Careers with STEM: Health 2018

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TERM 1, 2018


HEALTH Today's fastest growing health careers p3

Help athletes reach their peak fitness p5

Smart machines doing surgery p13




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Why study health? Australia’s fastest growing jobs are in healthcare




ob prospects in health careers are set to grow faster than any other industry, with the promise of rewarding salaries and job security to sweeten the deal. The cherry on top? There are boundless areas to choose from, across jobs Healthcare is the such as social work or surgery. to p sector for new the Australia’s ageing population and the introduction of jo bs and has been National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) means the si . board nc the e the 1990s across s career health of t nmen sustai and creation lians Austra 0 460,00 e provid to sing promi is alone The NDIS with disability support over the lifetime of the patient. It’s a long-term demand for skilled healthcare workers that ensures job security over the course of your career. Even genera l practitioners are hard to come by with 35.74% of job listings still Expected growth of vacant after a month, despite a lucrative healthcare and average salary of $126,000**. social assistance More jobs means more career growth jobs to 2022 prospects, too. Taking up a managerial position can see you jump from being a Registered Nurse to a Registered Nurse Manager with an average salary increase of $9,000** for your efforts. Jobs in health are also super rewarding. According to a recent global study***, employee job satisfaction relies on job stability, a good of health job n salary and above all, feeling appreciated for sted o your work. vacancies li main re In health, feeling appreciated comes from 0 days 3 r the e seeing ft and ts a patien d with ly e direct working unfill progress you make through smiles on faces. It’s a rare change from graphs and charts that track achievement in most jobs. Health careers aren’t limited to hospitals, either. your hand Analyse the mind as a menta l health professional or try or with carer at exercise therapy; work with others as a disability teaching ch, technology as a sonographer; find your niche in resear well or advocacy – your options are endless! – Eliza Brock




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Get fit

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Join the Icon Athlete podcast for tips on nutrition and fitness: Get helpful hints on encouraging inclusion, diversity and player wellness:

Careers that help make people healthier are in huge demand

Study Options:

Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science): University of Sydney: Master of Sports Medicine: UQ: MSMedUQ

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Sport physiotherapist: $50k – $108k* Doctor/physician of sport medicine: $49k – $202k *Salaries according to

Let’s get physical Tuguy Esgin is tackling noncommunicable diseases in Indigenous communities through exercise and sports science


n Tuguy Esgin’s first day as an Aboriginal health worker, he was shocked by his first patient’s health markers: their blood glucose was twice the healthy level and their blood pressure was dangerously high. But he was even more surprised to hear the markers described by other staff as “normal”. Tuguy decided then and there to tackle chronic non-communicable diseases in Indigenous communities. Tuguy, a Noongar man from Perth, worked in Indigenous communities as part of his health sciences degree. His experience left him frustrated with the standard biomedical approach to health treatment. “There needs to be a greater focus on preventative, holistic approaches,” says Tuguy. He discovered there were huge research gaps in the use of exercise strategies to combat chronic diseases in Indigenous communities. This led to his PhD thesis, which was based on the concept of ‘exercise as medicine’. Tuguy tracked the physiological and psychological effects of Indigenous people training in gyms and his findings provided quantitative evidence of how exercise can improve quality of life outcomes. The study facilitated a community approach to exercise. “The most rewarding part was getting people together and yarning for hours. I learnt so much about the Noongar culture,” says Tuguy. Tuguy is now a lecturer in exercise and sport science at the University of Sydney. With culturally appropriate means of engaging the Indigenous community in exercise, Tuguy believes we can give all Australians “equal access to the benefits of an active life”. – Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

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Bachelor of Health Sciences (Aboriginal Health and Community Development), University of Sydney

Aboriginal Health Worker, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, Perth, WA

Master of Health Science (Indigenous Community Health), University of Sydney

PhD (Exercise and Sport Science), Edith Cowan University

Lecturer in Exercise and Sport Science, University of Sydney

Luke Stutter is using his passion for lp fitness and mental wellbeing to he level rugby players compete at an elite

Game on


less xercise science and psychology are ht mig you like cha lk and cheese than ree deg l dua a ied thin k. Luke Stutter stud ays “alw he’s in the two at QUT because cts rested in how our mental hea lth affe inte been our physica l hea lth”. in Now he’s making a successful career ning, trai ning providing strength and conditio n teams unio y and mental hea lth support, for rugb en’s wom like the Queensland Reds and the nationa l team, the Wallaroos. land Reds Luke was an intern with the Queens of that part e for nearly three years. His favourit in best the of job? “I was training with the best er care r thei in the country, and having a hand success. It was really awesome.” he says. “Teams get the best of both worlds,” to two the e “It’s about how you can integrat l and sica phy benefit the player.” Luke offers both rd affo only can s mental support, where most club too, ty essi nec to hire one or the other. It’s a real really affect a when constant mental stresses can player’s game. for example, “Returning from a shoulder injury, ling or tack t players lack the confidence to star king, thin ’re playing hard. On top of that, they so It’s r?’ ‘Am I going to have a job next yea in the important for athletes to be able to stay right mindset. ays going “Current hea lth trends means I’m alw t 10 nex the to have a job,” says Luke. Within ulation pop ng agei years, he says, with Australia’s , sports kids in vity and declining exercise and acti than nt orta imp therapists are going to be more keep us ever in schools and communities to hea lthy and active. in good “If kids can move well now, they’re stead for life.” – Eliza Brockwell

luke stutter

Bachelor of Exercise and Movement Science/Bachelor of Behavioural Science, QUT


Student Internship, Queensland Rugby Union (Queensland Reds)

Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, St Joseph’s Nudgee College, Brisbane

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Community check health+ The rewards are immediate in health careers that help people


Dr Nikki Stamp Cardiothoracic surgeon

Tough it out

r Nikki Stamp is a cardiothoracic surgeon – that’s heart and lung surgery – with an inherent passion and curiosity to further our understanding of the human heart. “The heart fascinates me,” she says. “It’s so robust yet so delicate at the same time. And it’s so clever that it does a huge amount of things from beat to beat that your brain even isn’t aware of.” Nikki and her team perform bypass grafts and valve replacements, deliver transplants and insert ventricular assist devices (more commonly known as ‘mechanical hearts’). It’s an area of medicine that Nikki hopes to encourage more women to pursue. “I think people still expect surgeons to be gruff, old men,” she says. According to a 2011 report from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, only 8.5% of surgeons are female. “The times are definitely changing and medicine is becoming much less patriarchal and much more collaborative, both with other healthcare professionals, but most importantly with patients,” says Nikki. She says the real reward is not in defying the odds, but in what she can do for her patients. “Surgeons are some of the brightest, hard-working people I know. The dedication, the study, the perseverance is all in the name of being better, all the time, so that our patients may reap the rewards.”

Degree: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (Hons), UWA

community Learn More

Check out this TedTalk on the possibilities of Occupational Therapy: Get involved in your community and host events, like a fundraiser or fun run for a shared cause: YouthCentralVIC

Study Options

Diploma of Leisure and Health: TAFE: Bachelor of Occupational Therapy: Deakin: BOTDEAK

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Occupational therapist: $478k – $79k Registered nurse: $39k – $80k

Caring for all Gavin Chipperfield Registered Nurse, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney


or Gavin, nursing is a dream job. Each day is different, and working with patients is more fulfilling and meaningful than the standard issue desk job. According to the Australian Jobs Outlook, healthcare and social assistance jobs overall were up by 256,600 in the five years from 2010 to 2015 and positions for registered nurses increased by 48,200 – one of the five jobs with the largest numbers of new jobs over the five years. “Nursing is an amazing job, it allows you to engage with people and help them when they are at their greatest need. I’d love to see more males take it up in the future.” Degree: Bachelor Human Movement/Bachelor of Teaching/PDHPE (Charles Sturt Uni), Master of Nursing, USyd

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Artemicia Nisyrios Social worker, director of Mindsight Psychology and Family Consulting

Social justice O

n a day-to-day basis, you can find social worker Artemicia Nisyrios assessing risk and analysing behaviour patterns, consulting with lawyers, judges and healthcare professionals to provide expert testimony in family lawsuits dealing with violence, drug and alcohol abuse. It’s a career that has seen her travel the world from the UK to India, and fostered her successful business. “I have always had a passion for social justice, protecting the vulnerable people in our society,” says Artemicia. “I love meeting new people, hearing their stories and finding ways to help them help themselves.” While the majority of social workers are employed in the healthcare sector, there are specialist positions available in just about every industry — from education to manufacturing to media. “Social work is as challenging as it is rewarding. The diversity of work in the field is endless and it is a skill that can open pathways for you all over the world.” Degree: Bachelor of Social Work (Hons), University of South Australia


The University of Sydney

In safe hands

a determination to help others steered Melanie Sefton towards a career in occupational therapy


melanie sefton Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy), The University of Sydney

Occupational Therapist

found it hard to work out wh ich career path to take after high school because I wanted a job I wou ld find satisfying. I was interes ted in health because I wanted to work wit h people and make a differe nce . I kne w someone who was an occupational the rapist (OT) and it seemed like a rew ard ing job. I had no idea what they did, but I’m glad I took the risk to find out ! “I studied a Bachelor of App lied Science (Occupational Therapy) at the University of Sydney. I finishe d university on a Friday in Nov ember and started at my current emplo yment on the following Monda y! I work as an OT in the community. I visit and assess older people or peo ple with a disability in their homes to hel p them to remain safe and com ple te day-today tasks as best as they can . This may involve home mo difi cat ion s, equipment and other strateg ies to be safe. “Every person I meet in my job is different. Everyone has their own story and you never know what you are walking into when you me et someone new! The best stories are where what seems like simple sol utio ns to me, can mean a person can return to doing what they love withou t diff iculty. “Science and health impact s every single person. Workin g wit h people through a career in health is very rewarding, diverse and meaningful. You can change someone’s life, wheth er they are a two-year-old chil d or a 97-yearold woman living in her own home. A career in health and science can also broaden your own perception of people and the world aro und you. “In high school I wanted to do something creative, such as fashion design, but now I get to be creative in my thinking and the way I approach diverse situations. I feel so lucky to be able to do so.”


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health+tech Learn more

Check out the Ted Talk on The Future of Medicine: Learn more about the inventions of tomorrow at The Medical Futurist: Find inspiration by listening to Doctorpreneurs:


Bachelor of Medical Science, UTS: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Health Informatics), University of Melbourne: FutureLearn:


Twitter: @AusBiotech YouTube:

Tech for good A

y can think digitall o h w le p o e p d e e usinesses n New disruptive b


Medical scientist: $50k – $95k Biomedical engineer: $50k – $90k Software developer: $49k – $102k Nuclear medicine technologist: $59k – $104k

ant to help w u o y o D e friends, people get mlolrowers, likes and fo nt to help or do you wauture?” create the f

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new game will please gamers unt il the next one comes out, while a new phone will captivate people around the world until a new model is released. But if you develop a new medical technology (medtech) tha t saves lives, your gift to the world will last forever. “Do you want to help people get more friends, likes and followers, or do you want to help create the future?” asks Sam Holt, CEO of SkinView. He and his team hav e built a smart device that attache s to your phone to diagnose disease . The idea is that it can help any one, any where, detect skin cancer or scabies at little cost. Using technology to deliver low -cost care is the same motivation that drives Yogi Kanagasingam . A medical scientist and self-co nfessed ‘serial inventor’, one of Yogi’s inv entions – an eye diagnostic dev ice called EyeScan – has even made it into space, being used by NA SA on the International Space Station . Back on Earth, Yogi has built a technology based on artificial intelligence that learns from exp erience. “We teach the computer about diabetic retinopathy [blindness from diabetes] and disease severit y from almost 30,000 retinal ima ges,” he says. The system then scre ens diabetics to see if they need trea tment to prevent them from goin g blind. He is now working on a sim ilar technology to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. “Prelimina ry results show that we can predict Alzheimer’s 10 years in advance from the eye.” Sam and Yogi are not alone. Acr oss Australia, a huge range of medtech is being develop ed to help us live happier and hea lthier lives, and not just by med ical professionals. Nano-X, for example, combines knowledge from astronomers, physicists and innovators from other fields. The y are building a cancer radiation therapy system a quarter the size YOGI of current devices. Ali Fathi is another example. He Kanagasingam studied mechanical engineering at university, but wanted to use his skills to help people. As a resu lt, he retrained to become a medical eng ineer. “It’s been very challenging to move from conventional enginee ring to medical engineering, but I don’t regret it even for a second,” he say s. During his PhD, Ali invented Trim ph, an injectable liquid that forms a gummy-like structure to help the natural regeneration of different tissues. “Engineering something that can potentially help millions and mil lions of patients is really reward ing.” What Ali, Sam and Yogi share is a hunger to ma ke people’s lives better: the only rea l qua lificatio n you’ll ever need for a career in medtech. – Ben Skuse



e h t g n i g n a h c e n i c i d e m f o e c fa W

help Mitch Klenner’s research could future eradicate certain cancers in the

hile it’s easy to dream about the future of health; the possibilities of eradicating diseases and making lifespans longer are even now being debated in the news. Predicting our own futures? That’s a little trickier. Mitch Klenner certainly wouldn’t have imagined himself working at ANSTO, since he started out his career doing everything but nuclear medicine. During his Bachelor of Chemistry at Curtin University, Mitch worked in environmenta l analytical chemistry and forensics before obtaining a PhD in photophysics. “During my PhD, I collaborated with a researcher at ANSTO, flew to Sydney and fell in love with the place,” Mitch says. Now he’s a postgraduate researcher at ANSTO working on something called RANASPR. “I don’t want to scare anyone, but it stands for Rhenium Activated Nucleophilic Aromatic Substitution for Pyridinyl Radiofluorination … that’s why we just say RANASPR!” Mitch laughs. RANASPR deals with imaging agents, attaching a fluorine-18 radioisotope to molecules that locate cancers and disease in the body. While fluorine-18 helps trace the movement of molecules, it can be hard to attach, so Mitch uses the metal rhenium like a glue to better link the molecules and radioisotopes, before detaching the rhenium. “It is possible to develop nuclear medicines that couldn’t be made before,” he says. Plus, the implications are huge. “The making of new nuclear medicines means that future nuclear medicine could detect almost any cancer or any disease quickly and efficiently, and then eradicate it.” While eliminating cancers is the focus of the research, RANASPR could teach us a lot about how our bodies work on a molecular level. By tracing the movement of molecules in real time, we could learn in-depth cellular information, like where different neurotransmitters are located. “Its potential is unbelievable; you could edit DNA so diseases are cured, increase brain function or muscle mass,” he says. Being at the forefront of new discoveries sounds exciting, but the reality is a lot of guesswork and the occasional failure. “Noone has ever solved this problem before, so a Google search won’t help you!” he says. Wrong decisions are an unavoidable certainty, but one wrong move may mean deteriorating molecules or samples that have taken weeks or months to create. But for Mitch, the successes make it all worthwhile. “A successful result means that you’re one step closer to helping the world. I never thought I’d be making nuclear medicines, and now I’m absolutely passionate about it.” – Eliza Brockwell



how to get there: Visit for more information

mitch klenner

Bachelor of Chemistry, Curtin University

PhD in Photophysics, Curtin University

Forensic Chemist, ChemCentre


Postgraduate researcher, ANSTO

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Apps acting against anxiety A groundbreaking Australian health app, MoodMission, is using psychotherapy to treat users’ negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours


find ave a look in your phone’s app store and you will wellbeing. thousands of apps designed to help improve your lish good There are apps to help you learn to meditate, estab exercise habits like drinking more water, or track your diet, and sleeping patterns. they are often One problem with a lot of these apps, though, is that behind a health app not based on cold, hard evidence. While the idea created by might sound good in theory, unless the app has been experts it may not have any real benefit. of the mental health As a clinical psychologist in training and founder e the gap between app app MoodMission, David Bakker wanted to bridg evidence, developers who don’t draw on appropriate scientific a user-friendly and researchers who don’t know how to provide al, which also made experience. He worked with the agency Spark Digit the meditation app Smiling Mind, to create his app. ion collects Based on cognitive behavioural therapy, MoodMiss and/or anxiety, then information about the user’s levels of depression to take whenever the provides tailored suggestions on possible actions report on whether the user is feeling low or anxious. The user can then t what strategies work action helped. This helps the app learn more abou best for the user. After 30 days the user does another survey, and the data goes back to the MoodMission team so they can use it in their research. David says that a database like this has the potential to be used in a machine-learning environment. “With MoodMission we can zoom in and say, ‘OK, this person felt this way and they did a meditation and felt better, but this other person felt the same way and went for a walk, and they didn’t feel better,’” he says. “We can use that data with things like artificial intelligence to recommend really effective, tailored strategies.” He says that technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data have huge potential to make one-on-one therapy more effective. “I think further down the track we’ll have psychologists being able to ask their computer, ‘Which direction should I go with this client who’s sitting in front of me?’” he says. “We can start to explore entirely new ways of engaging people in therapeutic processes.” – Chloe Walker

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David bakker

5 apps to health Switch off >> Apps use techniques from meditation, like breathing exercises to hit refresh on your mind. Try: Headspace Sleepy head >> Serial snoozer? Sleep apps replace your alarm by tracking your REM patterns to wake you during your lightest stage of slumber, for a more refreshed wake-up. Try: Pillow Survival of the fittest >> Apps like ‘Zombies, Run!’ fuse together audio drama and tracking your run to immerse you in a world of post apocalyptic madness. Try: Zombies, Run! Make it stick >> Got a fitness or healthy-eating goal you want to make stick? Turn it into a habit, with a gamified habit tracker that uses reminders, graphs and streaks to incentivise your progress. Try: Habitbull Rewarding reminders >> If you’re regularly taking medication, remembering to keep up can be a chore. Medical reminder apps like Perx simplify the process and even offer rewards like movie tickets or gift cards! Try: Perx


k c u l n w o r u o y e k Ma When a chance meeting offered Lillian Caruana a chance to work in her dream office, she grabbed the opportunity with both hands



nities, hen it comes to great career opportu sometimes you have to make them Lillian yourself. That’s what happened for ent Car uana, a Bachelor of Science stud her spare time. by day and researcher at ANSTO in a tour of its Lillian came across ANSTO during ded right there deci “I s. clas 10 r facilities with her Yea ; I just fell in and then that I was going to work here rmination came love with it,” she says. While her dete er. quickly, getting there took a little long RO scientist CSI a with ting It took a chance mee for Lillian to at the Nationa l Youth Science Forum ent supervisor. curr her ert, Gilb meet Professor Elliot elf doing a two-week After emailing him, she found hers d be running internship. While she assumed she’ in mind. else ng ethi som for coffees, Elliot had arch report, rese a with up e “He asked me to com g. Now, I come and the research looked worth pursuin the experiments back during university brea ks and run know what to call it, for real,” Lillian explains. “We don’t nce?” she laughs. is it an internship, is it work experie es in Lillian’s While not everyone will find themselv nce of utilising your situation, she swears by the importa ’t have any. resources – even if you thin k you don cs. Ask them “At uni, you’re surrounded by academi people that run the ts, ntis scie are s questions. Your lecturer research,” she says. your labs are real scientists with real tron scattering In her own research, Lillian used neu microfluidics to (Small-A ngle Neutron Scattering) and substances like create a new way to test soft matter ave under pressure. beh they how and shampoo to underst roving sample Her research has changed from imp ntists to environments for the benefit of scie ecules in soft mol of ur avio understanding the beh ing a paper before lish pub her to matter, and could lead she even finishes her degree. success as just It would be easy to dismiss Lillian’s rmination and good luck, but she cites hard work, dete g surrounded by curiosity as the key to her success. Bein eagues at ANSTO strong female scientists like her coll nation. only strengthens her career determi rmined, my drive dete and te iona “Because I’m so pass STO, seeing lots of is helping me get ahead. Being at AN k, I could females in strong roles makes me thin ell ckw Bro a Eliz – be there one day too.” STOCAREERS for more details how to get there: Visit


Lillian Caruana Bachelor of Science (Chemistry), UNSW Sydney

Internship, ANSTO

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e n i c i d e m d Health an in the

e r u t u f

t r crystal balls to predic ei th to in er pe to s rt pe ree ex Eliza Brockwell asks th see in the next 50 years l e’l w s gh ou hr kt ea br ical some of the major med


Personalised medicine will revolutionise cancer cures Brain cancer is one of the biggest causes of death in children with cancer. Research shows that every child and every cancer is different, and a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment doesn’t work. In the next 50 years, personalised medicine will help us find the best treatments for individual children with cancer. We’re already making progress. The Children’s Cancer Institute and Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, just opened a national clinical trial called Zero Childhood Cancer for around 400 children with the most aggressive cancers. We analyse the biology and genetics of patients’ tumours in incredible detail then test the cancers in the lab with anticancer drugs to see which work best for each child. This could revolutionise the way childhood cancer is treated in the future. I’m very excited about what this means for kids with hard-to-treat cancers, such as brain cancer. Dr Maria Tsoli is a senior research officer at The Children’s Cancer Institute and team leader of the Preclinical Core Testing Team at Zero Childhood Cancer, Randwick, NSW.

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Anjali Jaiprakash

Wearable tech will be the future of health With sports and health tech, especially in the wearable or consumable space, 50 years is just too far in the future. I predict in 10 years, the landscape is going to be more akin to something from Blade Runner. Within a decade, whether it’s for health or fitness, we’ll be wearing disposable band-aid like patches, connected to the cloud via a smart device – I’m loathe to say a smartphone as I believe even those will be obsolete in 10 years’ time. These patches will measure everything from blood sugar and lactate levels to temperature and heart rate, to start with. Your doctor or coach will be able to monitor your health or training status remotely and in real-time, potentially even triggering other body-worn devices to remotely and automatically apply medication. Of course, this technology has implications for antidoping technology and testing. It won’t be out of the question for elite athletes to have to wear patches for a prescribed number of hours a day to allow the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority or World Anti-Doping Authority to continuously monitor their blood make up, making it very difficult for athletes to take banned substances and evade detection. The challenge – and for me the space that is going to be interesting to watch – is how this data gets curated, managed and protected. In the future, we’ll all have digital bio-identities that we’ll carry with us as we change wearable brands, sports, doctors, etc. To do that there will need to be open standards to allow data mobility, but also new and stronger security, perhaps blockchain or quantum-inspired encryption, to ensure your personal data can’t be stolen, copied or manipulated. Wherever it takes us, it’s an exciting world joseph ahead in sports science and medicine, and Winter I would encourage STEM students to think about the sports sector for a career choice.

More than 540 million years ago, there was a burst in evolution and simple organisms developed into more complex beings. No-one really understands the reasons why, but it was thought to be a change in the oxygen levels, a change in temperature and, most importantly, an evolution of vision. We’re seeing the same thing with robots; we believe vision in robotics is the key to unlocking their potential. Technology is constantly redefining how we learn and interact with the world around us and it will have massive impact on how we practise medicine. By building robots, we want to give surgeons very simple, affordable and smart machines that allow surgeons to perform safer and faster operations. Human acceptance of robots in healthcare is going to be a big barrier. You can’t replace human empathy, but robots have more potential than people realise. We want to build medical robots and devices that are easy to use and don’t require a lot of training, so they can be transported anywhere. When machine learning techniques are added to this, diagnoses will be available at the click of a button. It will also allow people in the developing world to access affordable, high-quality healthcare.”

Joseph Winter is the head of Innovation, Research and Development at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Anjali Jaiprakash is a research fellow at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, and part of QUT’s Medical Healthcare Robotics Lab.


Robots and machine learning will overhaul surgeries

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