Aussie health hackers solving STEM shortage

First published on – November 7th, 2014

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi  on Unsplash



elbourne was home to a weekend long hackathon where IT and health professionals pooled their resources and data to solve problems the medical industry can’t.

There’s a bit of a problem in medical research these days. So much data; not enough resources. But Maia Sauren, a biomedical engineering researcher turned software consultant she knows the answer lies in the IT sector which is full of enthusiastic problem-solvers. Maia organised HealthHack which has run twice in Melbourne and has now branched out to Sydney in 2014 with great success.

The weekend-long hackathon brings together medical researchers with a problem and IT enthusiasts with skills in data, software, user experience and visualization to produce a usable product by the end of the program.

HealthHack 2014 produced a number of programs to allow researchers working with biological samples to take the data collected and find the significant information rather than having an analysis team spend valuable time sifting through it manually to get back to the lab technicians for action. This seems to be the biggest problem facing researchers that IT can easily provide solutions for.

The winning Sydney team produced the Panogram Pedigree Drawing Tool, a multiplatform real-time family tree tracking tool for genetics study. Believe it or not, researchers normally rely on pen and paper models which is time-consuming and needs to be re-started each time progress is made…