Researcher

Associate Professor John McGhee

My Expertise

I have expertise in the Virtual Reality, Immersive Design, 3D Computer animation, VFX, 3D computer visualisation, 3D Biomedical Visualisation & Animation and Interactive Media Arts

Fields of Research (FoR)

Computer gaming and animation, Interactive media, Digital and electronic media art

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Biography

I am the Director and Founder of the award winning  3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab. My academic research work explores arts-led and design-led modes of visualising complex scientific and biomedical data. My research investigates the application of creative practice, technical innovation and immersive platforms to new data visualisation challenges. Areas of research include 3D virtual world design, 3D computer animation, VFX, 3D biomedical...view more

I am the Director and Founder of the award winning  3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab. My academic research work explores arts-led and design-led modes of visualising complex scientific and biomedical data. My research investigates the application of creative practice, technical innovation and immersive platforms to new data visualisation challenges. Areas of research include 3D virtual world design, 3D computer animation, VFX, 3D biomedical visualisation & Animation and reflective practice.


My Grants

Title: Journey to the Centre of the Cell (JTCC)
Funder: ARC Centre of Excellence (CoE) Bio-Nano Science (CBNS)
Status: Chief Investigator and Area Leader                       
Start Date: 2015 - End Date: 2020

Title:  Cellular Genomics Visualisation in Virtual Reality
Funder: Garvan Medical Institute Sydney
Status: Chief Investigator
Start Date: Jan 2020 - End Date: Dec 2020

Title:  Acute Pain Management - Virtual Reality prototype
Funder: St Vincent’s Hospital
Status: Chief Investigator
Start Date: April 2018 - End Date: Sept 2018

Title:  Cellular Genomics Visualisation in Virtual Reality
Funder: Garvan Medical Institute Sydney
Status: Chief Investigator
Start Date: June 2017 - End Date: June 2018

Title:  VR Blood Exhibition Commission – University of Melbourne
Funder: Melbourne University
Status: Commissioned Artist
Start Date: Jan 2017 - End Date: Aug 2017

Title: 3D Visualisation Virtual Reality (VR) Suite
Funder: Major Research Equipment and Infrastructure Initiative (MREII) - UNSW Sydney
Status: Principal Investigator
Start Date: Jan 2015 - End Date: Dec 2015

Title: 3D MED-i – An exploration of immersive arts-led 3D visualisation approaches in stroke rehabilitation at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney (SVH)
Funder: UNSW Sydney and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney
Status: Principle Investigator
Start Date: Jan 2015 - End Date: Dec 2015

Title: Acute Coronary Syndrome – Patient Visualisation Narrative
Status: Co-Investigator
Funder: Chief Scientist Office (Scotland, UK)
Start Date: Dec 2013 - End Date: 2016

Title: Young children cystic fibrosis – Patient Animation Narrative
Status: Co-Investigator
Funder: Chief Scientist Office (Scotland, UK)
Start Date: Dec 2013 - End Date: Dec 2015

Title: ‘Development of Interventions to Increase Physical Activity Among Inactive Young People with Long-term Conditions: MRC Complex Intervention Framework Phase I Study using Asthma as an Exemplar’.
Status: Co-Investigator, University of Dundee Principle Investigator
Funder: Chief Scientist Office (Scotland)
Start Date: Sept 2011 - End Date: Sept 2013

Title: Visualising the invisible: developing innovative approaches to visualisation to help NHS staff 
Status: Co-Investigator, University of Dundee Principle Investigator
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council: A Healthier Scotland
Start Date: Sept 2011 - End Date: March 2013

Title: INTERACT 
Status: Co-Investigator 
Funder: SINAPSE - Scottish Funding Council 
Start Date: Oct 2010 - End Date: Oct 2013

Innovation Portal Scottish Enterprise Voucher
Title: Blood Flow
Status: Project Principle Investigator
Funder: Tayflow Technologies

 


My Qualifications

BSc (Hons) Design for Industry - Grays School of Art, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. UK

MSc - Animation and Visualisation (with Distinction) Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), University of Dundee, UK

PhD - Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), University of Dundee, UK. UK based Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Fully Funded Doctoral Fellowship. Thesis title: ‘Visualise: An exploration of an artist’s approach to 3D computer visualisation in clinical radiology’

Post-Graduate Cert in Teaching and Assessing in Higher Education. University of Dundee, UK.


My Awards

2021 ARC CBNS Centre of Excellence - Distinguished Research Award

2020 Eureka Award Nomination - Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology for BioNanoVR https://www.unsw.edu.au/news/2020/09/unsw-finalists-announced-in-2020-eureka-prizes

2017 The Year’s Most Significant Publication – CBNS ARC Centre of Excellence

2016 St Vincent’s Health Group Australia - Innovation and Excellence – Award. ‘Fantastic Journey VR work’ – Winner

2016 Unite - Unity 3D – Finalist for Golden Cube and Best VizSim Project.

2015 UNSW Sydney 20 Rising Stars Who Will Change Our World


My Research Activities

My research explores computer arts-led modes of visualising and experiencing complex 3D scientific and biomedical data. In my most recent research work, I have been using 3D computer visualisation approaches, with screen-based media and Virtual Reality (VR) Head Mounted Displays (HMD).

Since founding the 3DVAL at UNSW in November 2013, my vision has been to create a world-class research lab in the 3D biomedical visualisation art and design space. My focus has been to establish and grow the research team within the 3DVAL. As the Lab’s Director, I currently manage professional staff, Post-Docs and supervise PhDs, MPhils and MFA students. I have built this research capacity primarily through the Australian Research Council (ARC) and industry-led contract research funding awards.

The most significant funding award that I have received is as Chief Investigator and 3D Visualisation area lead on the ARC ‘Centre of Excellence’ scheme in Bio-Nano Science and Technology (CBNS). I have also attracted contract research funding through projects with Syngenta Australia, St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, the Garvan Institute, Melbourne Science Gallery and the Australian Museum. 
 
My work consists of both traditional and creative non-traditional research outputs (NTROs). I have published academic journal articles in ‘Leonardo’, ‘Arts and Health’, ‘Studies on Material Thinking’ and the high impact journal ‘Traffic’, amongst other publications. As a practicing 3D CG artist, I have also continued to grow my own creative outputs. My collaborative brain VR work ‘Topologies of Stroke’ was accepted for the national ‘People Like Us’ Exhibition, which toured Australia for three years. My VR work was also included in Siggraph Asia in 2016. In 2017, I had stroke VR work selected for the high profile international ‘Blood’ exhibition at the Melbourne Science Gallery. My artistic practice is also growing in the international computer graphics field, with work accepted in ACM conferences such as Siggraph 2019, Siggraph Asia 2019, VRST 2019 and VRCAI 2019.

The Lab’s VR ‘Journey to the Centre of the Cell’ work has been covered by Wired, Mashable, National Geographic, SBS, ABC, SMH and New Scientist. It also featured in ABC’s Catalyst TV show. I also actively participate in a number of public engagement events, and have presented at TEDx, Unite (Unity3D showcase), Nvidia GTXc and Vivid Ideas Sydney.  This has culminated in John being recognised as one of UNSW Australia’s 21 Rising Stars in research leadership and a nomination of the Eureka Prize in 2020.


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

My teaching interests combine the areas of 3D Computer Animation; 3D Visualisation, VFX and research methods.


Currently supervising

Completions

PhD Completion 2019  UNSW Art & Design, Australia, Scott Brown Thesis title: Design for Togetherness: Neurodiverse conversation in interactive praxis.

PhD Completion 2017  DJCAD, University of Dundee, UK, Kieran Baxter - Thesis title: Topography and flight: The creative application of aerial photography and digital visualisation for landscape heritage.

MPhil Kate Patterson – Practice-based. Reflective practice and ways of working in 3D molecular computer animation and visualisation.

Current PhDs

PhD Candidate. Stefanie Kuzmiski. A practice-based enquiry into the educational, conceptual and aesthetic significance of a 3D computer artist's intervention in the creation of an interactive VR educational experiences.

PhD Candidate. Benjamin Bailey. A practice-based PhD exploring visualisation authenticity in Real-time 3D gaming environment design.

PhD Candidate. Hao Zhou. Illuminating Creative Practice in the Production of Virtual Reality: Three Case Studies in Australian Art Museums

PhD Candidate. David Wilkins. Qantas as partner: An exploration of the Motion Capture and 3D visualisation design in immersive Virtual Reality Training 

PhD Candidate. Sarah Eddowes. The Digital Drip: Moving material-based art making between the physical and virtual making spaces.

Current Masters

MFA Bec Litvan -  Practice-based. The kitsch glitch: A practice-based exploration of the cultural shame and stigmatisation of cancer

Examinations

External PhD's examiner x 5

External MPhil examiner x 1

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Location

GG10, 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab

Map reference (Google map)

Contact

0290658186

Videos

A 3D-visualisation of soap destroying the coronavirus is a poignant reminder that simply washing your hands can help stem the pandemic.

The scientifically accurate simulation, a collaboration between UNSW Art & Design and UNSW Science, shows soap acting on contaminated skin covered with tiny coronavirus particles.

The simulation uses a cinematic approach and evocative animation to deliver a message that’s accessible to adults and children alike.

The simulation was created by UNSW’s 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab, which explores arts- and design-led visualisations of complex scientific and biomedical data. The Lab creates immersive platforms that play out scientific phenomena, such as drug interactions with cancerous cells or interactive personalised scans of strokes to help patients understand their treatment.
Assoc. Prof John McGhee discusses the application of VR in the Scientific discovery and Medical fields.
John McGhee is a 3D Computer Artist whose work explores of the visualisation of complex scientific and biomedical data using 3D computer animation techniques, most recently on Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. Projects include using VR in stroke rehabilitation, clinical MRI 3D visualisation for patient education and the application of VR in bio-nano cellular data visualisation. This has culminated in John being recognised as one of UNSW Australia’s 21 ‘Rising Stars’.
Using data from high-resolution electron microscopy we have reconstructed a human breast cancer cell in 3D in order to better visualise mechanisms of nanoparticle internalisation and trafficking. This 'flythough' movie shows the external and internal VR cell environments, allowing the view to walk on- or inside, a cancer cell. This is a collaborative project funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Bio-Nano Science and Technology.
Dr John McGhee is a 3D Computer Artist, Senior Lecturer and the Director of the 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab at UNSW Art & Design. John’s academic research work explores art and design-led modes of visualising complex scientific and biomedical data using 3D computer animation techniques, most recently on Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. His work includes the deployment of VR in stroke rehabilitation, clinical MRI 3D visualisation for patient education and the application of VR in bio-nano cellular data visualisation. This has culminated in John being recognised as one of UNSW Australia’s 21 ‘Rising Stars’.


FANTASTIC JOURNEY - ABC Catalyst Show
ABC Interview
Soap vs COVID-19: A 3D-visualisation gamifies the power of simple hygiene
ABC News Interview 19 December 2017
UNSOMNIA 2.017 - John McGhee - Democratisation of Inner Space
Journey to the Centre of the Cell - 3DVAL
TEDx UNSW 2016
FANTASTIC JOURNEY - ABC Catalyst Show
ABC Interview - Dr John McGhee, 'Body Image' Exhibition