CERA welcomes RMIT PhD candidate Christian Daish as an Australian Postgraduate Research intern.
Christian Daish brings his expertise in biomedical and electronic engineering to the ‘Eyes and the sky – medical image analysis with astrophysics supercomputing‘ project.
Working under the supervision of Dr Xavier Hadoux, he joins a team of CERA researchers working with hyperspectral imaging, a technology initially developed by NASA, to gain unique insights into diseases of the eye and brain.
In a world first, CERA has applied this technology to the detection of retinal biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. A central component of this work has been the application of advanced computational approaches, including machine learning, to enhance image processing and analysis.
Refining the hyperspectral camera
To help advance the use of the hyperspectral camera, Christian will tackle the issue of image registration.
“When you’re taking several photos of the eye in quick succession, significant and not so significant micromovements often take place, making it difficult to identify landmarks,” he explains.
“The idea of image registration is to align all those photos, so that you can extract landmarks and determine if specific biomarkers exist for certain diseases.
“My role is getting to the crux of this registration problem through the development of deep learning algorithms, so that at the end of the day a clinician simply needs to take a photo of a patient’s eye and be notified in near-real-time if a disease is present.”
A fresh perspective
The APR Intern program is designed to connect PhD expertise with organisations striving for innovative solutions. CERA welcomes the fresh perspective and skills Christian will contribute to this project.
For his recently completed PhD project, Christian developed a wearable device that uses electromagnetic fields to accelerate fracture repair. He also brings valuable experience gained from four years at St Vincent’s Hospital working across cell biology, 3D-printing, microelectronics and more.
“A central component of Christian’s work is the application of advanced computational approaches, including image processing and deep learning,” says Dr Xavier Hadoux.
“Through the APR intern program, Christian and the team will have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University. We hope to open up novel areas of discovery and to inspire other young scientists to embark on a career in applied ophthalmic imaging technology.”
For Christian, working at CERA is an opportunity to apply his research skills to what he loves most – solving problems.
“The challenge is fantastic. It’s what engineering is about – you see a problem, then you research and find ways to fix and solve it. I love that whole process, applying my own knowledge and learning new skills and techniques,” he says.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to work in the biotechnology field again. Knowing that at the end of the day the goal is to help people makes the work very rewarding.”