Is Reality Catching Up with Iron Man? Evolution in Brain–Machine Interface
Free Public Lecture
Auditorium, Melbourne Brain Centre
Kenneth Myer Building
Royal Parade, Parkville
Once deemed the stuff of science fiction, implantable devices such as the cochlear implant and pacemakers are now mainstream in today’s medical practice. Such devices have already had a huge impact on health. So, what will the next generation of intelligent implantable technology look like? How will they pioneer the future of personalised therapeutics?
Intelligent implants are being used to help diagnose and predict a range of conditions. Researchers are developing bionic eye devices to restore a sense of vision to people with retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. A University of Melbourne team has developed Stentrode™, a device that is implanted into a blood vessel next to the brain area that controls movement. In time, this may be used to control an exoskeleton to enable paralysed people to move again.
These are just some of the ways implantable electronic medical devices are revolutionising the brain-machine interface. Join us for an evening with the experts as we explore the future of implantables and the broader social and ethical implications of this technology.
Associate Professor Kate Drummond, Neurosurgeon
Associate Professor Kate Drummond
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Associate Professor Kate Drummond, MD, MBBS, FRACS, graduated from the University of Sydney in 1988 and trained in Neurosurgery in Sydney and Melbourne. She furthered her training with both clinical and research fellowships in Neurooncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard University in Boston. She was awarded an MD from the University of Melbourne in 2008. She is Director of Neurosurgery at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Head of Central nervous System Tumours for the VCCC. Her chief research and clinical interests are in the biology and clinical management of brain tumours. She has published more than 100 peerreviewed articles, many book chapters and is frequently invited to speak nationally and internationally. She serves on a number of national cancer and brain tumour groups. She is Neurosurgery Editor of the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience and Chief Examiner in Neurosurgery for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. She is the DeputyChair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Section of Women in Surgery, and has received the RACS Medal for Services to RACS.
Associate Professor Megan Munsie, Head of the Education, Ethics, Law & Community Awareness Unit
Associate Professor Megan Munsie
Head of the Education, Ethics, Law & Community Awareness Unit
Stem Cells Australia and Centre for Stem Cell Systems
Associate Professor Megan Munsie is a scientist who has combined her extensive technical expertise in stem cell science with an interest and understanding of the complex ethical, social and regulatory issues associated with stem cells in research and in the clinic. A/Prof Munsie is the Head of the Education, Ethics, Law & Community Awareness Unit, a position jointly funded by the University of Melbourne and Monash University. She is also the Policy and Outreach Manager for the Stem Cells Australia initiative.
Dr Nicholas Opie, Vascular Bionics Laboratory.
Dr Nicholas Opie
Vascular Bionics Laboratory.
University of Melbourne
Dr Nicholas Opie is a biomedical engineer with experience in neural prostheses and cohead of the Vascular Bionics Laboratory. Dr Opie completed his BE (Hons) and BSc undergraduate degrees at Monash University in 2007 and 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 totaling more than $5.5M has enabled Dr Opie to establish and colead the Vascular Bionics Laboratory within the Department of Medicine at The University of Melbourne; a laboratory which 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 Mark Cook, Sir John Eccles Chair of Medicine
Professor Mark Cook
Sir John Eccles Chair of Medicine
St Vincent’s Hospital
Director of the Graeme Clark Institute, and Sir John Eccles Chair of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne. I also direct the Department of Neurology, St. Vincent's Hospital, with both clinical and administrative responsibilities. I spend 1 day weekly in clinical practice. My specific scientific and clinical expertise has created a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in developing translational research to the treatment of intractable epilepsy. My aim has been to develop a basic and translational research program focused on epilepsy and other neurological diseases to drive the development of collaborative clinical research infrastructure that crosses disciplines. My objectives have included the development of new and innovative imaging processes, basic cell biology in epilepsy and the neurophysiology of epilepsy.
Professor Penelope Allen, Centre for Eye Research Australia and Bionic Vision Australia