Winner of the Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow – Career Development Fellow
This fellowship award acknowledges Associate Professor O’Brien’s outstanding work in progressing imaging technologies for cancer.
Most people with cancer have several scans over the course of their diagnosis and treatment, and for follow-up appointments. Although some people find the scans nerve-wracking, time consuming and tiring, they play important roles in diagnosing many types of cancer and helping clinicians to plan treatment.
Accurate imaging helps to precisely pinpoint the part/s of the body that will receive cancer treatment (for example, targeted radiation therapy), thereby sparing healthy tissues and potentially preventing debilitating side effects.
Associate Professor O’Brien is the Deputy Director of the ACRF Image-X Institute, at The University of Sydney. The ACRF Image-X Institute is a centre for innovation in radiation therapy and cancer imaging technologies.
Associate Professor O'Brien's fellowship is directly benefiting people with cancer, by delivering shorter scan times and better image quality. Together these can contribute to more accurate results and faster treatments. Changes to scans, such as lower pre-treatment imaging doses, also have the potential to make scans safer for patients.
“My work can improve the outcomes for lung cancer patients who have very low survival rates,” Associate Professor O’Brien explains.
“I would like to thank the team at the ACRF Image-X Institute at the University of Sydney who have inspired my work, as well as the strong support of the radiation therapy departments that we collaborate with in hospitals across Sydney. This award will help to grow and promote my research so that the new technology that we have developed can be of benefit to patients sooner.”
Beyond his work in cancer imaging, Associate Professor O’Brien has an impressive and varied professional and academic background. He previously developed astrodynamics applications for space debris tracking and satellite laser ranging at EOS Space Systems in Canberra.