The SPARK Co-lab Design Course was established in 2016 by SPARK Co-lab based on the Biodesign model, and in 2017 it was funded by Accelerating Australia Stage 1.


In 2018, the Perth Biodesign course was founded as an initiative of Accelerating Australia Stage 2. Inspired by what the SPARK Co-lab Design Course had started, the Perth Biodesign course has further adapted the Biodesign model, leveraging input from many domain experts across the sector and learnings brought back by the current Directors of Perth Biodesign from their 6 months of training at Stanford University.


Over the 4 years, the courses have trained 106 aspiring biomedical entrepreneurs and created 22 biomedical technology opportunities.

The Directors of Perth Biodesign, Dr Matthew Oldakowski and Intan Oldakowska, are experienced biomedical engineers and entrepreneurs themselves, having co-founded one device on the consumer market and two more currently gaining investor funding.

Our Programs

Who should apply?

The typical structure of a Biodesign Australia team includes passionate individuals with a clinical, engineering, business and/or research background. Perth Biodesign for Digital Health also accepts and encourages applications from people with design/coding/IT skills. Further we are seeking optimal diversity in teams and cohorts and welcome different age groups, experience levels, gender, and ethnicity. Our participants range from senior students to experienced professionals, however we encourage anyone with a strong passion for medtech and healthcare innovation to make an enquiry.



business professionals


What is the expected time committment?

The 2019 course will run from mid-May until mid-November with class sessions running each Wednesday evening (5.00pm-7.30pm). Outside of class, participants will need to commit extra time to work on deliverables and attend team meetings. On average, participants spend 8 hours per week on course commitments (including the weekly session).

The Team

Dr Matthew Oldakowski

Course Director

Dr Matt Oldakowski is a biomedical engineering researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. Matt is the co-founder and CTO of two medtech companies, REX Ortho and Cervical ChinUp. Matt is the Co-Director of Perth Biodesign where he educates and incubates multidisciplinary medtech innovation teams and also the Co-Director of Biodesign Australia that brings together Biodesign programs from around Australia to share resources and best practice. Matt was previously a Global Fellow at Stanford Biodesign and an Endeavour Executive Fellow.

Intan Oldakowska

Course Director

Intan is a biomedical engineer and entrepreneur focused on developing medical devices. A graduate of the University of Western Australia in Mechanical Engineering and Commerce, she is a Research Associate at Curtin University where her PhD studies have focused on developing a novel expandable orthopaedic screw, which has spun-out into REX Ortho.  She is also the co-founder and CEO of Cervical ChinUp. A SPARK Co-Lab Design Course 2016 alumnus, Intan recently returned from Stanford University, where she helped at the Otoinnovation Lab and observed the Stanford Biodesign Innovation classes, before returning to be Perth Biodesign's co-Course Director.

Dr Helga Mikkelsen

Mikkelsen Helga 2 (2)

Business Faculty

Helga is an Investment Analyst at Brandon Capital, which manages the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF). Following degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Helga completed her PhD in microbiology at the University of Cambridge and postdoctoral research in bacterial genetics at Imperial College London. She subsequently managed the development of anti-infective medical devices in urology at CamStent Ltd (Cambridge, UK). Since her move to Australia in 2016, Helga has worked with the Telethon Kids Institute to commercialise inhaled drug treatments for respiratory disease and is a co-founder of Respirion Pharmaceuticals, which develops a new treatment for chronic lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis.

Dr James Chen


Clinical Faculty

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 took part in the 2017 Perth Biodesign course and returned in 2018 as an alumni mentor.

Kristen Houston

Course Coordinator

Kristen Houston is the Operations Manager for Accelerating Australia, a national consortium supporting biomedical entrepreneurs and innovators on their path to viable commercial outcomes. Kristen received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Western Australia and most recently worked for John Beech and The Executive Connection where she created the website for consulting company Guided Innovation. Kristen is involved in the general coordination and support of the Perth Biodesign course as well as the marketing, communications and general support of Accelerating Australia

Alumni Fellows 2019

Alex Hayes

Alex works as a clinical engineer in WA Health and is a cofounder and chief technology officer of Inova Medical, a start-up developing a device for abscess treatment. After completing his Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Western Australia he undertook PhD studies at Curtin University on the mechanical properties of tendon, which provided him with access to the Bioengineering division at Royal Perth Hospital. His continued work and research in the field of biomedical engineering has given him exposure to the entire medical device life cycle, from designing custom medical devices to asset management within the hospital system. Alex is a 2016 alumnus and participant in the ON Accelerate 5 program.

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. 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. Caroline was part of the winning Biodesign team 2018 JRTech.

Daphne 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 herself 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. Daphne participated in the 2018 Biodesign course as part of team Dermacool.

Eldin Rostom

Eldin was born and raised in Mauritius where he spent most of his early adulthood. He has always admired renowned inventors such Tesla and Galileo, so in 2013, he moved to Australia to pursue a career in engineering in hopes of making the world a better place. In 2018, through the Perth Biodesign Course he discovered his love for medical innovation as it intersects his passion for philosophy, social justice, health and technology. Since then, he co-founded Calor Medical to drive innovation in first aid for burn injuries and he is actively looking for ways to grow the Australian MedTech ecosystem. When he is not running around blabbering about MedTech, Eldin LOVES to read books and play basketball. He also enjoys motorsport and frequently visits his previous Formula SAE team at Curtin University to mentor them in the technicalities of aerodynamics.

Hayley Cullen

Hayley completed the Perth Biodesign course in 2018 as a part of the JR TeCH team and loved it so much that she is returning as a mentor. Her training and experience is as a medical researcher in the lab and she has a science degree majoring in Microbiology. Hayley has worked across the diverse fields of marine microbiology, bioastronautics, breast cancer development, neurodevelopment and brain disorders.  She’s now co-founder of HoneyBoost, a range of fortified honeys (real-food supplements) currently being launched, while also starting a Masters of Dietetics and Nutrition to become a dietitian.

James Chen

James is a basic physician trainee at Fiona Stanley Hospital, following completion of a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Western Australia in 2015. He is a 2017 Biodesign alumni, which resulted in the formation of Salutem Analytics, which is focused around pressure injury prevention. He was also a mentor for the 2018 Biodesign team JR Tech, focused around prosthetic prescriptions. James has an interest in innovation and management, having involvement with FSH’s innovation unit and is currently undertaking a Masters of Health Management and Public Health at University of New South Wales.

Richard Macliver

Richard is a Healthcare consultant in PwC's Business and Performance Practice that is passionate about improving and innovating healthcare in Australia and globally. Richard has experience in process mapping, business case development, medical device development, chronic disease management, and clinician stakeholder engagement. Richard has previously worked with Michael Mosley and other doctors in the area of developing sustainable healthcare to individuals/groups with diseases of lifestyle. Richard aims to change healthcare in Australia to a more patient focused system that provides rewards quality outcomes rather than fee for service. He also believe that technology, innovation and entrepreneurship will play a vital role in the continued improvement of the healthcare system.

Applications for Perth Biodesign 2019 are now closed.

Use the form below to express interest in the 2020 course or lodge an enquiry.

If you don’t hear from a member of the Perth Biodesign team promptly, please double check your junk mail or let us know! 

Thank you to the generous supporters of the Perth Biodesign course