Dr Matthew Oldakowski

Co-Director, Biodesign Australia

Co-Director, Perth Biodesign

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

Co-Director, Biodesign Australia

Co-Director, Perth Biodesign

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 trained at Stanford University, helping at Otoinnovation Lab and observing the Stanford Biodesign Innovation classes, before returning to be Perth Biodesign’s co-Course Director.

Prof Paul Young

Executive Committee, Biodesign Australia
Co-Director, Sydney Biodesign

Professor Paul M Young holds the inaugural Chair of Commercialisation in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney. His focus is to translate basic and applied sciences into commercial innovations that have real world applications and to drive a culture change in entrepreneurship within the academic community. Paul is also a Professor of Respiratory Technology and Deputy Executive Director of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research. His research team focusses on developing advanced drug delivery systems for treating a wide range of respiratory disorders ranging from asthma to Tuberculosis.  

Kiara Bechta-Metti

Executive Committee, Biodesign Australia
Director, Adelaide Biodesign

Kiara Bechta-Metti is the Director, Adelaide Enterprise, the technology transfer office for the University of Adelaide, which accelerates commercialisation through licensing and new start-up companies. Kiara has more than 20 years’ experience in technology commercialisation, finance and new business creation in Australia and the United States. From 2005-2014, Kiara led the commercialisation on a wide range of technologies developed at CSIRO. Prior to CSIRO, she was a financial analyst in equities research at global financial firms UBS and Deutsche Bank, with a focus on healthcare, medical device and biotechnology companies. Kiara started her career working for several Silicon Valley-based biotechnology firms, after completing her degree from UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Prof Laurence Meagher

Executive Committee, Biodesign Australia

Professor Meagher is the Director of SPARK Monash and Co-director of SPARK Oceania. He is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Monash University and leads a research group working in multidisciplinary, clinically focussed translational research. His research group has a particular focus on bioactive surface coatings for medical devices, bioprinting with a cardiac and neural focus, materials for stem cell expansion and control of fate and antimicrobial materials. Laurence received his PhD from the Australian National University, carried out postdoctoral studies at The University of Melbourne and the University of Illinois and was a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO for 16 years,

Prof David Grayden

Executive Committee, Biodesign Australia
Biodesign Melbourne

Professor David B. Grayden is Clifford Chair of Neural Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering and the Graeme Clark Institute for Biomedical Engineering and teaches BioDesign Innovation at the University of Melbourne. Prof Grayden’s main research interests are in understanding how the brain processes information, how best to present information to the brain using medical bionics, such as the bionic ear and bionic eye, and how to record information from the brain, such as for brain-machine interfaces. He is also conducting research in epileptic seizure prediction and electrical stimulation to prevent or stop epileptic seizures, and in electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve to control inflammatory bowel disease.   

Dr Devakar Epari

Executive Committee, Biodesign Australia
Coordinator AIIMs-QUT Fellowship in International Biodesign

Dr Devakar Epari has an interest in the application of engineering to clinical problems and leads the Engineering in Health initiative at the Queensland University of Technology. Since 2014, Dr Epari has placed Medical Engineering students in healthcare environments to identify un-met clinical needs and develop innovative solutions. Dr Epari studied Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Whilst working at the Center for Musculoskeltal Surgery at the Charité University Hospital Berlin (Germany) he was awarded his PhD from the Technical University of Berlin.

Dr Epari was appointed in 2008 as a Senior Research Fellow in the Trauma Research Group at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (Queensland University of Technology). Since 2010, he has been lecturing in the Medical Engineering major and coordinating the major since 2014. Dr Epari collaborates internationally with School of International BioDesign, New Delhi, India to develop equitable medical technologies.

Prof Michael Wallach

Executive Committee, Biodesign Australia
Co-Director, Sydney Biodesign

Professor Wallach has over 30 years of experience in molecular parasitology with a wealth of experience in both academic and industrial science. He was the inaugural director of a key research institute, IBID, at UTS in 2002. In 2008, Michael established a new course in Bio-Innovation and Entrepreneurship where graduates work in small teams to form creative innovative ideas for medical health products. This course has been given locally and internationally culminating in 2016 with a course given at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In 2013, he was appointed as the inaugural director of the SPARK Sydney program, which was established by UTS and the University of Sydney, to emulate the Stanford SPARK program. Furthermore, Michael played a key role in building SPARK Global, which is expected to be formally established, with the participation of 10 countries, in 2017. 

Prof Kevin Pfleger

Executive Committee, Biodesign Australia

Professor Pfleger is Director of the Western Australian Life Sciences Innovation Hub at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and Head of Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology at the UWA Centre for Medical Research (Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research). He is also Chief Scientific Advisor of Dimerix, a spin-out company from UWA of which he was CSO from 2008 to 2014. Kevin was awarded his MA and PhD from Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities respectively. He has received numerous accolades, including WA Young Scientist of the Year 2009, an NHMRC Ten of the Best Award in 2010 with the tag-line ‘Young Entrepreneur’, the 2011 Australian Museum 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science, an NHMRC Research Excellence Award 2014, the Novartis Prize of the British Pharmacological Society 2016 and UWA Innovation Champion 2018. Kevin serves on the Board of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT), is a member of the International Advisory Group of the British Pharmacological Society, is a member of the WA State Committee of AusBiotech, and serves as the Commercialisation Representative on the WAHTN Management Committee. Kevin is also Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT), member of the International Advisory Group of the British Pharmacological Society, member of the WA State Committee of AusBiotech, and serves as the Commercialisation Representative on the WAHTN Management Committee.