David Nayagam

BSc/BE(ElecEng)(Hons), PhD, The University of Melbourne, 2007

Research Fellow, Bionics Institute

P: +61 3 9667 7593
F: +61 3 9667 7518

David Nayagam is a Research Fellow at Melbourne’s Bionics Institute (BI). After graduating from Melbourne University with a double degree in electrical engineering and neuroscience, he then completed a PhD in neuroscience and became an expert in electrophysiology of the auditory brainstem, looking specifically at the ventral complex of the lateral lemniscus. His work on these previously poorly understood nuclei, supervised by A/Prof Tony Paolini, Dr Janine Clarey, Prof Tony Burkitt and Prof Graeme Clark, uncovered new mechanisms and circuits, including fast inhibitory pathways which may play an important role in sound processing. Findings from these studies were published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology and the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Subsequently, David worked as a research fellow at the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), supervised by Prof Graeme Clark and Prof Gordon Wallace, where he established the Eric Bauer laboratory within the BI and performed studies investigating nano-bionics, nano-safety, and hi-fidelity cochlear implants. Results from this work were recently accepted into the high ranking Nanotechnology journal Small, including cover artwork (shown below).

Currently, David works on the ‘Bionic Eye’ project as part of the BI’s involvement in the federally funded Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) consortia. As part of the BI’s pre-clinical team, supervised by A/Prof Chris Williams and Prof Rob Shepherd, he is primarily responsible for chronic pre-clinical safety and efficacy studies of the bionic eye electrodes. David is also an honorary staff member of the University of Melbourne (Department of Pathology) and collaborates on several projects including stem cell therapies for the restoration of the auditory nerve following deafness, led by Dr Bryony Nayagam (Department of Otolaryngology).

In addition to scientific research, David was recently an astronaut candidate with the European Space Agency (2008-09 intake). After successfully completing a year of exhaustive selection and screening tests, held in several European cities, he was one of 22 finalists interviewed for the position of European Astronaut from an international pool of 8,413 qualified applicants. Despite being unsuccessful this time, David remains keen to contribute to mankind’s future in space and is honoured to be an original member of the Australian government’s Space Industry Innovation Council


Research fields of interest

  • “Bionic Eye” retinal prosthesis safety and efficacy
  • Nanobionics and biocompatibility of carbon nanotubes

  • Auditory brainstem neuroscience / electrophysiology

Research projects


  1. Nayagam, DAX, Williams, RA, Chen, J, Magee, KA, Irwin, J, Tan, J, Innis, P, Leung, RT, Finch, S, Williams, CE, Clark, GM, Wallace, GG (2011) Biocompatibility of Immobilized Aligned Carbon Nanotubes. Small, 7: 1035–1042. doi: 10.1002/smll.201002083 
    (shown above)

  2.  Nayagam DAX, Clarey JC, Paolini AG (2010) The Ventral Complex of the Lateral Lemniscus: A Review of Current Literature in ‘Deafness, Hearing Loss and the Auditory System’. Nova Science Publishers (pp 1 - 86;  ISBN: 978-1-60741-259-5; invited book chapter).

  3. Nayagam DAX (2007) Intracellular and Extracellular Responses, Morphology, and Spatial Distribution of Neurons in the Ventral Complex of the Lateral Lemniscus. Unpublished PhD thesis, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria. 

  4. Nayagam DAX, Clarey JC, Paolini AG (2006) Intracellular Responses and Morphology of Rat Ventral Complex of the Lateral Lemniscus Neurons In Vivo. J Comp Neurol 498:295-315. 

  5. Nayagam DAX, Clarey JC, Paolini AG (2005) Powerful, Onset Inhibition in the Ventral Nucleus of the Lateral Lemniscus. J Neurophysiol 94:1651-1654.

 See more publications by David Nayagam in PubMed


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