Thushara Perera

PhD, MEng (Biomedical), BEng (Electronics, Hons)

Research Fellow (Electronics/Software)

P: +61 3 9667 7561
F: +61 3 9667 7542

Dr Thushara Perera began working at the Bionics Institute in 2012 and has since been involved in the Bionic Vision and Neurobionics research areas. He was part of the team that designed, manufactured and implanted a state-of-the-art bionic eye in Australia’s first human clinical trial. Thushara helped develop the Institute’s bionic eye software platform allowing clinicians to send information to the retinal implant. Witnessing the first bionic eye being successfully switched on and restoring rudimentary vision to a blind participant was one of the most memorable moments in Thushara’s career thus far.

At present, Thushara focusses his efforts on research to help those suffering from movement disorders such as Essential Tremor, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Working closely with neurologists, neurosurgeons, physiotherapists and engineers, he is developing clinical tools to help optimise and guide treatment for these patients. Thushara aims to design, develop and validate precise instrumentation to measure tremor, balance, posture, rigidity and gait. These tools can be deployed in the clinic and as part of clinical trials to drive the advancement of therapies and to optimise existing treatments. These instruments are currently being used to develop a next generation brain stimulator that can automatically adjust therapy to suit patient needs.

Prior to joining the Bionics Institute, Thushara completed his PhD at La Trobe University investigating a novel technique to monitor depth of anaesthesia in young children. He also worked part time as a Biomedical Engineer at the Royal Children’s Hospital redesigning a unique audiometer to test the hearing of children who have developmental problems.

Research fields of interest 

  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Human movement disorders
  • Brain imaging (MRI/CT)
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Wearable technologies
  • Neural prostheses
  • Biomedical device technology
  • Advanced signal processing and automation

 Research projects

Awards and honours

  • 2016 Victoria Fellowship in Life Sciences
  • 2015 Harold Mitchell Travelling Fellowship
  • 2009 Australian Postgraduate Award
  • 2008 Tad Szental Prize in Electronic Engineering
  • 2007 Hooper Memorial Prize
  • 2004 Wanda Henry Memorial Scholarship

Recent publications

Yohanandan SAC, Jones M, Peppard R, Tan JL, McDermott HJ, Perera T, “Evaluating machine learning algorithms estimating tremor severity ratings on the Bain-Findley scale,” Measurement Science and Technology, 27(12), 2016.
Braybrook M, O’Connor S, Churchward P, Perera T, Farzanehfar P, Horne M, “An Ambulatory Tremor Score for Parkinson's Disease,” Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, 6(4), 2016.
Perera T, Yohanandan SAC, Thevathasan W,  Jones M, Peppard R, Evans A, Tan JL, McKay C, McDermott HJ, “Clinical Validation of a Precision Electromagnetic Tremor Measurement System in Participants Receiving Deep Brain Stimulation for Essential Tremor,” Physiological Measurement, 37(9), 2016.
Sinclair NC, Shivdasani MN, Perera T, Gillespie LN, McDermott HJ, Ayton LN, Blamey PJ, for the Bionic Vision Australia Research Consortium,  “The Appearance of Phosphenes Elicited Using a Suprachoroidal Retinal Prosthesis," Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 57(11), 2016.
Perera T, Yohanandan SAC, McDermott HJ, “A Simple and Inexpensive Test-Rig for Evaluating the Performance of Motion Sensors used in Movement Disorders Research,” Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing, 54(2), 2016.
Perera T, Yohanandan SAC, McKay CM, McDermott HJ, “Evaluation of an Objective Tremor Assessment System for Movement Disorders Research,” Informit Engineering Collection, Proceedings of the Australian Biomedical Engineering Conference, 38-45, 2015.
Vogel AP, McDermott HJ, Perera T, Jones M, Peppard R, McKay CM, “The feasibility of using acoustic markers of speech for optimizing patient outcomes during randomized amplitude variation in deep brain stimulation: a proof of principle methods study,” Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 3, 2015.
Perera T, Lewis PM, Davidson AJ, Junor P, Bottrell S, “A Pilot study to determine whether visually evoked hemodynamic responses are preserved in children during inhalational anesthesia,” Pediatric Anesthesia, 25(3), 2014.
Ayton LN, Blamey PJ, Guymer RH, Luu CD, Nayagam DAX, Sinclair NC, Shivdasani MN, Yeoh J, McCombe MF, Briggs RJ, Opie NL, Villalobos J, Dimitrov PN, Varsamidis M, Petoe MA, McCarthy CD, Walker JG, Barnes N, Burkitt AN, Williams CE, Shepherd RK, Allen PJ, Bionic Vision Australia Research Consortium*, “First-in-Human Trial of a Novel Suprachoroidal Retinal Prosthesis,” PLoS one, 9(12), 2014.
Shivdasani, MN, Sinclair NC, Dimitrov PN, Varsamidis M, Ayton LN, Luu CD, Perera T, McDermott HJ, Blamey PJ, “Factors affecting perceptual thresholds in a suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis," Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 55(10), 2014.

Invited presentations

Perera T, Yohanandan SAC, Tan JL, Begg DA, Oetomo B, Sinclair NC, Jones M, Vogel AP, Peppard R, McGinley JL, Thevathasan W, McDermott HJ, “Objective Instrumented Measures of Disease Severity in Movement Disorders,” 4th International Conference on Medical Bionics, Brisbane, Australia, 2016.

Perera T, Yohanandan SAC, Tan JL, Begg DA, Oetomo B, Sinclair NC, Jones M, Vogel AP, Peppard R, McGinley JL, Thevathasan W, McDermott HJ, “Wearable Sensors for Parkinson’s Disease,” Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand 1st Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne, Australia, 2016.

Perera T, Yohanandan SAC, McKay CM, Vogel AP, McDermott HJ, “Motion Tracking for Multiple Sclerosis Tremor,” 4th Annual Symposium on Precision Neuroscience, Melbourne, Australia, 2014.

Perera T, Lewis P, Davidson A, Junor P, Bottrell S, “A Stepping Stone to Depth-of-Anaesthesia Monitoring using NIRS,” Australian and New Zealand College of Perfusionists 29th Annual Scientific Meeting, Uluru, Australia, 2012.


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