Leading Charles Sturt researcher advances ‘mixed reality’ surgery

14 NOVEMBER 2019

Leading Charles Sturt researcher advances ‘mixed reality’ surgery

Outstanding teaching and research by a lecturer at the Charles Sturt University Study Centre in Sydney has advanced the relatively new field of ‘mixed reality’ surgery.

  • Iraqi-born Charles Sturt researcher makes outstanding contributions to research, medical science, and higher education
  • The technologies that use Associate Professor Abeer Alsadoon’s research have benefitted maxillofacial and breast implant surgery, and many other surgical procedures
  • She has fostered the outstanding record of high-level research publications from staff, students and graduates at the Charles Sturt Study Centre in Sydney

Associate Professor Dr Abeer AlsadoonOutstanding teaching and research by a lecturer at the Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) Study Centre in Sydney has advanced the relatively new field of ‘mixed reality’ surgery.

Associate Professor Dr Abeer Alsadoon (pictured) has overcome many personal and professional obstacles in her life and career to make outstanding contributions to research, medical science, and the education of tertiary students in Australia.

Professor Alsadoon was a lecturer at the University of Technology in Baghdad when militia started killing academics in Iraq in 2007, forcing her to flee the country.

She arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2009, joined Charles Sturt in 2013 as an IT and computer science academic, and now teaches at the Study Centre in Sydney.

Her early work with Charles Sturt focused on the application of technology for the early detection of cancer.

But in 2016 a personal health issue refocused her professional interest to the use of augmented reality and virtual reality to create ‘mixed reality’ to enhance surgical procedures.

The technologies that used her subsequent research have benefitted maxillofacial surgery and breast implant surgery, and have applications in remote settings and in rural areas.

This is evidenced by her mounting research publication record, alone and with her Charles Sturt colleagues, students and graduates.

From 2014 to the present, 43 papers have been published in level A (Q1) and level B (Q2) peer reviewed journals, and 84 peer reviewed conference papers have been presented.

“I am a situational leader, often a trainer when needed, and am democratic,” Professor Alsadoon said.

“I create a nurturing environment of trust and respect in the class, and in the staff room I involve myself in conversations with colleagues, valuing their input and promoting ideas they put forward.”

Professor Alsadoon praised the support she has received from her academic colleagues, and in particular Associate Professor Chandana Withanage, the head of IT faculty and IT senior course coordinator at the Study Centre in Sydney.

“Professor Withanage has supported me in every step in my career since I started at Charles Sturt University,” she said.

“He has provided unfailing support in my endeavours, and an ideal workplace would be one where there are many like him.”

“We also enjoy the support and encouragement in our research work from the academic director at the Study Centre, Dr Jeffery Gosper, and from Associate Professor Irfan Altas, the Head of the Charles Sturt University School of Computing and Mathematics.”

This support, she said, has led to her own significant research publication record, as well as co-authored with Professor Withanage and the students at Sydney Study Centre.

“We continued to work with our students on their research projects even after their graduation, to bring their projects to publication standard,” Professor Alsadoon said.

“For 2019, three of our students published their work in level A (Q1) peer reviewed journals, and 14 students have published their work in level B (Q2) peer reviewed journals.

“This number of research papers in high-ranking journals has never happened at any Study Centre except at the Sydney Study Centre, and this is because of our hard work and working with the students even out of office hours.”

Professor Withanage said, “Students engage far more with tasks when they are dealing with ‘real world’ problems.

“They are, after all, IT specialists, and what better way to apply their specialist knowledge to than ‘knotty’ surgical problems in augmented or mixed reality surgery, or to the improvement of disease detection tools?

“The work of some of our graduates was of such high quality that it has not only been published but also cited again and again; these are proud moments for Charles Sturt University and all who are part of it.”

In addition to formal teaching and research, Professor Alsadoon provides students with greater access to industry, by re-activating and extending networks of professional and personal associations with industry experts and academics, to facilitate practice-based learning and research, primarily, but not exclusively, in the medical field.

“This includes recruitment of industry volunteers to provide further support to the students for mentoring and advice for publishing,” she said.

“Infected by my dedication and enthusiasm, they have come together and are giving their time to the students on an ongoing, voluntary basis.

“This has resulted in an increase in student research output worthy of publication,” she said.

“The results are rewarding, and it is a great pleasure when you see young students or a colleague gaining confidence and becoming a voice in their professional environment.”

Professor Alsadoon has received many awards for her dedication and innovative solutions, and was most recently selected as one of five finalists in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards where she was nominated in the category of Emerging Leader in the Government or Public Sector for her contributions in public hospitals.

“This is the award nomination that I am most proud of because it is recognised on a national level,” she said.

Read more about Professor Alsadoon in this recent SBS online story.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Associate Professor Abeer Alsadoon, contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or via news@csu.edu.au

Photos provided by Associate Professor Abeer Alsadoon.

Top: Associate Professor Abeer Alsadoon (front row, third from left) with staff and students from the Charles Sturt University Study Centre in Sydney.

Photo in story: Associate Professor Abeer Alsadoon

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