Dr David Nayagam is a sell-side equities analyst and stock broker working at one of Australia’s largest boutique investment banks and financial services firms, E&P. He uses his 20+ years of experience in biological sciences and medical research to evaluate both listed and private companies operating in the Australian healthcare sector in order to make strategic investment recommendations to institutional and wealth clients. His goal is to facilitate the translation of promising technologies into successful commercial ventures with broad and tangible patient impact.

In addition, David is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute applying a focussed market-driven approach to address unmet patient needs. David works closely with surgeons, engineers, pathologists, statisticians, clinicians and a range of scientific experts to develop novel implantable medical devices and biomaterials for a range of clinical indications.

After graduating from the University of Melbourne with a double degree in electrical engineering and neuroscience, he completed a PhD using electrophysiology and computer-aided histology to study the auditory brainstem. His seminal studies uncovered new mechanisms and circuits, including fast inhibitory pathways which play an important role in sound processing. This work was published in leading neuroscience journals and was supervised by A/Prof Tony Paolini, Dr Janine Clarey, Prof Tony Burkitt and Prof Graeme Clark.

Subsequently, David was recruited by 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 Institute’s Eric Bauer laboratory within St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. During this time, he led a team of polymer-chemists, pathologists, engineers and scientists to investigate the biocompatibility of chronically-implanted novel polymer biomaterials. Importantly, his team performed a detailed biocompatibility implant study of novel carbon nanotube structures embedded in a flexible polymer substrate. This work was published in high-ranking nanomaterials journal. As part of his contribution to ACES, David also designed a hi-fidelity thin-film cochlear implant electrode prototype which was further developed and commercialised by the company ‘NeuroNexus’.

In 2009, David commenced working on a world’s first suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis (‘Bionic Eye’) as part of the Institute’s involvement in the federally funded Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) consortia (led by Prof Rob Shepherd). David played multiple roles within the Bionic Eye project ranging from: design concepts and prototype iteration; to intricate feasibility and efficacy studies; to clinical device development; manufacturing handover; and surgical development studies. He was primarily responsible for leading a large multi-disciplinary team to perform pre-clinical safety studies of the bionic eye electrodes and implantable stimulator for both our first- and second-generation devices (for which he is a co-inventor). He was also responsible for ensuring implant functionality and safety during surgical implantation and subsequently during the course of the clinical trials. The Suprachoroidal Bionic Eye results have been published in a many scientific journals and have featured in numerous media stories around the world. The Bionic Eye is currently undergoing commercialisation by industry partner, Bionic Vision Technologies, with the aim of restoring sight to patients with hereditary eye disease such as retinitis pigmentosa.

From 2014, David has been the team leader for the ‘Minimally-Invasive Retinal-degeneration Arrestor’ (MIRA) project, which is a therapeutic eye implant developed in collaboration with clinical partners at the Centre for Eye Research Australia. With support from Cochlear and Bionic Vision Technologies (BVT) alongside an NHMRC ‘Excellence Award’-winning Development Grant, the team are working towards a first-in-human trial and subsequent commercialisation of this clinically promising innovation which aims to maintain eyesight in patients with degenerative vision loss.

David is involved in several other projects including leading histopathology safety studies for the EpiMinder device and other implantable bionics developed by A/Prof Chris Williams, as well as stem cell therapies for the restoration of the auditory nerve following deafness, led by his wife, A/Prof Bryony Nayagam (University of Melbourne). David has also provided contract research consultancy for Cochlear P/L, Monash Vision Group, Glysens and other commercial entities.

In addition to scientific research, David was an astronaut candidate with the European Space Agency (ESA; 2008-09 intake). After successfully completing a year of exhaustive aptitude, psychological, medical and fitness 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. With final decisions influenced by national investment agreements, David was unsuccessful at this last stage. Following the experience, he was invited by Senator Kim Carr to join Australia’s first Space Council, to explore and define a vision for the Australian civil space industry. The Space Industry Innovation Council provided high-level ministerial advice during the development of the nation’s inaugural Space Policy; this formed the policy foundation for the Australian Space Agency.

David is an editor of the top-ranked journal, ‘Trends in Neuroscience’, and a moderator of the most popular online scientific forum ‘/r/science’ (reddit.com; 24.5 million subscribers). His other activities have included student supervision, membership of hospital ethics committee, public and scientific presentations of research outcomes, and peer-review. Since 2015, David has been the ‘science commentator’ for the ABC 774 radio show ‘Evenings’ where he discusses a range of scientific topics and interviews eminent scientists (including a Nobel Prize winner).

In 2021, David completed an MBA at Melbourne Business School with first class honours – majoring in Strategy and Finance. He received two Dean’s Commendations and was a member of the team awarded first place in the prestigious Zurich International Enterprise Challenge (2020), in which he and his three colleagues developed a novel risk framework for National Australia Bank.

David holds honorary clinical and research appointments at the Centre for Eye Research Australia, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the University of Melbourne Department of Pathology. He is a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), and the Society of Neuroscience (SfN).

Outside of work, David is a hang glider pilot, PADI rescue diver, lead guitarist (in a tragically under-appreciated Melbourne band: “Perpendicular Columns of Rock”), enjoys photography and has pursued independent travel to over 50 countries plus remote off-road touring with his wife and kids within Australia. He speaks conversational Spanish and basic Russian.

E: [email protected]

ORCID: 0000-0002-4380-6640

Google scholar: David Nayagam

Research projects

Implant to delay blindness (NHMRC Development Grant 2016) (BI website has been removed we are working on a new one with CERA team)

NHMRC Development Grant (awarded 2021 – under embargo no website yet)



Current PhD Student Supervision

  • Mr Patrick Thien (Bionics Institute)

Top 10 Publications

First-in-human trial of a novel suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis

LN Ayton, PJ Blamey, RH Guymer, CD Luu, DAX Nayagam, NC Sinclair, ...

PloS one 9 (12), e115239

Visual prostheses for the blind

RK Shepherd, MN Shivdasani, DAX Nayagam, CE Williams, PJ Blamey

Trends in biotechnology 31 (10), 562-571

Electrical stimulation of retinal ganglion cells with diamond and the development of an all diamond retinal prosthesis

AE Hadjinicolaou, RT Leung, DJ Garrett, K Ganesan, K Fox, ...

Biomaterials 33 (24), 5812-5820

Soft, flexible freestanding neural stimulation and recording electrodes fabricated from reduced graphene oxide

NV Apollo, MI Maturana, W Tong, DAX Nayagam, MN Shivdasani, ...

Advanced Functional Materials 25 (23), 3551-3559

A wide-field suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis is stable and well tolerated following chronic implantation

J Villalobos, DAX Nayagam, PJ Allen, P McKelvie, CD Luu, LN Ayton, ...

Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 54 (5), 3751-3762

Chronic electrical stimulation with a suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis: a preclinical safety and efficacy study

DAX Nayagam, RA Williams, PJ Allen, MN Shivdasani, CD Luu, ...

PloS one 9 (5), e97182

Powerful, onset inhibition in the ventral nucleus of the lateral lemniscus

DAX Nayagam, JC Clarey, AG Paolini

Journal of neurophysiology 94 (2), 1651-1654

In Vivo and In Vitro Comparison of the Charge Injection Capacity of Platinum Macroelectrodes

RT Leung, MN Shivdasani, DAX Nayagam, RK Shepherd

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering 62 (3), 849-857

Development of a surgical procedure for implantation of a prototype suprachoroidal retinal prosthesis

AL Saunders, CE Williams, W Heriot, R Briggs, J Yeoh, DAX Nayagam, ...

Clinical & experimental ophthalmology 42 (7), 665-674

Biocompatibility of immobilized aligned carbon nanotubes

DAX Nayagam, RA Williams, J Chen, KA Magee, J Irwin, J Tan, P Innis, ...

Small 7 (8), 1035-1042


Further information