Dr David Nayagam

Research Fellow, Bionics Institute BSc/BE(ElecEng)(Hons), PhD, The University of Melbourne, 2007

Dr David Nayagam

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

Selected Publications

  1. Abbott, Carla J., David A. X. Nayagam, Chi D. Luu, Stephanie B. Epp, Richard A. Williams, Cesar M. Salinas-LaRosa, Joel Villalobos, Ceara McGowan, Mohit N. Shivdasani, Owen Burns, Jason Leavens, Jonathan Yeoh, Alice A. Brandli, Patrick C. Thien, Jenny Zhou, Helen Feng, Chris E. Williams, Robert K. Shepherd, and Penelope J. Allen. 2018. Safety Studies for a 44-Channel Suprachoroidal Retinal Prosthesis: A Chronic Passive Study. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 59(3): 1410-1424. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-23086. Full Text
  2. Thien, P. C., R. Millard, S. B. Epp, and D. A .X. Nayagam. 2018. A Flexible Wireless System for Preclinical Evaluation of Retinal Prosthesis. Sensors and Materials. 30(2): 269 – 86. Full Text
  3. Benovitski, Y. B., A. Lai, C. C. McGowan, O. Burns, V. Maxim, D. A. X. Nayagam, R. Millard, G. D. Rathbone, M. A. le Chevoir, R. A. Williams, D. B. Grayden, C. N. May, M. Murphy, W. J. D’Souza, M. J. Cook, and C. E. Williams. 2017. Ring and peg electrodes for minimally-Invasive and long-term sub-scalp EEG recordings. Epilepsy Research. 135: 29-37.
  4. Apollo, N. V., J. Jiang, W. Cheung, S. Baquier, A. Lai, A. Mirebedeni, J. Foroughi, G. G. Wallace, M. N. Shivdasani, S. Prawer, S. Chen, R. Williams, M. J. Cook, D. A .X. Nayagam, and D. J. Garrett. 2017. Development and characterization of a sucrose microneedle neural electrode delivery system. Advanced Biosystems: 1700187.
  5. Garrett, D. J., A. L. Saunders, C. McGowan, J. Specks, K. Ganesan, H. Meffin, R. A. Williams, and D. A. Nayagam. 2016. In vivo biocompatibility of boron doped and nitrogen included conductive-diamond for use in medical implants. Journal of biomedical materials research. Part B, Applied biomaterials. 104(1): 19-26. Full Text
  6. Fox, K., H. Meffin, O. Burns, C. J. Abbott, P. J. Allen, N. L. Opie, C. McGowan, J. Yeoh, A. Ahnood, C. D. Luu, R. Cicione, A. L. Saunders, M. McPhedran, L. Cardamone, J. Villalobos, D. J. Garrett, D. A. Nayagam, N. V. Apollo, K. Ganesan, M. N. Shivdasani, A. Stacey, M. Escudie, S. Lichter, R. K. Shepherd, and S. Prawer. 2016. Development of a Magnetic Attachment Method for Bionic Eye Applications. Artificial Organs. 40(3): E12-24.
  7. Ahnood, A., K. E. Fox, N. V. Apollo, A. Lohrmann, D. J. Garrett, D. A. Nayagam, T. Karle, A. Stacey, K. M. Abberton, W. A. Morrison, A. Blakers, and S. Prawer. 2016. Diamond encapsulated photovoltaics for transdermal power delivery. Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 77: 589-97.
  8. Spencer, M. J., D. A. Nayagam, J. C. Clarey, A. G. Paolini, H. Meffin, A. N. Burkitt, and D. B. Grayden. 2015. Broadband Onset Inhibition Can Suppress Spectral Splatter in the Auditory Brainstem. PLoS ONE. 10(5): e0126500. Full Text
  9. Nayagam, D. A., I. Durmo, C. McGowan, R. A. Williams, and R. K. Shepherd. 2015. Techniques for processing eyes implanted with a retinal prosthesis for localized histopathological analysis: Part 2 Epiretinal implants with retinal tacks. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE(96): doi: 10.3791/52348. Full Text
  10. Lichter, S. G., M. C. Escudie, A. D. Stacey, K. Ganesan, K. Fox, A. Ahnood, N. V. Apollo, D. C. Kua, A. Z. Lee, C. McGowan, A. L. Saunders, O. Burns, D. A. Nayagam, R. A. Williams, D. J. Garrett, H. Meffin, and S. Prawer. 2015. Hermetic diamond capsules for biomedical implants enabled by gold active braze alloys. Biomaterials. 53: 464-74.

See more publications by David Nayagam in PubMed and Google Scholar



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