Seeing the lungs in a new light

Dr Marcus Kitchen, from the School of Physics, was recognised for his significant contribution in the field lung imaging, where for several years he has been investigating novel X-ray imaging techniques for studying lung development.

Dr Marcus Kitchen, from the School of Physics, was recognised for his significant contribution in the field lung imaging, where for several years he has been investigating novel X-ray imaging techniques for studying lung development.

Monash University researcher Dr Marcus Kitchen has been awarded the inaugural Dr Phillip Law AC post-doctoral award for the physical sciences

Presented by the Royal Society of Victoria, the award recognises excellence in scientific research by an early career researcher in the physical sciences.

Dr Kitchen, from the School of Physics, was recognised for his significant contribution in the field lung imaging, where for several years he has been investigating novel X-ray imaging techniques for studying lung development.

Dr Kitchen is a founding member of a research team - the only group in the world employing synchrotron x-ray imaging to image air as it enters the lungs at birth.

Techniques employed by the team aim to better understand how to manage the transition to air-breathing in infants at birth, particularly infants born preterm with under-developed lungs. 

Few people can claim to have made significant advances in physical science that have led to life saving changes in clinical practice. Dr Kitchen’s work has enabled the lungs to be seen with far greater contrast than has ever before been possible with conventional x-ray imaging techniques.

“Our research projects utilise advanced X-ray imaging techniques using synchrotron radiation to observe how the lungs aerate at birth,” Dr Kitchen said. 

“Our team has employed advances in imaging technology to quantify the structure and function of the lungs to understand the mechanisms by which the lungs aerate at birth, critical to the survival of all infants. 

“Insight into this complex process has enabled us to find safer ways to ventilate newborn and premature babies in respiratory distress, leading to changes in clinical practice around the world that increase their survival rate.

“It is very humbling that this work has been recognised by the Royal Society of Victoria and to have won the inaugural Phillip Law Postdoctoral Prize.”

As part of the award, Dr Kitchen was invited to provide a brief review of his work for publication in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria.

For more information, visit the Royal Society of Victoria website.