Women in Science Profiles
Dr. Tatjana Zrimec
For some years now I have been working on the development of systems for computer-based image processing in medicine. The system we are currently developing enables detection and recognition of different samples of lung diseases. Because of new and more efficient equipment the number of medical images is constantly growing. Each high-resolution CT scanning, for example, provides from 30 to 600 images. Unfortunately, the tools for examining and analysing images are not developed with the same speed. Image analysis is a very complex and slow procedure. The need for systems enabling computer-aided interpretation of medical images is growing. We are currently developing a system for computer-aided diagnostics as well as for 3D visualisation of lung anatomy and the location of disease. I have always been drawn to the field of scientific visualisation and at present I work as the Head of the VisLab Laboratory at the University of New South Hampton. We are developing tools for virtual environments. We are also working on 3D modelling and visualisation. These tools are used for creating environments in which future surgeons can practice with the help of simulations of surgical procedures in a virtual environment in which they use a haptic robot.
As a lecturer I head the new postgraduate programme in health informatics: Master of Health Informatics at the University of New South Hampton. I have developed the programme as additional studies in the field of information and communication technologies and their use in health care. The purpose of this programme is to give doctors the opportunity to learn more about computer technology, its advantages and the ways it can be effectively used at work. The programme also enables computer scientists to specialise in health care.
I got acquainted with research work even before I finished my undergraduate studies. I started in the Biocybernetics Laboratory at the University of Ljubljana. After graduation I stayed at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and I continued working and studying until I received a PhD. When I was preparing my thesis on artificial intelligence and robotics I did most of the work at the Turing Institute in Great Britain where they had a well equipped robotics laboratory. After finishing my PhD studies I had two postdoctoral scholarships: one in Great Britain and one in Australia. When I came to Australia I started doing research in medical image processing which is still my main field of work. In the year 2000 I left the University of Ljubljana and since then I have been working at the University in Sydney.
I really like my work. Besides having a career in science I am also socially active and I am a mother. After I had received an MSc in Electrical Engineering, I had a son who is now a student. My work at the university is an inexhaustible source of new challenges and it really completes me. It gives me the opportunity to visit different universities around the world and to co-operate with them.