Inaugural NIF Scientific Symposium kicks off #NationalScienceWeek

Leading researchers, clinicians and industry attended the inaugural National Imaging Facility (NIF) Scientific Symposium on 12 August.

The event kicked off National Science Week for NIF, highlighting the critical role of collaboration in translating research challenges to benefit industry and keep Australians healthy, with the theme ‘National partnerships for innovation and impact’.

NIF CEO Prof Wojtek Goscinski said the Symposium was an excellent opportunity to highlight ground-breaking work from Australia’s world-class imaging community.

“It was a privilege to host experts from across Australia, including keynote speakers Prof Graeme Jackson, Prof Louise Emmet and Prof Gemma Figtree, whose work is at the leading edge of imaging globally,” Prof Goscinski said.

“I’d also like to extend my thanks to the presenters who delivered an excellent Technology Showcase session, and Health and Medical Translational Challenges session.

“A particular highlight was hearing from our industry partners, including Telix Pharmaceuticals, Clarity Pharmaceuticals, Cochlear and Nyrada, who discussed the way they engage with national imaging research infrastructure.

“NIF is privileged to have a strong network of world-leading expertise at our fingertips and it was an honour to bring some of these people together to present their work and share ideas at the 2022 Symposium,” he said.

Keynote presentations of the Symposium included:

  • ‘The Australian Epilepsy Project’, Prof Graeme Jackson
  • From mouse to Medicare: the PSMA story in Australia’, Prof Louise Emmett
  • Coronary artery imaging to inform the next Frontier of heart attack prevention’, Prof Gemma Figtree

The Technology Showcase session highlighted NIF’s latest capabilities, including tools for processing and interpreting data, and applications of imaging to solve complex problems, including:

  • ‘Ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging’, Prof Leigh Johnston and Prof Markus Barth
  • ‘Bringing imaging to rural Australia with a national network of low field mobile MR scanners’, Dr Zhaolin Chen
  • ‘Australian Imaging Service: The national platform for trusted data management and analysis’, Dr Ryan Sullivan
  • ‘Magnetic Particle Imaging’, Dr Andre Bongers
  • An insight into MicroCT imaging: recent advances, applications and impact on research and innovation’, Ms Diana Patalwala
  • Preclinical Research: The Crucial Step in Medical Advancements’, Dr Chris Christou

The Health and Medical Translation Challenges session provided an opportunity for attendees to hear from clinicians and researchers about their journey to making translational impact, including:

  • Neuroimaging in clinical trials: Perspectives of a clinician-researcher’, A/Prof Sylvia Gustin
  • The Australasian Radiopharmaceutical Trials network (ARTnet)’, A/Prof Ros Francis

The Industry Discussion Panel opened up conversation on how imaging accelerates and underpins innovation and future opportunities, with speakers:

  • Dr David Cade, Chief Executive Officer, Telix Pharmaceuticals Asia Pacific
  • Dr Matt Harris, Chief Scientific Officer, Clarity Pharmaceuticals
  • Dr Zachary Smith, Director, Algorithms and Applications, Cochlear
  • Dr Jasneet Parmar, Neuroscience Researcher, Nyrada Inc

You’re invited: National Imaging Facility Scientific Symposium 2022

Join us to hear from Australian researchers, industry and health partners, sharing advances in imaging technology and discussing the role imaging plays in enabling discovery – leading to better products and better health.

National partnerships for innovation and impact is the theme of National Imaging Facility’s annual symposium at UNSW in Sydney on August 12 – and accessible online for virtual attendance.

Our symposium theme reflects NIF’s goal of developing and promoting partnerships that deliver a coordinated imaging network for Australian users.

Click here to register.

Parking
Information regarding casual visitor parking (incl. rates) can be found here: Parking | Estate Management | UNSW Sydney. Drivers can register and pay for casual parking with the CellOPark App.

Scientific Symposium programme | Sydney | Friday 12 August 2022

Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm, Friday 12 August 2022
Location: UNSW Sydney, Ainsworth Building G03
Planning Committee: Alex Burton,  Bec Dickson, Dr Shawna Farquharson, Prof Wojtek Goscinski, Prof Paul Parizel, Dr Carl Power, Dr Karine Mardon, Prof Lindy Rae, Saba Salehi, Prof Andrew Scott AM, and Prof David Wright.

NIF grows to facilitate enhanced accessibility and promote impact of world-class imaging capabilities

We’re proud to welcome three new team members to enhance the accessibility of NIF’s network of state-of-the-art imaging capabilities, and highlight the impact of researchers, health professionals and industry utilising imaging to unlock solutions to major challenges.

Two Senior Managers have been appointed to lead the implementation of a national coordination strategy, including enhanced accessibility, across Australia’s advanced imaging network.

The enhanced accessibility will enable increased engagement with multi-site, large scale projects which will translate to collaborative improved outcomes for major health challenges such as brain injuries, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological disorders including epilepsy and dementia.

In addition to this, a new Senior Science Communicator has been appointed in partnership with Therapeutic Innovation Australia (TIA), to highlight the nationally significant and impactful research, enabled by TIA and NIF as part of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).


Senior Manager and Senior Research Scientist – National Magnetic Resonance Capability

Dr Shawna Farquharson has been appointed to the role of Senior Manager and Senior Research Scientist, National Magnetic Resonance Capability, and brings over 25 years of experience in MRI to the role, with a focus on translation of advanced MRI techniques, from research to the clinic. 

Shawna will lead the project management of our national MRI capability, coordinating and harmonising Australia’s advanced imaging network and increasing engagement with multi-site studies and projects.


Senior Manager – National Data Capability

Peter Bugeia is an eResearch professional, and has been appointed as Senior Manager, National Data Capability. He brings significant experience providing research computing, research data storage and management solutions to Australian researchers.

Peter will be responsible for the refinement of and accessibility to critical NIF data, including large scale national image repositories.


Senior Science Communicator

Erik de Wit has been appointed as NIF’s Senior Science Communicator and has a background in journalism and corporate communications, with a focus on science, medical research and tertiary education.

Erik will be responsible for sharing stories of cutting-edge science, collaboration and translation which serve to highlight the benefit and impact of NIF’s capabilities.

iSRS 2025 to be hosted in Australia

The 2025 International Symposium on Radiopharmaceutical Sciences (iSRS) will be hosted in Australia.

The National Imaging Facility supported Australia’s bid to host the 26th bi-annual global event.

The announcement was made at the 2022 event last month in Nantes, France, where it was also revealed NIF UNSW Facility Fellow Dr Giancarlo Pascali will be the upcoming Chair.

Dr Pascali said the iSRS is the most important conference in the field of basic radiochemistry developments, often debuting significant radiopharmaceutical innovations which will be introduced to clinical practice in the coming years.

“The iSRS has always been focused on the scientific grounds of our discipline and featuring examples of clinical success. It covers all the areas of radiochemistry, from targetry to imaging, preclinical imaging, radiometals, and the 18F and 11C staples,” Dr Pascali said.

The event is known for its engagement with new generations of radiochemists, with lectures mainly delivered by PhD students and early career researchers.

“In the last few years, the SRS have established the “Think Tank” team, allowing young investigators to contribute directly to the Society and the iSRS events, and even contributed to the creation of philanthropic support through the ‘Hot Atom Fund’,” he said.

“Therefore, if you are an imaging scientist interested in being among the first to witness the most promising radiopharmaceutical discoveries, or to network with the top experts and companies in the field, or simply looking to add an expert post-Doc in your lab, it is not a bad idea to join the 600+ attendees of the iSRS series!”

Dr Pascali has been a member of the event’s host institution, the Society of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences (SRS), for nearly two decades, since his first iSRS (at the time known as ISRC) attendance in Sydney 2003 as an Italian PhD student.

“I have been a member of the SRS since then, actively participating with scientific contributions, and more recently being part of the Scientific committee for the eSRS in 2021 (virtual) and the coming event in Hawaii in 2023,” he said.

As Chair for the 2025 event, Dr Pascali will coordinate and drive the conference planning and delivery alongside Co-Chair Prof Michael Kassiou,the International Scientific Program Committee and the Local Arrangements Committee.

For more information about the Society of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences, visit srsweb.org.

Members of the NIF network recognised internationally as in-person conferences return

[Pictured: UNSW-NeuRA Facility Fellow, Dr Michael Green presented a study titled “Effect of Compressed SENSE on Freesurfer parcellation precision” which was a collaboration between NeuRA researchers, Philips Australia and New Zealand, and UNSW.]

In-person events have returned – and over the last few months, leading edge experts from the NIF network have attended, presented, and taken the opportunity to collaborate at conferences like ANZSNM and ISMRM.

We’re proud to acknowledge the members of the NIF network who have presented their globally significant work to the greater imaging communities.

We congratulate University of Sydney-ANSTO Node Co-Director, Prof Fernando Calamante as President of ISMRM on the success of the 2022 31st Annual Meeting hosted in London, UK in May.

We also recognise the incredible achievement of Dr Shawna Farquharson as recipient of the ISMRT 2022 Distinguished Service Award at the same event.

Back in Australia, NIF kicked off events with a Molecular imaging and Radiopharmaceuticals Capability Showcase at ANZSNM. We were honoured to invite world-class speakers from within our network, Prof Steven Meikle, A/Prof Roslyn Francis, Prof Gary Egan, Prof Kristofer Thurecht and Dr John Bennett to present during the NIF session.

We look forward to seeing more of our network at upcoming events – stay tuned for the NIF Scientific Symposium next month in Sydney. Save the date for Friday 12 August.


Here are some more highlights from the NIF network attending events so far this year:

Markus Barth

QLD Node Director

ISMRM

 

Why did you attend? Many reasons: present group results; moderator of sessions; member of study groups and initiatives

 

What was the highlight of the event for you? Catching up with fellow researchers

 

What would you say to someone considering attending next meeting? Best check the hybrid setup, i.e. what is available in person and what is available online

Michael Green

NeuRA Facility Fellow

ISMRM

Why did you attend? Primarily it was a great way to re-connect with colleagues and share ideas in an old-fashioned, non-Zoom type of way. I presented a study titled “Effect of Compressed SENSE on Freesurfer parcellation precision” which was a collaboration between NeuRA researchers, Philips Australia and New Zealand, and UNSW. The study assessed the reliability of an MRI acceleration techniques designed to speed up the time it takes to acquire images. We wanted to provide a guideline for MR researchers wanting to reduce scan time while acquiring high quality data.

 

What was the highlight of the event for you? The face-to-face aspect of a conference was a real highlight. It was a nice compliment and surprise to see Philips also present data from our study to a global audience as validation for their acceleration techniques employed on their MRI machines. I also received some interesting feedback regarding the study analysis which I may implement before publishing the manuscript.

 

What would you say to someone considering attending next meeting? Study the conference schedule well before attending then pick and choose which seminars you’d like to attend. Then talk to as many people as possible. In person!

Joseph Ioppolo

UWA Facility Fellow

ANZSNM

Why did you attend? This is a good meeting to attend to connect with the other radiochemists in Australia. Due to COVID I had not had a chance to do this in a long while. I was also very keen to see the Q-TRaCE labs at Royal Brisbane, as we have a good working relationship between them and us at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. I was able to let people know I had moved across to the NIF Node at UWA and was able to speak about our new lab and facilities being built now in Perth during my talk on the Saturday

What was the highlight of the event for you? While ANZSNM was a great chance to hear some great talks and connect with a lot of people, it was also exciting to tour the labs at Q-TRaCE and the Centre for Advanced Imaging at UQ, where we also had our national Cyclotron User Group meeting.

What would you say to someone considering attending next meeting? There are just not that many radiochemists in Australia, and the ANZSNM (along with the EPSM) is a great opportunity to see meet each other in person and see how the radiopharmaceuticals we make are being used to image and treat disease around the country.

 

Sjoerd Vos

UWA Facility Fellow

ISMRM

 

Why did you attend? I presented a project shared between my current role as NIF fellow and my previous job in London.

 

What was the highlight of the event for you? My highlight was discussing potential new collaborations within Australia and internationally.

 

What would you say to someone considering attending next meeting? I think this is also a key reason to go to these conferences – to help explore new collaborations to benefit our imaging centres and community.

Shenjun Zhong

Monash Informatics Fellow

ISMRM (Virtual)

Why did you attend? My abstract was accepted as an online power pitch presentation in the ISMRM 2022 conference. And I virtually co-chaired one of the gather.town sessions in the theme of imaging processing and analysis.

What was the highlight of the event for you? The main highlight was the talk provided by one of the famous AI researchers, Yann LeCun, and his topic was ‘Future AI research in medical imaging‘. The key take-home message is the shifting from supervised to self-supervised learning framework in general AI and medical imaging research.

Meet our new Fellows

Meet the newest members of Australia’s advanced imaging network.

Their expertise is vital in applying imaging technologies, processing and interpreting imaging data, and applying imaging to solve complex problems.

We’re proud to extend our welcome to, and introduce, the newest members of NIF’s Fellows network, joining our team of experts enabling Australian imaging science to unlock solutions to major challenges.

USyd/ANSTO Facility Fellow
SAHMRI Facility Fellow
Monash Facility Fellow
Macquarie Facility Fellow

World-first: Cancer Council supports Western Sydney Uni’s AI enhanced cancer research

[Pictured above: Dr Tim Stait-Gardner, Dr Trang Pham (UNSW/Liverpool Hospital), Professor Bill Price and Dr Abhishek Gupta]


Cancer Council NSW has awarded a grant for over $430K to Western Sydney University researchers and an expert multi-institutional team to investigate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy for people living with cancer.

The world-first study will support the MRI-Linac, a next-gen radiotherapy technology developed by the NSW-based Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, combining an MRI scanner and a radiotherapy linear accelerator (Linac) into one integrated system.

In typical radiotherapy treatment, still images of the patient and their cancerous tumour taken prior to treatment are used to help plan and guide the direction of the radiation beam, but this radiation process can also damage normal tissues that are subjected to the radiation beam during treatment.

The MRI-Linac combines the technology of a Linear Accelerator and an MRI scanner, which can display real-time images enabling the monitoring of movement in tumour locations caused by normal functions like breathing or swallowing during treatment. The MRI-Linac can pinpoint parts within the tumour that are most active and aggressive, so a higher dose of radiation can be delivered to those areas.

In this study, MRI will be used to characterise cancer heterogeneity (differences among tumours and cancer cells), which can lead to cancer recurrence.

The multi-institutional research team is led by NIF Node Director Prof Bill Price and includes NIF Facility Fellow, Dr Tim Stait-Gardner and Research Fellow, Dr Abhishek Gupta from Western Sydney University; Dr Trang Pham, A/Prof Lois Holloway and Prof Erik Meijering from UNSW, as well as Prof Daniel Moses from the Prince of Wales Hospital. The research team also includes members from the Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research, Auckland Bioengineering Institute and the University of Queensland.

The team will use ultra-high-strength MRI scanners to produce microscopic resolution images of tumour samples. These highly detailed images will allow them to characterise the biological differences between tumours.

The team will then use deep learning, a specialised form of AI, to transfer this knowledge into clinical MRI scanners to enhance the resolution of imagery in MRI-Linac.

Prof Price said the research will allow clinicians to better predict the effectiveness of treatment and enable personalised care, with half of all cancer patients requiring radiotherapy.

“Radiotherapy is an important part of treatment for many cancer patients, however, in current practice it offers little capacity for personalised care,” Prof Price said.

“We have identified an opportunity to further enhance treatment by considering biological characteristics of an individual’s tumour with the help of AI.”

Prof Price said the implementation of this new enhanced imaging technology along with the precision of the MRI-Linac has the potential to greatly improve treatment outcomes and patient survival rates.


The study, ‘Targeting cancer heterogeneity with ultrahigh field MRI and radiotherapy using deep learning’, will be a collaboration between Western Sydney University, UNSW, Liverpool Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, Ingham Institute, University of Queensland, and Auckland Bioengineering Institute.

For more information on this study, contact NIF Node Director, Prof Bill Price.

Read Western Sydney University’s media release here.

Announcement: New appointments to NIF Governance Board

The National Imaging Facility (NIF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Prof Karen Reynolds and Dr Chien Ho to the NIF Governance Board.

The independent Governance Board provides oversight and strategic guidance for all NIF activities and investments, supporting NIF’s mission to make unparalleled imaging capabilities accessible to Australian researchers.

Prof Reynolds is the Director of the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University in South Australia and brings expertise in effectively engaging with government, clinicians and industry.

Dr Ho is a consultant radiologist bringing expertise across the commercial, healthcare technology and clinical domains.

NIF Governance Board Chair, Prof Margaret Harding welcomed the newest members and congratulated them on their appointment.

“Prof Reynolds and Dr Ho bring a diverse range of skills and interests which will support the work of the Board and help to shape the future strategic direction for NIF,” Prof Harding said.

Prof Reynolds and Dr Ho will replace Prof Carolyn Mountford and Dr Thomas Barlow who have completed their three-year terms of appointment.

Prof Joe Shapter will also leave the Board as the representative of the University of Queensland with his retirement as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Infrastructure) on 30 June. He will be replaced by A/Prof Kevin Jack, who will act as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor while recruitment is undertaken.

Prof Harding warmly acknowledged the contributions of Prof Mountford, Dr Barlow and Prof Shapter.

“All three departing members have brought a diversity of views and insights to Board discussions, and I offer my thanks to Carolyn, Thomas and Joe for their contributions as foundational members of NIF’s independent Governance Board,” Prof Harding said.

“Their expertise, time and support have been invaluable to NIF, particularly throughout the development of its new strategy, the coordination of its governance restructure, and strategic direction.”

“The advice and guidance of our outgoing members has positioned NIF for success in years to come,” she said.

Read more about NIF’s independent Governance Board here.

Our new Governance Board Members

Professor Karen Reynolds

Professor Karen Reynolds is Director of the Medical Device Research Institute at Flinders University in South Australia.  As one of Australia’s leading researchers in biomedical engineering, Karen is passionate about bridging the divide between research and industry.

In 2008, she founded the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) Ideas Incubator, a program designed to facilitate early-stage innovation and collaborations across the medtech sector. Fourteen years later, this award-winning program continues to support early-stage innovation in the medtech sector.

Karen has a number of external roles including as member of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Advisory Committee on Medical Devices, and until last year, a member of the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academies of Technology and Engineering and of Health and Medical Sciences, and is an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia.

Dr Chien Ho

Dr Chien Ho is an experienced Board Director and Clinical Radiologist with particular interests in clinical and corporate governance, digital health and strategic planning. He has previously been a Board member of Integral Diagnostics and a Director of Lake Imaging. He is a GAICD, Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) and holds a MBBS (Hons.).

Dr Ho has held senior clinical leadership roles including Chair and member of both the Integral and Victorian Clinical Leadership Committees. He is also a member of the RANZCR Digital Health Working Group and is actively involved with Radiology Across Borders.

Upon completion of his radiology training at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, he undertook advanced training in London, primarily at University College Hospital where he completed an MRI/musculoskeletal fellowship. He works as a radiologist for Lake Imaging with subspecialty interests in musculoskeletal imaging, body MRI (including prostate) and Cardiac CT. 

Associate Professor Kevin Jack

Associate Professor Kevin Jack is the Director Research Infrastructure (RI) at The University of Queensland (UQ) and is currently Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Infrastructure) PVC(RI). He has over 25 years of experience in operations, management and leadership of advanced analytical methods and facilities at UQ and Bristol University. He is a physical chemist and his main research interests are in the nano- and molecular-scale characterisation of materials to better understand the relationships between structure, properties, and performance.

Because Seeing Changes Everything: Placing Australian imaging at the global forefront

Today the National Imaging Facility (NIF) released Because Seeing Changes Everything, its roadmap for Australian imaging.

NIF is Australia’s advanced imaging network, providing open access to flagship imaging equipment, expertise, tools, data and analysis. NIF enables a full suite of advanced imaging capability including preclinical and clinical, human and animal imaging, and radiochemistry.

Because Seeing Changes Everything provides a plan to enable Australian researchers to unlock solutions to major health, agriculture and materials challenges.

NIF Governing Board Chair, Professor Margaret Harding said Because Seeing Changes Everything demonstrates the way NIF contributes to Australian wellbeing, and outlines NIF’s future priorities, which deliver to the Australian Government’s 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap.

“NIF’s imaging infrastructure, data and leading expertise support Australian research and innovation to help improve our standard of living and strengthen our economic standing,” Prof Harding said.

“Scientists, clinicians and professionals from a range of industries across Australia use NIF capabilities to unlock solutions to their research questions.”

NIF has identified impacts where imaging plays a key role, and will prioritise investments that address these areas:

  • Better evidence for decision-making in health
  • New diagnostics and therapies combined
  • Better health for the young and older Australians
  • Equitable regional and rural health
  • Growing use of imaging in agriculture and ecology 
  • Critical contributions to materials, engineering and culture

NIF Chief Executive Officer, Professor Wojtek Goscinski said Because Seeing Changes Everything outlines NIF’s roadmap supporting innovation and ensuring Australia’s world-class imaging capability remains at the global forefront.

“NIF will deliver to the priorities outlined in the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, helping Australians to apply state-of-the-art imaging to address emerging challenges,” Prof Goscinski said.

“Our expertise and infrastructure will ensure Australia is at the cutting-edge of advanced imaging, now and into the future as we continue to meet the evolving needs of modern research.”

The document highlights some of the future capabilities NIF is planning to expand, including:

  • Accelerating next-generation imaging technologies
  • Furthering critical magnetic resonance technology
  • Translating portable biomagnetic imaging
  • Pioneering full-colour x-ray scanners
  • Applying new-generation ultrasound for treatments and diagnostic techniques
  • Advancing molecular imaging to visualise whole-body processes

 

You can read Because Seeing Changes Everything here.

NIF Molecular Imaging and Radiochemistry Showcase to be presented at ANZSNM

National Imaging Facility enables access to imaging capabilities across the country and will present a Molecular Imaging and Radiochemistry Showcase at ANZSNM 2022, featuring presentations from a range of research leaders from Australia’s advanced imaging network.

See the full ANZSNM program here.

Register to attend ANZSNM 2022.

National Imaging Facility: Molecular Imaging and Radiochemistry Showcase
Saturday 14 May 2022, 3:15pm – 4:15pm
Session Chair: Prof Wojtek Goscinski, CEO National Imaging Facility

TimeSpeakerTopic
3:15 – 3:20Professor Wojtek Goscinski

Chief Executive Officer
National Imaging Facility

Introduction to NIF Molecular Imaging and
Radiochemistry Showcase

3:20 – 3:30Professor Steven Meikle

Head of the Imaging Physics Laboratory, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney

Total Body PET
3:30 – 3:40Associate Professor Roslyn Francis

Head of Department of Nuclear Medicine and WA PET Service, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, University of Western Australia

Radiochemistry activities in Western Australia
3:40 – 3:50Professor Gary Egan

Professor and Foundation Director, Monash Biomedical Imaging

Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function

Australian Precision Medicine Enterprise
3:50 – 4:00Prof Kristofer Thurecht

Acting Deputy Director (Research Technologies) and Group Leader – Principal Research Fellow,

Centre for Advanced Imaging, University of Queensland

Affiliate Principal Research Fellow and Group Leader,

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Alpha therapies and activities
4:00 – 4:10Dr John Bennett

Research Infrastructure Platform Leader – Biosciences,
ANSTO

ANSTO’s new NIF Alpha Radioisotopes and
Radiopharmaceuticals Facility
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