Joel is a biomedical engineer with experience in preclinical research in the medical bionics field. As a research fellow, Joel’s work has focused on developing improved Deep Brain Stimulation implants for Parkinson’s disease therapy, as well as developing electrodes for a suprachoroidal Bionic Eye. Joel completed his PhD (Melbourne) in 2012 on the safety evaluation of a suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis. This work lead to a first-in-human clinical trial with the technology at the Bionics Institute. Recently Joel started looking into the possibility of using peripheral nerve stimulation technology to treat type 2 Diabetes.

At the Bionics Institute Joel has been able to complement his interest in physiology with his formal background in Electronic Systems Engineering (cum laude, Tec de Monterrey, Mexico) to develop medical device technologies. Prior to his PhD in biomedical engineering, Joel worked as an electronics design engineer and software developer in an engineering firm with clients in the automotive, manufacturing and building automation industries. He has also worked in the construction industry where he fine-tuned his CAD skills and understanding of structural design.

E: [email protected] 

Research projects


Pre-clinical validation (ERNA signal)

Adaptive Deep Brain Stimulation Device (ASTUTE system)

Improved positioning for DBS (ADEPT device)

Recent publications

  1. Shivdasani, M. N., M. Evans, O. Burns, J. Yeoh, P. J. Allen, D. Nayagam, J. Villalobos, C. J. Abbott, C. D. Luu, N. L. Opie, A. Sabu, A. L. Saunders, M. McPhedran, L. Cardamone, C. McGowan, V. Maxim, R. A. Williams, K. Fox, R. Cicione, D. J. Garrett, A. Ahnood, K. Ganesan, H. Meffin, A. N. Burkitt, S. Prawer, C. E. Williams, and R. K. Shepherd. 2020. In vivo feasibility of epiretinal stimulation using ultrananocrystalline diamond electrodes. Journal of Neural Engineering: [epub ahead of print]. doi: 1088/1741-2552/aba560.

  2. Payne, S. C., G. Ward, R. J. MacIsaac, T. Hyakumura, J. B. Fallon, and J. Villalobos. 2020. Differential effects of vagus nerve stimulation strategies on glycemia and pancreatic secretions. Physiological reports. 8(11): e14479. doi: 14814/phy2.14479. Full Text

  3. Villalobos, J., H. J. McDermott, P. McNeill, A. Golod, V. Rathi, S. Bauquier, and J. B. Fallon. 2020. Slim electrodes for improved targeting in deep brain stimulation. Journal of Neural Engineering. 17: 026008. doi: 1088/1741-2552/ab7a51.

  4. Sikder, M. K. U., M. N. Shivdasani, J. B. Fallon, P. Seligman, K. Ganesan, J. Villalobos, S. Prawer, and D. J. Garrett. 2019. Electrically conducting diamond films grown on platinum foil for neural stimulation. Journal of Neural Engineering. 16(6): 066002. doi: 1088/1741-2552/ab2e79.

  5. Shepherd, R. K., J. Villalobos, O. Burns, and D. Nayagam. 2018. The development of neural stimulators: a review of preclinical safety and efficacy studies. Journal of Neural Engineering. 15(4): 041004. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/aac43c. Full Text

  6. Abbott, C. J., D. A. X. Nayagam, C. D. Luu, S. B. Epp, R. A. Williams, C. M. Salinas-LaRosa, J. Villalobos, C. McGowan, M. N. Shivdasani, O. Burns, J. Leavens, J. Yeoh, A. A. Brandli, P. C. Thien, J. Zhou, H. Feng, C. E. Williams, R. K. Shepherd, and P. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Villalobos, J., J. B. Fallon, D. A. Nayagam, M. N. Shivdasani, C. D. Luu, P. J. Allen, R. K. Shepherd, and C. E. Williams. 2014. Cortical activation following chronic passive implantation of a wide-field suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis. Journal of Neural Engineering. 11(4): 046017. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/11/4/046017.

  9. Saunders, A. L., C. E. Williams, W. Heriot, R. Briggs, J. Yeoh, D. A. Nayagam, M. McCombe, J. Villalobos, O. Burns, C. D. Luu, L. N. Ayton, M. McPhedran, N. L. Opie, C. McGowan, R. K. Shepherd, R. Guymer, and P. J. Allen. 2014. Development of a surgical procedure for implantation of a prototype suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis. Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology. 42(7): 665-74. doi: 1111/ceo.12287. Full Text

  10. Nayagam, D. A., R. A. Williams, P. J. Allen, M. N. Shivdasani, C. D. Luu, C. M. Salinas-LaRosa, S. Finch, L. N. Ayton, A. L. Saunders, M. McPhedran, C. McGowan, J. Villalobos, J. B. Fallon, A. K. Wise, J. Yeoh, J. Xu, H. Feng, R. Millard, M. McWade, P. C. Thien, C. E. Williams, and R. K. Shepherd. 2014. Chronic electrical stimulation with a suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis: a preclinical safety and efficacy study. PLoS ONE. 9(5): e97182. doi: 1371/journal.pone.0097182. Full Text