Jennifer Yeung – Pawsey HPC Research Fellow, University of Ontario

Protecting babies and astronauts

Being a Pawsey user has led to trailblazing of a different kind for researcher Jennifer Yeung.

With a degree in aerospace engineering and a professional master’s in aerospace design management, Jennifer worked in Canada’s aerospace industry for five years and taught herself programming to use the data generated in aircraft designs to improve aircraft certification processes. Her study and work led her into big data analytics and her Master of Computer Science research that combines her technical skills in space and computer science with her passion for making positive change directly for people.

“My research at Pawsey involves an online health analytics platform called Artemis. Artemis provisions physiological data collected from bedside monitors in neonatal intensive care units with clinical algorithms to detect subtle changes in a patient’s condition,” Jennifer explains. “For remote hospitals where patient transport to a tertiary unit may be required to treat unique conditions but this may not be readily available, data can be streamed from the hospital through Pawsey cloud computing service, Nimbus, to be seen by urban specialists. This enables real time clinical decision support at the hospital without transporting the patient right away.”

“Artemis can enhance the quality of patient care by allowing more timely diagnoses and faster recognition of deterioration in a patient’s condition. This can improve health care and increase survival rates for our most vulnerable patients,” she says.
In addition to monitoring premature babies on Earth, Jennifer’s research is also extending the Artemis platform to similarly monitor astronaut health in long duration spaceflight.

Jennifer originally worked on Artemis through the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Research Scholarship at the Department of Health Western Australia as a Policy Officer. As a result of her term there, she was invited to become the inaugural Pawsey HPC Research Fellow in March 2019, a fellowship aimed at diversifying the technical professionals in the HPC industry and bringing different perspectives to HPC applications and solutions.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity to work with healthcare professionals, government officials, and supercomputing experts to implement innovations in healthcare that will make a positive difference for patients,” Jennifer admits. “At the same time, working amongst the research and innovation opportunities here is incredible to witness – there are so many relevant issues that are actively being addressed and advanced by supercomputing.”

From teaching herself to code as an aerospace engineer in Canada, Jennifer is now making a difference for patients in healthcare in Australia. “I’m incredibly proud of this feat, but it’s quite the plot twist if you told me I’d get to work at a supercomputing centre, five years ago.”

Working at Pawsey inspires Jennifer as it exposes her to projects that impact real-world problems that directly affect people and the planet. In turn, as the Pawsey HPC Research Fellow, she is a passionate advocate for diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). “Whenever I get a chance to speak at events, conferences and seminars, I encourage students, staff and technical professionals to explore their passions, diversify their interests and explore cross-disciplinary careers. I’m also realising as a technical specialist that I have a responsibility to share the benefits of these innovations more widely, for example by being transparent about how user data is collected, how user privacy is protected, and ultimately how HPC and big data analytics can be regulated safely to benefit our day-to-day lives.”