Chris Williams

Chris Williams

MScHons (University of Waikato), PhD (University of Auckland)   

Senior Research Fellow, Bionics Institute

P: +61 3 9667 7563
F: +61 3 9667 7542

Associate Professor Chris William’s main research interest at the Bionics Institute is leading the safety and efficacy studies of the bionic eye.

Chris was awarded the Hamilton prize from the New Zealand Royal Society for Brain Rescue Research undertaken at the Liggins Institute. He has contributed to over 90 primary scientific papers and has had 18 patents awarded. 

His track record includes many years of innovative research and a number of vitally important inventions resulting in medical products currently in use or undergoing clinical trials.

These include:

  •  A non-invasive brain rescue monitor (BRM™) for ICU monitoring for cerebral injuries and seizures. The monitor picks up normal and abnormal function on each side of a baby's brain, revealing not only when injury occurs, but where.
  • The initial concept of prolonged mild cerebral hypothermia (CoolCap™) as a neuronal rescue therapy for the developing brain. This work ultimately led to the successful development of an FDA approved cerebral cooling cap for infants suffering from asphyxial encephalopathies.
  • Discovery of the tripeptide fragment of  IGF-1 (Glypromate™)  that can rescue injured neurons. This is the lead compound for a pharmaceutical company. This drug has completed phase II trials safely as a rescue therapy for those with brain injuries and an analog is in phase Ill trials with the US army for head injuries.
  • Co-inventor of choroid plexus cell capsule (Neurotrophincell™) based neurorestorative therapy that is currently under assessment for an IND (application to conduct a clinical trial in the USA) for stroke and Huntington's.

Research Projects

  • Bionic eye

  • Black out advisory system - development of an implantable sub-scalp
    seizure monitor


  1. Beilharz, E. J., Williams, C. E., Dragunow, M., Sirimanne, E. S., & Gluckman, P. D. (1995). MECHANISMS OF DELAYED CELL-DEATH FOLLOWING HYPOXIC-ISCHEMIC INJURY IN THE IMMATURE RAT - EVIDENCE FOR APOPTOSIS DURING SELECTIVE NEURONAL LOSS. Molecular Brain Research, 29(1), 1-14.

  2. Gunn, A. J., Gunn, T. R., deHaan, H. H., Williams, C. E., & Gluckman, P. D. (1997). Dramatic neuronal rescue with prolonged selective heed cooling after ischemia in fetal lambs. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 99(2), 248-256.

  3. Hughes, P. E., Alexi, T., Walton, M., Williams, C. E., Dragunow, M., Clark, R. G., et al. (1999). Activity and injury-dependent expression of inducible transcription factors, growth factors and apoptosis-related genes within the central nervous system. Progress in Neurobiology, 57(4), 421-450.

  4. Alexi, T., Borlongan, C. V., Faull, R. L. M., Williams, C. E., Clark, R. G., Gluckman, P. D., et al. (2000). Neuroprotective strategies for basal ganglia degeneration: Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. Progress in Neurobiology, 60(5), 409-470.

  5. Johnston, B. M., Mallard, E. C., Williams, C. E., & Gluckman, P. D. (1996). Insulin-like growth factor-1 is a potent neuronal rescue agent after hypoxic-ischemic injury in fetal lambs. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 97(2), 300-308.

  6. Williams, C. E., Gunn, A. J., Mallard, C., & Gluckman, P. D. (1992). OUTCOME AFTER ISCHEMIA IN THE DEVELOPING SHEEP BRAIN - AN ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHIC AND HISTOLOGICAL STUDY. Annals of Neurology, 31(1), 14-21.

  7. Gunn, A. J., Gunn, T. R., Gunning, M. I., Williams, C. E., & Gluckman, P. D. (1998). Neuroprotection with prolonged head cooling started before postischemic seizures in fetal sheep. Pediatrics, 102(5), 1098-1106.

  8. Gunn, A. J., Parer, J. T., Mallard, E. C., Williams, C. E., & Gluckman, P. D. (1992). CEREBRAL HISTOLOGIC AND ELECTROCORTICOGRAPHIC CHANGES AFTER ASPHYXIA IN FETAL SHEEP. Pediatric Research, 31(5), 486-491.

  9. Sirimanne, E. S., Blumberg, R. M., Bossano, D., Gunning, M., Edwards, A. D., Gluckman, P. D., et al. (1996). The effect of prolonged modification of cerebral temperature on outcome after hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in the infant rat. Pediatric Research, 39(4), 591-597.

  10. Mallard, E. C., Gunn, A. J., Williams, C. E., Johnston, B. M., & Gluckman, P. D. (1992). TRANSIENT UMBILICAL-CORD OCCLUSION CAUSES HIPPOCAMPAL DAMAGE IN THE FETAL SHEEP. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 167(5), 1423-1430.

Additional information


  • Brain rescue workstation
  • The use of TGF beta for rescue in  neurological disease
  • Noninvasive cerebral edema monitor for ICU
  • Brain Rescue Instrument and method
  • Brain damage monitor 
  • The use of GPE for treatment of neurological disease
  • Methods to improve neural outcome
  • The use of Activin for treatment neurological disease
  • GH  for the treatment of neurological disease
  • Monitor for detection of white matter injuries
  • Treatment for improving function Parkinsons
  • Method for increasing GAD
  • Method for raising neural Chat
  • Regulation of neural enzymes
  • Processing to detect brain damage
  • Detection of injury in preterm infants

 CE/FDA regulatory approvals

  • Brain rescue monitor

  • Disposable brain monitoring sensors

  • Seizure monitor for neonates 


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