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Dr Federico Colecchia
Lecturer in Creative Electronics and Programming

Research area(s)

Emerging technologies. Machine learning. Artificial Intelligence. Immersive technologies. Data mining. Information visualisation. Embedded electronics. Human Computer Interaction. Human Centred Design.

Research Interests

My research focusses on the integration between technology development, to be interpreted as development of core technologies as well as development of new application use cases of technologies in their existing form, and Human Centred Design. My work has a marked interdisciplinary character and a significant part of it has been carried out in close collaboration with private sector and clinical organisations. My current research focusses on machine learning (and artificial intelligence more broadly) and immersive technologies, with an emphasis on applications in the healthcare domain. I am a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Head of External Engagement and Partnership with the Brunel Centre for AI. I have 20+ years of R&D experience in academia and in the private sector, which has led to my establishment of a broad international network of academic and industrial collaborators. 

I have been active in Higher Education since 2002. I have led several undergraduate and postgraduate modules, and am presently in charge of a Year 3 Brunel Design undergraduate module covering electronics and microcontroller programming for product design (FHEQ L6), of a Year 2 undergraduate module on electronic systems, programming, and interfacing (FHEQ L6), and of the Brunel Design MSc dissertation module (FHEQ L7). Modules I previously ran include Systems Design (digital systems).

I was awarded a doctoral degree (PhD) in Physics from the University of Padova in 2001, following work on a large-scale physics experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in the USA. I subsequently built an interdisciplinary research and innovation portfolio around applications of artificial intelligence across discipline boundaries, with an emphasis on the biomedical domain - brain tumour segmentation from MRI scans, protein-DNA binding site prediction, informed decision-making in the pharmaceutical sector.

Following my work in Padova and at Stanford, I have been a research staff member at University College London (UCL), Brunel University London, and Lund University, honorary research scientist with the UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and project leader in the private sector. My research has been funded by UK Research Councils, the EU, and private investors, and has involved close collaboration with multinational technology companies such as QinetiQ. I have collaborated closely with clinicians, biologists, statisticians, mathematicians, sociologists, psychologists, educationalists, and designers, thereby developing a robust understanding of interdisciplinary collaboration dynamics and a deep appreciation of knowledge exchange and research exploitation pathways.

I have published research in computer science, human-computer interaction, design, bioinformatics, and physics, and my academic articles have received more than 6,000 citations (ResearchGate, 2023). I am sole inventor on a US patent on distributed storage and visualisation of large relational datasets. I have delivered presentations at international conferences across academic fields, chaired conference sessions, and peer-reviewed scholarly publications in medicine, human-computer interaction, and physics. Working across discipline boundaries has enabled me to publish in multiple journals and other publication outlets (from Physical Review Letters to Nucleic Acids Research to publications edited by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors). This has amplified considerably the academic impact of my research.


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