, Revive, Reimagine, the 72nd RANZCR ASM will be the largest meeting to date, with an innovative scientific program of over 250 presentations across 70+ sessions.

The four-day conference has lined up leading international and local radiologists to share best practices and highlight emerging medical advancements.

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