VR in the ER
A fascination with virtual reality and health informatics could help this medicine student save lives
Weber Liu has his sights set on developing new approaches to virtual reality that can be used in medical education and to improve patient outcomes. In his third year of the double degree medicine program at the University of Sydney (he also has a science degree under his belt), Weber says his dream of becoming a doctor looked shaky until his final years at school, when he finally “took ownership of my education and pushed myself”.
He loved chemistry and physics, but Weber knew he needed a solid foundation in biology to study medicine. His science degree allowed him to fast-track those subjects, and he also threw himself into science subjects like physiology, neuroscience and pharmacology.
“Now that I have an in-depth grasp of biology concepts, it has really helped me prepare in biochemistry and physiology, and have the confidence to study medicine,” he says.
While he still hopes to become a surgeon, Weber says he’s also open to seeing where his academic journey takes him. “Biomedical engineering may be an option. Whatever I do, I want to work with engineers to bring new technologies and better methods to improve medicine.”
Having a mentor at university has also been a huge help with furthering his studies.
“My supervisor was really approachable,” Weber says. “He pushed me to explore my interest in computer science.”
Weber is now writing virtual reality applications as educational tools for teaching bioscience with health informatics, which blends his love of computer science and neuroscience. “This lets me combine my interests in computer science, advanced biology and neuroscience,” he says.
He believes there’s a strong role for virtual reality and augmented reality programs in medical education and clinical studies.
“Immersive environments allow students to understand the incredible scale of things even within the smallest of spaces, such as being inside a neuron. It’s an experience and insight that you could never get from just a medical textbook.”
– Brendan Fitzpatrick