The 2018 Perth Biodesign course kicks off tonight with the first session being generously hosted by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation (CERI). Tonight’s session marks the first time that participants will meet each other, their designated teams and alumni mentors. Over the next six months, the teams will work together to identify and validate an unmet need and work together to develop a solution.

If you are interested in being a part of the 2020 Perth Biodesign course, you can find out more about the course or send in an expression of interest here.

Team 1

Nathanael Yates

I am a neuroscience researcher with broad interests in brain development, injury, and mental health. My personal goal is to improve long-term brain development, by intervening early in life for high-risk groups for brain injury or poor mental health. Through my extensive volunteer work and experience as a biomedical researcher I have developed diverse expertise suited to evaluating brain function (neuroimaging and physiology), neurodegeneration, and therapeutic strategies (nutrition and pharmacological testing). I have a strong desire for translating my research ideas into commercial biomedical products in the next 2 years. This includes developing early diagnostic tests to predict poor brain development, evaluating novel therapies to reduce brain injury, and developing continuous monitoring technologies to improve clinical care.

Ciara Duffy

Ciara obtained her Bachelor of Science with Honours in Anatomy / Human Biology and Physiology at UWA. She is currently completing her PhD at UWA and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, researching novel treatments for the most aggressive types of breast cancer. She was supported by UWA and the Cancer Council of WA to conduct international research in Ireland and England. This year, she won the Western Australian Young Achiever Award for Innovation. She is passionate about furthering the biomedical ecosystem and innovation in Western Australia.

Sara Suk-Udom

Sara is currently a student at the University of Western Australia, majoring in Finance and Medical Sciences. Her extracurricular experience has been focussed in strategy and projects across a range of areas, including marketing, education, and startups, most recently joining Visagio as a management consultant in data and analytics. After graduating, she hopes to fuse her interests in business and medtech to work on developing health management platforms that are intuitive and effective for everyday users.

Valentina Tiporlini

Dr Valentina Tiporlini is a postdoctoral researcher, currently carrying out research on catheter for atrial fibrillation ablation procedure.
She graduated from Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy with a Bachelor of Electronic Engineering in March 2005. She remained in the same university to complete her Masters degree in Microelectronic Engineering in July 2008. After graduation, she moved to Australia and in 2014 she completed a PhD degree at the Electron Science Research Institute at Edith Cowan University, where she undertook R&D activities on the development of an optical magnetometer for heart beating sensing. During PhD she collaborated with the Korean Research Institute of Standards and Science in Daejeon, South Korea, where she spent three months in 2009.
Dr Tiporlini areas of interest include: Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), optical magnetometry, signal processing, imaging analysis, adaptive noise reduction, artificial intelligence.

Ravikiran Sonawane

I am an intensivist working at Rockingham General Hospital, Western Australia where I am the director of the unit.

I am passionate about organ donation and am the Medical Director for DonateLife at Rockingham Hospital. I am passionate about use of technology in day to day life and I believe that technology and innovation have the potential to maximize limited resources to deliver safe and quality care.

I love using technology to minimize duplication of work and improve workflow. I have made and maintain a database for our ICU which helps in electronic notes, maintains records and improves workflow. An advantage of this was to remove handwriting as a source of error. At the same time, due to the way medical notes are designed, medical staff are forced to enter certain information in a particular way which ultimately records all aspects of patient care, addressing some safety and quality issues.

Team 2

Alishum Ali

My name is Alishum Ali, I’m a husband, father to two amazing boys and a multi-disciplinary scientist from a refugee background. I possess a double degree with honours and after 7 years of working in research and various scientific industries, I was given the opportunity to enrol in a PhD at Curtin University. The decision to do a PhD was intricately personal and also born out of frustration with the inability of the current medical system to explain why certain conditions happen.

In 2015 my son was born 17 weeks earlier than his “valentine’s day” due date in 2016. The inability of clinicians to explain why it occurred and how to effectively stop it from reoccurring puzzled me. Finally, the grim reality of the preterm birth condition forced me to look for ways to make a difference in the lives of my own family and of many others. That is why I’m here at Biodesign.

Devaki Wallooppillai

Devaki is a 25 year old doctor in training at Fiona Stanley Hospital. She is currently near completion of a Master of Public Health and Master of Health Management.

Devaki loved most of her medical rotations and, wanting to make healthcare changes on a wider population basis, is a current General Practice trainee. She has an understanding of technologies that are used in clinical practice and possible areas of development and was recently involved in a Service Improvement Project to improve the transfer process for thousands of patients each year.

She is passionate about equal opportunities for all, health education, health economics and innovation on a wide scale.

She is currently a co-creator and president of a mentorship programme for female doctors-in-training in her hospital - enlightenMED - as well as in the leadership group of the local chapter of the Institute of Health Improvement.

Eldin Rostom

Eldin was born and raised in Mauritius where he spent most of his early adulthood. He moved to Australia in 2013 to study for a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and graduated with first class honours in 2017.

Eldin has always admired renowned inventors such as Nikola Tesla and is at same time very passionate about the medical industry. He thrives on the idea of solving world health issues by tackling them at their root causes.

In his free time, Eldin loves to read books and play basketball. He loves Formula One and thoroughly enjoys Motorsport as he frequently visits his previous Formula SAE team at Curtin University to mentor them.

After his recent experiences as a graduate, he concluded that the most complex "machine" an engineer can ever work on is the human body and his future career will hopefully encompass his values to make the world a better place.

Devina Lakhiani

Daphne is a UWA graduate with a first class honours degree in Biomedical Science. She was awarded an IPRS scholarship to pursue her PhD in cancer research, and is currently in her final year. Science has always intrigued her, but compassion has always fuelled her desire to help create positive change. Daphne is a dynamic and driven individual who welcomes challenges, embraces learning and loves meeting new people. She thrives on a daily dose of sports/physical activity and delights in a good read for rest and relaxation. Daphne prides on working towards a common goal, because she believes accomplishing something as a team is far more rewarding than alone. Her experience in research has taught her patience, perseverance and determination are crucial to achieving success. Her one goal in life is to live true to her fullest potential in the hope of achieving a better world for years to come.

Richard Macliver

My name is Richard Macliver and am originally from Bunbury, Western Australia. I have always wanted to be involved in healthcare, but was never sure in what capacity that would be. I went to UWA and I eventually graduated with a major in anatomy and human biology. I quickly realised that this did not actually mean much and was left seeking answers to what I can do.

I started work at a physiotherapist as reception staff and quickly moved into helping run the practice more efficiently, created a new program for cardiovascular risk assessments and coordinated a research project on ice compression garments after surgery.

I was then approached by Elastoplast to be the sales representative for WA and was involved in setting up, running and maintaining the sporting side of their sales stream.

I now work as a health scientist and business development manager for a medical technology company.

Team 3

Joe Davis

Joe is a Veterinary surgeon with over 15 years clinical experience in the UK, New Zealand and Australia across a range of species working in both private practice and for government.
He is currently working in Busselton as a general practitioner in the production animal sector. Recently he obtained his membership of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in the field of Ruminant Nutrition. After developing an interest in agritechnology and keen to explore possibilities in this field, he decided to enrol in a post graduate certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at The University of Western Australia where he is currently studying. Outside work he used to enjoy rugby, triathlon and snowboarding but now his 2 young sons take up all his free-time.

Martine Keenan

Martine is a medicinal chemist with 20 years’ experience in the drug discovery industry. She was inspired to be a scientist after watching a documentary on the discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick. Originally from the UK, Martine has worked on early phase drug discovery projects across a variety of therapeutic areas including neuroscience, infectious diseases and oncology. She has joined this program to combine a love of learning with her goal to use scientific knowledge for the benefit of others. In her spare time, Martine likes to be outside, preferably playing golf.


Robert Knott

Rob has taken a long and winding path to enter the world of business. Having originally started studying Mechanical Engineering in Scotland, his journey has taken him through primary school teaching in England, Sharjah and Western Australia. Having come over to the corporate world through an MBA at UWA, Rob joined EY and is now a Manager in their Supply Chain and Operations practice. Rob’s focus across multiple sectors and projects has consolidated his ability to think critically and innovatively, to apply solutions to new situations, identifying root cause issues to design and deliver sustainable results.

Selam Ahderom

Dr. Selam Ahderom is a researcher and educator originally from Africa. His research focus includes the development of optical and electro-optic systems, optical coherence tomography for medical imaging and machine learning models applied to optical systems. He has a PhD in Engineering from Edith Cowan University. His interests also include collaborating with communities in a process to empower them to work for their own betterment. He is married with two daughters.

Trevor Turnbull

I am an experienced health care professional with clinical and Industry experience across many specialties including Orthopaedics, Cardiothoracic surgery, Max Fax, emergency trauma surgery and orthobiologics.

I;m originally from the UK, trained and studied in Scotland before commencing my professional career in Cambridge, this led to various posts around the United Kingdom and eventually to Australia.

When I'm not at work I enjoy spending time with my family, participating in sports and thinking about how health care can be improved.

Team 4

Caroline Chapman

Caroline is a Research Development Advisor in Medical Sciences at Edith Cowan University where she brings together her passion for medical research and her interest in supporting researchers to develop not only their careers but the impact and possible commercialisation of their research. 
Caroline started her career in molecular oncology, gaining her PhD at The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow UK. After several postdoctoral researcher positions Caroline’s expertise in genetics lead her to the Heart Research Institute and PathWest in Perth. Her 15 year research career lead to successful grants, publications and the graduation of many students. 
Whilst taking time from her research to raise a family, Caroline completed an MBA at Curtin University and now uses her research and business knowledge to support researchers in finding funding, industry partners and developing and translating their research ideas. Caroline is keen to promote interdisciplinary research, as this nexus of often two unrelated areas is where innovation is found.

Hayley Cullen

Hayley is the Laboratory Manager and Research Officer in the Brain Growth and Disease Laboratory (currently moving into the beautiful new Sarich Neuroscience Research Institute). She researches new genetic brain diseases, and was co-first author of a publication outlining a previously undiscovered childhood “tubulinopathy” disease.
Originally she is from Sydney, completing a Bachelor of Science at UNSW majoring in Microbiology. She completed an honours research project that was part of the NASA roadmap to Mars, receiving First Class. Afterwards, she went to work at the Garvan Institute, researching breast cancer development. 
She now loves WA, becoming addicted to rock climbing, bike riding, road trips, and camping, which is a whole lot more “sporty” or “outdoorsy” than all her years in Sydney!
Ultimately though, Hayley has first-hand seen the need for better commercialisation of scientific discoveries, and wants to be involved in improving this gap.

James Charleson

James is a final year medical student at the University of Notre Dame. He completed a bachelor of exercise science at Griffith University, with exchanges at Sciences Po, France and Lunds universitet in Sweden. Following a year at the Rural Clinical School, placements in the Kimberley and firsthand experience as a trauma patient on the Gibb River Road he has witnessed the health inequality experienced by rural and remote Australians. James has joined the program to develop his entrepreneurial skills and expand his network in this area with the aim of improving medical outcomes for all Australians, especially those in rural and remote settings.

Ronan O'Neill

Inquisitive and optimistic, Ronan O’Neill is a graduate of the University of Western Australia. Ronan achieved a Master of Biotechnology specialising in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as two Bachelor of Science degrees in Pharmacology and Biochemistry. His thesis project focused on how enhancing the efficacy of DNA-binding proteins can be applied to both genome mining in the wheat pathogen P. nodorum and building synthetic biology circuits in industrial strains of yeast. 
He is the founder and editor of a popular science column with Perth pop culture curators Isolated Nation, publishing interesting, relevant, and accessible science-related articles. Ronan plays Ultimate Frisbee and enjoys learning Mandarin.
An East Victoria Park local, you can often find Ronan at Antz Inya Pantz café, The Balmoral Hotel, Noodle Combo, or all three in one fantastic day.

Tim McLennan

Tim McLennan is a Rehabilitation Engineer (Electronics/Software), currently working at the State Rehab Service at Fiona Stanley Hospital within the Communication and Assistive Technology Service (CATS). He is involved with patient assessment, device prescription and custom development of Assistive Technology (AT) to provide Alternative and Augmented Communication (speech devices), alternative access to computers and phones, and Environmental Control for adults with an acquired injury or illness that impairs their speech and/or physical abilities. 
He has worked in the Public, Private and Not-for-Profit sectors in regards to medical assessment tools, and AT for users. Tim recently completed a Churchill Fellowship investigating AT globally and is a board member of TADWA (Technology for Aging and Disability, Western Australia) 
Tim’s interests includes the use of low cost microcontrollers and 3D printing to provide adaptions and integration of Mainstream Technology to improve the accessibility, functionality and cost of integrated AT solutions.

Team 5

Samuel Ognenis

Sam is a junior doctor at Fiona Stanley Hospital and Master of Public Health student at UNSW. He commenced medicine with a passion to improve WA's health system, and find solutions to difficult problems. He has been involved in teaching, mentoring and education for many years and is passionate about free open-access medical education (FOAMed). Sam is passionate about global health, foreign affairs and international development, and hopes to contribute through the overlap of health, economics and politics.

Sam is happily married to a fellow junior doctor and they have a mini poodle. He loves spending time with family, playing board games with friends and watching and playing sport. He is currently training towards a career in General Practice and public health.

Marisa Duong

Marisa Duong is currently a 3rd year PhD candidate at the School of Molecular Sciences at the University of Western Australia, collaborating with Proteomics International at Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, developing analytical techniques to understand oxidative stress in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. She has also been a Laboratory demonstrator and Tutor at UWA. 
Marisa came to Australia in October 2008, studied a 10-week English course for high school preparation. She then completed year 10-12 at Kalamunda Senior High School and graduated from high school in 2011. She went on to pursue the Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) at the University of Western Australia, majoring in Biochemistry and Finance. After graduating in 2016, she was offered a PhD scholarship by the Forrest Research Foundation to undertake her current project.

Alexander Tan

My name is Alexander and I am aspiring to be part of the driving force that pushes Biotechnology and, Medical and Health related devices to new fronts. Having completed a Biomedical Sciences double degree, I am currently completing my Masters of Professional Engineering (MPE) in the Electrical and Electronic specialisation at the University of Western Australia.


As an individual I am passionate about becoming the best I can be and a huge believer in getting out there, meeting new people and earning my keep. Participating in the Biodesign course, for me, is an opportunity to challenge and educate myself about what it takes to apply my knowledge and skills, and positively contribute to society.

Andrew Currie

Andrew Currie is a basic scientist with experience in the fields of paediatric innate immunity and infectious disease. He completed an Honours degree in Biotechnology at Murdoch University and his PhD at the University of Western Australia. He currently leads the Neonatal Immunology Research Group in partnership with Neonatology Consultant, Dr Tobias Strunk. The group’s research combines current cellular and molecular ‘omics’ methodologies with primary human samples, and more recently large animal neonatal studies, to understand how the innate immune system contributes to defence against infection in early life. Andrew’s goal is to trial and translate key research findings into cost-effective and safe innate immune therapies for preventing and limiting infection and inflammation in preterm infants. The group is currently working on developing molecular diagnostic approaches for sepsis and trialing novel immunomodulatory antimicrobial agents as adjuncts for sepsis treatment.

Nynne Toft Rasmussen

Originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, moved to Perth in 2017 to pursue her career as a management consultant with Ernst and Young (EY).  Nynne holds a Master of Science in Economics and Business, and hopes to learn how to apply her critical thinking and problem solving skills to develop commercially feasible ideas in Life Science. Other trivia about Nynne is that she speaks five languages, has lived in five countries, and travels whenever she has an opportunity. Her next destination goals are all within Australia as she is looking for any excuse to use her 4x4 jeep and put on her Akubra.

Alumni Mentors

Cettina Raccuia
Team 1 Mentor

Cettina is an experienced senior leader, having held roles across the health, education and finance sectors, in a range of different organisations including government, start-up and corporate. With a key focus and strength in building innovation, organisational capability and strategy, Cettina has deployed a number of different projects focussed in the areas of turn-around and growth, ranging from product development to organisational transformation. She has build cross-sector collaborations, partnerships and has a passion for applying human centred design and agile approaches to designing solutions and delivering results. A graduate of the Master of Business Leadership program at Curtin University, with a Bachelor of Arts and Honours in Psychology and Philosophy, Cettina applies her knowledge and professional expertise to create an impact, and help solve some of the world’s toughest problems. Cettina is also a graduate of the 2016 SPARK Co-Lab Design Course and an Alumni Fellow of the Stanford Biodesign Innovation Program.

Martina Mariano
Team 2 Mentor

Martina is a medical researcher with a strong passion for innovative medical technologies and devices. After working as a molecular biologist and geneticist both locally and internationally, in academia and industry, Martina is currently completing her Ph.D. in Neurodevelopment at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research through The University of Western Australia.  

In 2017, Martina participated as an alumnus in the Spark Co-Lab Design Course and as a result, today she is a co-founder of the start-up company Biacor and co-inventor of AbYWin™, a novel technology to improve the diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection. 

Shane Stone
Team 3 Mentor

Shane is a commercial research scientist with over 10 years’ industry experience in the Biotechnology and Drug Discovery sectors. He is co-inventor on two provisional patents and currently works as a group leader at Phylogica, a Perth-based Biotechnology firm co-located with the Telethon Kids Institute. 

James Chen
Team 4 Mentor

James is a Junior doctor at Fiona Stanley Hospital, following completion of Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at UWA in 2015. He has been working to improve the efficiency of junior doctor’s work with hospital executives. He has also had the opportunity to experience firsthand the devastating consequence of lower socioeconomic areas including in Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa and remote communities in the Kimberly, which has nurtured a passion for equality and ensuring sustainable holistic solutions; not ‘band-aids for a broken leg’. James completed the SPARK Co-Lab Design course in 2017.

Chiara Giovanrosa
Team 4 Mentor

Chiara Giovanrosa’s vision is to lead organisational performance improvement through digital solution allowing better insight on operations and predictability. This can be achieved either through a pivotal role that connects the science with the funding enabling the research, innovation, testing and implementation, or as chief of operations pursuing partnership programs with technology providers.   

Chiara has also taken an active role in the Med Tech start up space by co-founding Biacor Pty Ltd and performing the company Director and Secretary role. In alignment with Biacor mission and vision, Chiara’s objective is to progress the work started during the Biodesign program and explore commercialisation pathways and collaboration with key players. 

Dave Parsons
Team 5 Mentor

 I began my clinical experience as an occupational therapist working in hand and upper limb rehabilitation. My particular interest in this area of practice is the rehabilitation of the upper extremity following trauma. After 7 years of clinical experience in this field I decided I wanted to return to study and began my Master of Business Administration at the University of Western Australia. While halfway through my MBA, I began a full-time teaching position at Curtin University in the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work.  Currently, I am still at Curtin as the Postgraduate Course Coordinator within the school. I am also completing my PhD investigating the feasibility and effectiveness of an iPad application for children on the Autism Spectrum. I completed the CSIRO ON Prime program where our team was selected to attend the ON Accelerator boot camp. Our device was a 3D printed robotic exoskeleton for use in upper limb rehabilitation. 

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