ABSMeet 2016 Featured Speakers


Dr Nicholas Opie

Minimally Invasive Neural Interface

Dr Nicholas Opie is a biomedical engineer with experience in neural prostheses. Dr Opie was awarded his PhD in 2012 for research developing a bionic eye. He was employed as the Surgical Program Coordinator on Bionic Vision Australia’s retinal prosthesis project, and was integral in development and preclinical validation of the technology designed to restore rudimentary vision to the profoundly blind. This device was implanted in three patients in 2014 with great success. In 2012, Dr Opie was awarded a $1.33M grant from US defence organization DARPA to develop a minimally invasive brain machine interface. This funding, and subsequent funding totalling more than $5.5M has enabled Dr Opie to establish and co-lead the Vascular Bionics Laboratory within the Department of Medicine at The University of Melbourne; a laboratory that has grown to support more than 20 graduate and undergraduate researchers. Dr Opie is leading the research team conducting preclinical safety and efficacy trials on a device capable of recording neural information from within a blood vessel, which may enable direct brain control of wheelchairs, exoskeletons and computers to people with paralysis as early as 2017. Dr Opie is the founding CTO of SmartStent, a company incorporated to translate endovascular bionic technology into clinical application.



Professor Rob Shepherd

Bionic ears, neurobionics and bioelectronics

Professor Rob Shepherd is the Director of The Bionics Institute and Head of the Medical Bionics Department at the University of Melbourne. In the 1980’s he led the preclinical team that demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Cochlear’s bionic ear, and more recently his team developed a prototype bionic eye as part of an Australia-wide collaboration – Bionic Vision Australia. Prof Shepherd has overseen the expansion of the Bionic Institute, broadening its research portfolio to include neurobionics technology for diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and the stimulation of visceral nerves. In 2014 he was awarded the Garnett Passe Medal at the Royal Society of Medicine, London for his contributions to Otolaryngology and in 2015 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a member of Knowledge Nation 100.


Jenny Rodger

Associate Professor Jennifer Rodger

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in a mouse model of depression*
*Top Ranked Award Presentation

Dr Jennifer Rodger is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at Experimental and Regenerative Neurosciences, School of Animal Biology, University of Western Australia. She completed a BScHons in Biochemistry at the University of Bath, UK, followed by a PhD at the University Pierre et Marie Curie, France. Her research  team investigates mechanisms of brain plasticity and repair, including preclinical studies of non-invasive brain stimulation in injured and abnormal brain circuits. Dr Rodger has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers in journals including the Journal of Neuroscience and FASEB Journal and is funded by the NHMRC, ARC and Neurotrauma Research Program (WA).

000_0352 (1)Dr Robin Cash

Influence of BDNF polymorphism on neural circuitry and relationship to plasticity in human motor cortex*
*Top Ranked Award Presentation

Robin completed his PhD with Gary Thickbroom in 2011, and then went on to perform research projects with Ulf Ziemann in Frankfurt and Dylan Edwards in New York. He then commenced his postdoctoral position with Robert Chen in Toronto. He has recently joined Paul Fitzgerald’s group in Melbourne. Robin’s research has centred on neuroplasticity and neurophysiology in health and disease using a diverse array of techniques including TMS, tACS/tDCS, TMS-EEG, MRI, MEG, DBS and NIRS.


ABSMeet 2016 Program

Download the program HERE