Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Research Profile: Samar Al-Hajj, School of Interactive Arts and Technology

September 11, 2013

Samar Al-Hajj's academic journey has taken her around the world from Beirut to San Francisco and now to metro Vancouver.

Before becoming a PhD candidate at SFU's School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Samar worked for over five years in health information systems at several prominent hospitals and research centres. She is also a Research Assistant at SCIENCE Lab, School of Interactive Art + Technology (SIAT).

Her primary research interest is the integration and application of Visual Analytics (VA) to medical and public health research problems. Visual Analytics (VA) is defined as the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces.

She says, “The latest technologies generate massive amounts of complex and multidimensional medical data. My work demonstrates that visual analytics can facilitate the data exploration process and help medical professionals understand and effectively analyze massive and dynamic data to make informed decisions about critical medical situations."

Initially, Samar worked with immunologists and biomedical researchers at the Centre for Understanding and Preventing Infection in Children, BC Children’s Hospital. She assisted in analyzing Flow Cytometry immunological data to understand the immunodeficiency and the causes of morbidity and mortality of HIV Exposed but Uninfected (HEU) infants in Cape Town, South Africa. The research outcome was fruitful and Samar was the winner of the Discovery Exhibition Student Award 2011 (IEEE, VisWeek 2011).

Currently, Samar is working for the Developmental Neurosciences and Child Health Research Department at the Child and Family Research Institute (CFRI), BC Children’s Hospital. Her research focuses on the design and evaluation of Interactive Visual Analytics System Dashboard to facilitate problem solving and support decision-making for the Canadian Child and Youth Injury prevention program.

The ultimate goal of the potential system dashboard is to help injury practitioners, health professionals and policy makers interactively explore and analyze complex injury indicators data as well as to assist them in making informed and timely decisions and taking appropriate actions to improve child and youth injury prevention in Canada.

Samar is the recipient of the Andrew Wade Memorial Scholarship in Visual Analytics for outstanding student in the field of Visual Analytics, as well as the Faculty of Communication Art & Technology (FCAT) Graduate Fellowship in recognition of her academic achievements, in addition to a number of other awards and graduate fellowships.

  • LinkedIn: Samar Al-Hajj
  • SIAT profile: Samar Al-Hajj
  • Supervisor: Dr. Brian Fisher, Associate Professor, Director SFU/SCIENCE Lab, Associate Director, UBC/Media And Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre
  • Co-Supervisor: Dr. Ian Pike, Assistant Professor UBC/Pediatrics, Clinical Investigator, CFRI
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