|17/06/2016 4:00 PM||Gene therapy for protecting and regenerating sensory cells in the cochlea after hearing loss ||Dr Rachael Richardson, Senior Research Fellow, Bionics Institute|
Abstract: An estimated 360 million people suffer from hearing loss worldwide. Sensorineural hearing loss is characterized by permanent loss of cochlear sensory hair cells and severe degeneration of auditory neurons. The goal of the gene therapy program at the Bionics Institute, headed by Dr Rachael Richardson, is to use gene therapy to protect, repair or regenerate these sensory cells after hearing loss. The gene therapy program broadly encompasses the use of neurotrophin gene therapy for protection and regrowth of auditory neurons, Atoh1 gene therapy for the regeneration of hair cells and optogenetics to allow optical stimulation of auditory neurons. Within these research topics, major research themes have been gene therapy delivery to the cochlea, the impact of the degenerative processes of hearing loss and the effect of cochlear implantation on gene therapy. This presentation will provide an overview of our recent research on gene therapy in the cochlea for protecting and regenerating sensory cells in the cochlea after hearing loss and optogenetics in the cochlea for optical stimulation of auditory neurons.
Bio: Dr Rachael Richardson is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute. Rachael’s research focus is on gene therapy in the cochlea for the preservation and regeneration of cochlear sensory cells after hearing loss. She is particularly interested in hair cell regeneration using the Atoh1 gene as this has the potential to reverse hearing loss. She uses viral gene therapy techniques to create localized regions of gene expression in the cochlea for sensory cell survival or regeneration. Recently Rachael and her team have also been investigating optogenetics to determine whether auditory neurons can be stimulated more precisely with light compared to electrical stimulation.
Rachael receives competitive funding from the NHMRC as well as from philanthropic sources in Australia and the UK. Dr Richardson completed a BSc degree at the University of Melbourne in Biochemistry and Pathology. Her BSc(Hons) and PhD were undertaken at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Department of Cancer and Haematology, supervised by Prof Doug Hilton. Rachael has worked at the Bionics Institute since 2001.
|10/06/2016 4:00 AM||Why does speech understanding vary among adult cochlear implant (CI) recipients?||Prof Colette M. McKay|
Abstract: Around 30% of adult CI users have poor speech understanding, and rely upon lip-reading for communication. History factors such as duration of deafness account for only around 10% of the variability in outcomes, making poor prognosis a critical clinical issue. Different physiological mechanisms have been proposed to account for poor speech understanding, including patchy survival of peripheral spiral ganglion cells (SGCs) and plastic changes in the central auditory system or in the cortical networks that support language processing. Evidence supporting these mechanisms comes from animal studies and from EEG, imaging, or psychophysical studies in human CI users. However, so far it is unclear whether these mechanisms have independent causal effects on speech understanding, how they could be assessed before implantation, or whether they can be reversed after implantation with targeted therapies or specific signal processing strategies.
In this presentation, I will summarise recent work at the Bionics Institute in which we found strong correlations between poor speech understanding and the following measures: A) variability in thresholds of highly focussed stimuli in a research CI (evidence of patchy SGC survival) B) poor detection ability of small changes in relative current level across different electrode places and C) high activation levels in the bilateral pre-frontal cortices as measured by a novel brain imaging technique called functional near infrared spectroscopy. Finally, I will propose a model that related these measures to poor speech understanding and how the techniques might be used to improve prognosis or individually optimise hearing therapies after implantation.
Bio: Professor McKay is an international leader in the field of psychophysics with electrical stimulation, and her multidisciplinary research combines psychophysics, speech perception, speech processing and mathematical modelling with the aim of improving outcomes of auditory implants. She contributed significantly to the design and signal processing strategies used in the family of cochlear implants manufactured by Cochlear Ltd. She graduated and received her PhD from the University of Melbourne in the fields of mathematics and physics. From 1991-2004, she was Research Fellow, Senior Research Fellow, and then Principal Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne Department of Otolaryngology. From 2005 to 2013 she held chair and research group leadership positions at Aston University, Birmingham, and Manchester University in the UK. Since 2013 she has led the Translational Hearing Research group at the Bionics Institute.
|3/06/2016 4:00 PM||Neurogenesis and neuroprotection against retinal degenerative diseases ||Prof Antonia Angulo Jerez |
Abstract: The retinal neurogenesis has been demonstrated in several mature mammalian retinas. Stem or progenitor cells located in the ciliary body can originate retinal neurons. Our immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy studies have shown cells expressing molecular markers of neural and retinal progenitors in the pars plana of the ciliary body of adult primates and humans. The peripheral retinal margin thus represents, in monkeys and humans, a region where cellular morphological maturation and synaptogenesis is taking place in a fashion recapitulating the normal development of retinal cells. Further knowledge on the cellular extrinsic and intrinsic factors and genes involved in adult retinogenesis in primates will prove useful toward the design of therapies targeting retinal neurodegenerative disorders.
On the other hand, proper development and functioning of the retina requires a precise balance between the processes of proliferation, differentiation and programmed cell death. The retina is one of the most susceptible tissues to reactive oxygen species damage. It has been recently shown that the efficacy of natural products to slow retinal degenerative processes through different pathways. We assess the neuroprotective effect of safranal and tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) in an animal model of retinitis pigmentosa (P23H rats). These compounds could be potentially useful for therapeutic applications in retinal degenerative diseases.
Bio: Antonia has a wide researching and teaching activity as a University Tenured Lecturer at the University of Alicante (Spain). She is the head of the Human Anatomy and Embryology Area at the Department of Optics, Pharmacology and Anatomy. Currently she is an Academic Visitor at The Bionics Institute during her sabbatical leave. In 1986 she received her Medicine and Surgery PhD for her contributions to a neurohistological study of auditory pathway development. Antonia is Past-President of Spanish Association of Audiology and she has collaborated on Audiology books, conferences and Masters. She has participated in more than 40 I+D Neurosciences research projects and articles. She has a special interest in neurobiology of the visual and auditory systems and therapy of neurodegenerative diseases.
|20/05/2016 4:00 PM||“Putting out the Garbage” in Parkinson’s Disease ||Dr Richard Peppard, Neurologist, St. Vincent’s Hospital|
Abstract: Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition with the following cardinal symptoms: uncontrollable shaking (tremor), excessive muscle tone (rigidity), slowness in movement (bradykinesia), and impaired balance (postural instability). Present therapies such as deep brain stimulation alleviate these symptoms but do not cure the underlying condition. Here, we aim to outline new approaches to slow or reverse neurodegeneration and the role of functional neurosurgery.
Bio: Dr Richard Peppard is a movement disorders neurologist at the St. Vincent’s Hospital and a Honorary Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute. He has more than 25 years of experience treating all stages of Parkinson’s with a special interest in deep brain stimulation. In his practice, more than 50 patients are implanted with neurostimulators each year.
|29/04/2016 4:00 PM||Intellectual Property 101 and the Patent Analytics Hub ||Dr Cameron Lutton|
Abstract: IP Australia is a federal government agency that plays a key role in Australia’s innovation system. IP Australia administers intellectual property (IP) rights in Australia consisting of patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeder rights. Registering IP rights provides innovators with legal framework to protect their ideas. Understanding IP and protecting it early can be very important when establishing products or services in the market. As well as administering the Australian IP rights system, IP Australia established the Patent Analytics Hub to help government agencies, Australian universities and public research sector agencies make the most of their intellectual property. The Hub aids understanding of their technology areas, finding collaborators and boosting the commercial returns from research. Patent analytics can extract useful insights from vast global patent databases, through the mining, visualisation and interpretation of data.
Dr Cameron Lutton
Research Manager – Patent Analytics Hub
Dr Cameron Lutton has a background in polymer chemistry and biomedical engineering. Prior to joining IP Australia, he spent 10 years as a multidisciplinary researcher both in Australia and overseas working on implant design, drug delivery and novel polymers for tissue repair. At IP Australia he gained experience as a senior examiner of patents in the medical devices area, before joining the Patent Analytics Hub as a research manager. Cameron not only brings deep technical scientific knowledge to the role, but also an understanding of the IP system from experience as an examiner and through commercialisation experience gained as an academic.
Research Manager – Patent Analytics Hub
Amy Hunter is a registered Patent and Trade Mark Attorney with fifteen years’ experience in intellectual property. As an attorney, she provided strategic management and business-focussed advice on patent portfolios to a range of clients from small manufacturing businesses to large multinational firms, both in Australia and overseas. Immediately prior to her role as research manager in the Patent Analytics Hub, Amy was a senior examiner in the areas of mechanical engineering, mining engineering and medical devices at IP Australia.
Examiner of Patents – Medical & Mechanical Devices
Cromwel Flores is a patent examiner who has been with the Patent Office for 10 years. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical/Computer Science) and a Bachelor of Science (Physiology) from Monash University. Currently he examines patents from the biomedical and mechanical fields.
Examiner of Patents – Medical and Mechanical Devices
Patent Analyst-Patent Analytics Hub
Emma Francis is a senior research analyst in the National Patent Analytics Hub in addition to her role as a patent examiner. She received her Master of Biomedical Engineering from the University of Melbourne in 2010. She also has a Bachelor of Systems Engineering with honours and a Bachelor of Computer Science, both from the ANU. She is passionate about big data and the promises that appropriate analysis of this information can provide. Data visualisation of patent statistics is her current focus, working mainly with Tableau Desktop.
Examiner of Patents – Medical and Mechanical Devices
Kalpana Narayan is a patent examiner working in the area of medical and mechanical devices. She received a Bachelor of Electronic Engineering with Honours and a Masters of Biomedical Engineering from La Trobe University. She has also undertaken postgraduate research at La Trobe University working on a novel method of diagnosing DVT before joining IP Australia.
Examiner of Patents – Medical Devices
Ariane Le Guen is a patent examiner in the medical devices area at IP Australia. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Science in 2008. She worked as a scientist in a diagnostics lab in Pathobiology in the Microbiology department for three years before acquiring her job at IP Australia.
|15/04/2016 4:00 PM||An overview of US-funded neural device efforts and how proposals are reviewed ||Dr Michael Wolfson|
Abstract: In a two-part talk, Dr Wolfson will describe the research portfolio he supports at DARPA and share his perspective on how proposals are reviewed by evaluators. His portfolio includes four research programs at DARPA: RE-NET, HAPTIX, ElectRx, and NESD. Each of these programs has been initiated to solve a specific bioengineering challenge and to demonstrate a new capability. Dr Wolfson will discuss the challenges, discoveries, and new insights gained over the development and execution of these 4-5 year, ~US$60M efforts. These programs encompass the entire spectrum of neural device development, from fundamental research into materials, tissue response, and psychophysics through demonstrations in human volunteers of complete systems and their new functional capabilities. These capabilities include restoration of complex motor control, naturalistic somatosensation, vision, and audition, and modulation of organ function.
In the second part of his talk, Dr Wolfson will provide a framework to help investigators understand the motivations and boundaries that guide reviewers of proposals. Specifically, he will cover review methods, evaluation criteria, and ascertaining the objective of a funding agency and the key requirements in any funding opportunity announcement. Dr Wolfson also will provide general advice to any grant-writer on how to improve the quality of submissions. This portion of the presentation is available for download at: http://www.novelsemi.com/ProposalReview.pdf
Bio: Michael B. Wolfson is a bioelectronics consultant, supporting organizations whose mission is to invest in foundational device research, development of new neurotechnologies, and translation into proof-of-principle demonstrations. He received a Sc.B. degree in electrical engineering from Brown University in 1995 and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University in 2001. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the Society for Neuroscience.
From 2000 through 2009, Mike was involved in several ventures to develop optical MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) technologies. His experiences at three startups (Nayna Networks, Exajoule, and RedShift Systems) and one multinational corporation (Sharp Laboratories of America) led him to independent consulting (NovelSemi Solutions). From 2009 through 2013, he was a subject matter expert for System Planning Corporation, providing full-time support to the MEMS and neuro-technology programs in DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office. Since 2014, Mike has been an independent consultant supporting customers such as GlaxoSmithKline and DARPA's Biological Technologies Office. His research interests include non-traditional manufacturing technologies and the scalability of neural interfaces.
|8/04/2016 4:00 PM||Feasibility of a minimally invasive Endovascular Neural Interface for recording cortical activity||Dr Sam John|
Abstract: Intracranial electrode arrays for recording and stimulating brain activity have facilitated major advances in the treatment of neurological conditions. Traditional arrays require direct implantation into the brain via open craniotomy. Invasive surgery is associated with inflammatory tissue responses and can reduce efficacy of stimulation and sensitivity of recording. There is a need for minimally invasive techniques that can record chronic neural activity.
We demonstrate the feasibility of a minimally invasive endovascular neural interface (ENI) that can record brain activity from within a cortical vein. The ENI was fabricated on intracranial stents that are presently used in stroke clot removal. The ENI was delivered into a superficial cortical vein overlying the motor cortex using contrast enhanced angiography and co-axial catheterization in sheep.
The ENI was successfully implanted in sheep and was able to record somatosensory evoked potentials for 190 days. Impedance changes show that incorporation of the ENI into the blood vessel wall occurs within 14 days of implantation and vessel lumen remained open for the duration of the study (190 days). The bandwidth of recording, was similar to an epidural array and marginally inferior to a subdural array. We show that an endovascular neural interface offers a method for safe implantation and chronic neural recordings.
Bio: Sam John is a research fellow in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He received his PhD in 2013 from La Trobe University while working on the Bionic eye project at the Bionics Institute. His present research is evaluating the efficacy of an endovascular neural interface that can record and stimulate the brain. He is also working on developing a lower limb brain computer interface that can assist with mobility in people affected by paralysis.
|1/04/2016 4:00 PM||Exercise and physical activity for people with Parkinson's disease: Challenges in clinical practice and research ||A/Prof Jennifer McGinley|
Abstract: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common and disabling neurodegenerative condition that is rapidly rising in prevalence. With medical advances, people with PD live an increasingly long lifespan, but experience difficulty with mobility, activities of daily living and societal participation.
Exercise limits disability progression; people who exercise regularly have lesser decline and better physical function, mobility and quality of life. Despite these known benefits, most people with PD have sedentary lifestyles and limited adherence to ongoing exercise is a major challenge in lifelong management.
Health behaviour change interventions can be developed to promote long term exercise and physical activity habits throughout life. Such interventions need to be guided by an understanding of factors associated with exercise and physical activity behaviour in Parkinson’s. This seminar will present findings from a recent large study of Australians living with PD, and the factors that promote or limit ongoing engagement in a physically active lifestyle. Current challenges in conducting clinical trials of new interventions and implementation will be discussed.
Bio: Associate Professor Jenny McGinley is a physiotherapist and Deputy Head of the Physiotherapy Department, University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research has focussed on the measurement and understanding of movement and function across the lifespan in healthy people and those with neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cerebral palsy and autism. She has a particular interest in gait outcome measures for clinical practice and research, as well as clinical trials of interventions to improve functional mobility.
Her current research aims to understand how people with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders can stay active during daily life, and the factors that influence regular physical activity
|18/03/2016 4:00 AM||Insights into neuropathology using speech ||Dr Adam Vogel|
Abstract: Speech is a potent marker of brain function. It changes with the onset of neurological illness and it declines with disease progression. Certain transient conditions such as depression and fatigue also affect the quality of speech, making it a sensitive marker of central nervous system integrity.
In this context, speech can be used to track disease progression in degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or hereditary ataxia. Similarly, objective measures of speech can assist in monitoring performance in clinical trials where changes in brain health are anticipated.
Bio: Adam is director of the Centre for Neuroscience of Speech at The University of Melbourne. His team works towards improving speech, language and swallowing function in people with progressive and acquired neurological conditions. He is a recipient of an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship, a senior lectureship in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at The University of Melbourne and a Humboldt Fellowship based at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Tübingen Germany.
He holds clinical degrees in psychology and speech pathology from the University of Queensland and a PhD in behavioural neuroscience from The University of Melbourne. He undertook his early clinical training in the neurodisability service at Great Ormond Street Hospital London and continues to work as consultant speech pathologist for the Friedreich Ataxia Clinic, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Eastern Cognitive Disorders Clinic, Eastern Health, Melbourne.
|11/03/2016 4:00 AM||Objective Assessments in Parkinson’s Disease ||Professor Malcolm Horne |
Abstract: In medicine, effective management of disease depends on measurements that accurately relate to the therapies so that those therapies can be effectively deployed to maximise benefit and reduce side effect.
The Parkinson’s Kinetigraph (PKG) is the first objective measurement for drug responsive symptoms of PD. This talk will discuss the development, application and commercialisation of the PKG.
Bio: Malcolm Horne is an NHMRC Practitioner Fellow at the
Florey Neurosciences Institute, a consultant Neurologist specialising in Parkinson’s Disease at the St. Vincent’s Hospital and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital.
His research interests relate to various facets of Parkinson's Disease. These include studies into the cause of PD including the repair of the brain damaged by PD, measuring PD and the normal and disordered function of dopamine in the brain.
Current interest also include studies aimed at detecting people at high risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. He has developed the Australian Parkinson's Disease registry and the Parkinson’s Kinetigraph.
|4/03/2016 4:00 AM||Engineering better patient outcomes for visual prostheses ||Dr Matt Petoe|
Abstract: Over the last decade, retinal prostheses ('bionic eyes') have emerged as the most promising technology to restore vision to those with blindness caused by photoreceptor loss.
In an idealised representation of artificial vision, an image captured by the head-mounted video camera is transmitted to the electrode stimulation site on the retina and perceived as a clearly defined set of pixels. The reality of artificial vision is quite different however, with patients reporting perception that is very much unlike their previous sighted experience. In spite of this, it is possible for bionic eye recipients to routinely perform tasks of orientation and mobility, as well as improve performance in activities of daily living.
This talk will discuss some of the challenges faced by bionic eye recipients and discuss ways to identify patient behaviours and tailor post-implantation rehabilitation accordingly.
Bio: Dr Matt Petoe is a biomedical engineer with a keen interest in human perception, neuroscience and clinical research. He is currently working within the Bionic Vision research team to trial the safety and efficacy of a next generation, wide-view bionic eye.
|19/02/2016 4:00 PM||Restoration of arm function after neurological insult||Prof Mary Galea,Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), The University of Melbourne|
Abstract: Loss of hand function, as may occur after stroke or spinal cord injury, has a severe impact on day-to-day activities and a person’s independence. A vast neural network at both cortical and spinal levels is dedicated to control of hand function, and spared pathways can provide the structural basis for recovery of function after damage to a particular region.
The clinical challenges involve the questions of how to activate the remaining pathways after brain injury, and how to maximise function after spinal cord injury which interrupts the connections between the brain and spinal cord. This talk will cover the physiological basis for recovery of function as well as examples of clinical research programs investigating restoration of function after stroke and spinal cord injury.
Bio: Mary Galea is a physiotherapist and neuroscientist whose research program includes both laboratory-based and clinical projects with the overall theme of control of voluntary movement by the brain, and factors that promote recovery following nervous system damage. She has a particular interest in recovery of arm function, and is currently undertaking projects in patients with stroke, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.
|12/02/2016 4:00 PM||A novel balance disorder: Cerebellar Ataxia with Neuropathy and Vestibular Areflexia Syndrome (CANVAS)||Dr David Szmulewicz, Neurologist & Neuro-otologist, RVEEH |
Abstract: Patients with combined cerebellar and vestibular impairment were first identified in 1979 and were studied as a pathophysiological model. The syndrome of Cerebellar Ataxia with Bilateral Vestibulopathy (CABV) and it’s characteristic oculomotor abnormality, that is, the abnormal visually-enhanced vestibulo-ocular reflex (VVOR) was then subsequently described in 2005 in 4 patients, 3 of whom had a peripheral sensory deficit.
This work defines a new neurological disease that is now called ‘CANVAS’: an acronym for Cerebellar Ataxia with Neuropathy and bilateral Vestibular Areflexia Syndrome. We detail the (A) clinical presentation and evolution, (B) essential oculomotor and vestibular abnormalities, (C) neuropathology, (D) otopathology, (E) anatomical pattern of cerebellar atrophy, (F) neurophysiological characteristics of the somatosensory impairment, (G) differential diagnoses, (H) apparent genetic basis and (I) a diagnostic quantitative bedside oculomotor test.
Bio: David Szmulewicz is a Neurologist, Neuro-otologist and medical researcher. He holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne. His clinical and research interests include balance disorders that affect the vestibular system, cerebellum and the combination of the two. He is the head of the Balance Disorders & Ataxia Service at the Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital, consults at the Balance Disorders Clinic at Epworth Camberwell, Honorary consultant Neurologist at St Vincent’s Hospital and Lecturer at Melbourne University.
David is lead investigator on research defining a novel ataxia – Cerebellar Ataxia with Neuropathy and Vestibular Areflexia Syndrome (CANVAS) and is co-director of The Australian Temporal Bone Bank.
|5/02/2016 4:00 PM||Argus II Retinal Chip Implant - Endoscopic Insights on the Bionic Eye||Dr Flavio Rezende,Retinal Surgeon, Department of Ophthalmology, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, Canada|
Abstract: The presentation will describe the current Argus II retinal chip implant surgical technique, its potential complications and limitations. It will highlight as well some insights on vitreoretinal endoscopic imaging of this technique.
Bio: Dr Flavio Rezende is a reputed retinal surgeon from the Department of Ophthalmology at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. He secured a Ph.D. in Science from São Paulo Federal University (Brazil) after completing his fellowships in vitreoretinal surgery and ocular pathology at the Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University (Canada). Flavio went on to pursue post-doctoral studies in Ophthalmology at Université de Montréal, where he became Chief of Retinal Service in the Department of Ophthalmology and serves as associate professor. In addition to instruction mandates in prestigious institutions such as Harvard Medical School and Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, Flavio garners experience with a dozen clinical trials and research projects, and has many awards, namely 5 ASRS Rhett Buckler Awards. He has co-published well over 50 books, papers, and abstracts covering various aspects of retinal surgery. Dr. Rezende is the 1st surgeon to perform a bionic retinal implant in Quebec, and the 2nd in Canada.
|29/01/2016 4:00 PM||Reverse Engineering the Brain: Computer Modelling of Neural Circuits||Dr Dean Freestone, University of Melbourne|
Abstract: This presentation is focused on methods for reverse engineering the brain. In this talk, I will discuss various approaches for constructing computer models of neural circuits using experimental and clinical data. The computer models describe data recorded at the local field potential or electroencephalogram scale, and are therefore coarse grain approximations of neural activity. I will show examples of how we can use various modelling approaches to decode the mechanisms of epileptic seizures and movement related activity from neural signals.
Bio: Dean has a Bachelor of Engineering from La Trobe University, where he won the Tad Szental Prize for the best engineering final year student and the Hooper Memorial Prize for best final year project, under the supervision of Graeme Rathbone. He then completed a PhD in Engineering at the University of Melbourne in 2012, under the supervision of David Grayden, Tony Burkitt, Levin Kuhlamnn and Mark Cook. His postgraduate work on epileptic seizure prediction won the John Melvin Memorial Scholarship for the best PhD in Engineering and the Chancellor’s Prize for PhD Excellence. Dean has recently returned from Liam Paninski’s group at Columbia University, New York, where he was the 2014 Victorian Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow. He has now joined the MDHS Faculty at the University of Melbourne and is working in the Department of Medicine at the St. Vincent’s Hospital where he will continue to make inroads into one of the grand challenges in science today: reverse engineering the human brain.