Bioimaging research and innovation for translational engineering

Team members


Brendan KennedyDr Brendan Kennedy – Laboratory Head

Brendan graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Electronic Engineering and a PhD in the area of optical communication systems from Dublin City University, Ireland, in 2001 and 2006, respectively.

From 2006-2007, he held a teaching and research position in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Santiago, Chile, where his research focus remained in optical communications systems. In 2008, he moved to The University of Western Australia (UWA) and began working in the area of biomedical optics. In August 2015, he was promoted to Senior Research Fellow at UWA. In 2014, he won a Tall Poppy Award for outstanding contributions to science and communication and in 2015 he was awarded the UWA Vice Chancellor’s Mid-Career Research Award.

In 2016, he started the Bioimaging Research and Innovation for Translational Engineering Lab (BRITElab) at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. He has a co-appointment between the Perkins and the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at UWA. His research interests include the development of wearable biomedical optics devices, intraoperative surgical techniques, optical elastography and the measurement of tissue and cell mechanics. More broadly, through the BioZone, he is actively engaged in the development of convergent approaches to research at UWA.

Lixin Chin

Dr Lixin Chin – Postdoctoral Researcher (pictured left)

Lixin attained his Bachelor of Computer Science, and Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honours in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Western Australia in 2006. He worked as a software engineer for several years before attaining a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Western Australia, working as part of the Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, with the support of a Robert & Maude Gladden scholarship, in 2016. Lixin is a post-doctoral researcher with BRITElab, working on novel signal processing methods to improve imaging of biological tissues.

Andrea_CuratoloAndrea Curatolo – Postdoctoral Researcher (pictured right)

Andrea’s background is in optics, having completed his MSc in physics engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, with a thesis on the development of a portable multispectral imaging system aimed at works of art analysis and conservation. After working in industry for a year, he moved to Perth as Research staff at the Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, UWA where he worked for 4 years before starting a PhD on the characterisation and improvement of biomedical imaging techniques. Between 2015 and 2016, he was president of the local student chapter of the Optical Society, one of the major international professional associations of optical engineers and scientists.

Andrea is currently working on two biomedical imaging techniques, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and optical coherence elastography (OCE), a functional extension of the former to measure tissue stiffness. His work included diagnostic imaging systems engineering design, technology development and supervision of endoscopic and interstitial OCT imaging system prototypes deployed in clinical settings, for pulmonary and oncology applications. His research experience includes phantom design and analysis of optical beam shaping for improving OCT imaging in turbid tissue. He is also active in the study of image formation and speckle phenomena, with a number of publications, including a book chapter.

Beach volleyball fills up most of his spare time…and good food of course.

Fang QiMr Fang Qi - Postdoctoral Researcher (pictured right)

Qi received his bachelor degree in Physics and Astronomy from The University of Science and Technology of China. In 2015, he completed his PhD in Experimental Physics in UWA. After this, he joined BRITELab to start his bio-engineering research career. Qi’s interests are particularly in the development of in-vivo and ex-vivo OCE probes, including the handheld probe for breast cancer imaging and micro-endoscopic probe with ultrahigh resolution optical coherence elastography (OCE). He is also interested in implementing dual-scanning OCE for accelerating intraoperative scanning speeds during breast-conserving surgery.

Wes AllenWes Allen – PhD Student (pictured left)

Wes is originally from Dublin, Ireland where he completed a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering in Trinity College Dublin. After graduating Wes spent a year traveling in Australia but then returned to Ireland and completed a Masters in Biomedical Engineering in Trinity College Dublin. Wes went on to work in product development for Henkel adhesives. In 2013 Wes decided to return to Australia and moved to Perth, Western Australia. Wes started a PhD in the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at The University of Western Australia in January 2015. Working with optical techniques to measure the mechanical properties of biological tissues (optical elastography), the focus of Wes’ PhD is to develop optical elastography for clinical applications, in particular breast cancer. In his spare time Wes is a volunteer surf lifesaver at Floreat Beach.

Philip WijesinghePhilip Wijesinghe - PhD Student (pictured right)

Philip is a PhD student with a background in Physiology and Electrical & Electronic Engineering from The University of Western Australia. Philip’s research is focused on developing methods and tools to characterise tissue and cellular biomechanics on the micro-scale, and translating them into the hands of biologists. Philip is interested in working across disciplines, learning and incorporating different fields into his work, for coding to fundamental biology. Beyond research, Philip is interested in hacking up old equipment and cheap parts into creative tools for biology, having built a cheap 3D printer and microscopes.

Helen DeJongHelen DeJong - PhD Student (pictured left)

Helen is a PhD student investigating how and why scar tissue forms following injury. She attained her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy from Curtin University in 1993 and is currently a senior clinical therapist running a private practice in the treatment of scars and chronic pain. Her previous experience working in acute burn rehabilitation, trauma, neurology and pediatrics has evoked an interest in understanding the interaction between the nervous system and tissue healing and more specifically how physical forces influences this interaction. With the use of elastography imaging, Helen is measuring the changes in the physical properties of injured tissue as they heal, and developing techniques to both prevent scar formation and also to treat existing scars. Helen has co-written a book chapter on scarring, has published in peer reviewed journals and presented her research at local and international conferences.

Luke Frewer – Masters Student

Luke is a Masters of Professional Engineering (Mechanical) student currently working with BRITELab. He graduated from the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) program majoring in Engineering Science and Astrophysics and Space Science. Luke is currently working on the Smart Glove Thimble Probe, an optical technology using miniaturised optics to aid surgeons in reducing the re-excision rate of breast cancer surgeries.

Rowan SandersonRowan Sanderson – Masters Student (pictured right)

Rowan earned his Bachelor of Science at UWA in 2014 and is currently in the last year of his Master's of Electrical and Electronic Engineering also at UWA. He has previously worked at the Optical and Biomedical Engineering Laboratory (OBEL) on optical coherence elastography (OCE), during a summer vacation placement. During this time he was responsible for designing OCE associated novel technologies. Rowan is continuing his research with Dr. Kennedy and his team in the BRITElab and plans to complete a PhD after his Master's.

Ken FooKen Foo - Masters Student (pictured left)

Ken completed his Bachelor of Philosophy with Honours in Physics in 2015. He is currently completing a Masters of Professional Engineering specialising in electrical engineering. Presently, Ken is working on developing a computer algorithm to automatically segment breast tissue scans into its constituent components. This could be used to improve margin evaluation of excised malignant tissue, and therefore reduce the number of breast cancer patients requiring a second surgery.

Matt Hepburn

Matt Hepburn - Masters Student (pictured right)

Matt is currently completing his Master's thesis in electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Western Australia. His work includes regression models for optical coherence elastography image processing supervised by Dr Brendan Kennedy

Kelsey Kennedy - Research Associate

Kelsey received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from UWA in 2014. In 2016, Kelsey was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Mauritius, before returning to the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in 2017. Kelsey’s work in BRITElab involves designing, building and testing devices to better detect microscopic breast cancer cells during surgery. She is currently assisting with the roll out of an accuracy study for a device she helped develop that could make it easier for surgeons remove all traces of breast cancer from a patient during surgery. 

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