Prior to joining the Bionics Institute, Sophie completed her PhD at the University of Western Australia (2009-2013), where she investigated long-term effects of injury in the visual system. In 2012, Sophie started her first post doctorate position with Professor Janet Keast at the University of Melbourne (2013-2015) and assessed the regeneration and repair of the peripheral nervous system.

Sophie started working at the Bionics Institute in 2015 and has specialised in the use of medical devices in the autonomic nervous system to treat disease. She was a lead researcher in preclinical safety and efficacy studies that have led to the translation of new technology that electrically stimulates the vagus nerve for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Recently, Sophie’s interests have expanded to investigate the use of vagus nerve stimulation technology in treating type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Sophie is also working on developing technology that detects and diagnose disease. Specifically, she is working on developing new technology to detect intestinal inflammation during an endoscopic examination, and novel signal processing technology that decodes neural signals to predict and diagnose disease flare-ups as a first step in developing closed loop technology.

Sophie has imparted her knowledge and passion for her research through mentorship programs for recent graduates, and presentations to non-scientific community groups. To gain more insight through the eyes of the patient, and to facilitate patient engagement, Sophie is a member of Crohn’s and Colitis Australia and the Diabetes Australia Society. She was a mentor for Year 11 students in the ‘Mentoring the Next Generation of Women in STEMM’ program and is on the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery steering committee, which promotes excellence in clinical research, and facilitates an annual symposium.

E: [email protected]

Research projects

Crohn's disease


Urinary incontinence

Student Projects

Optimised closed-loop bioelectrical control over bladder function

Recent publications

  1. 2020. Differential effects of vagus nerve stimulation strategies on glycemia and pancreatic secretions. Physiological reports. 8(11): e14479. doi: 10.14814/phy2.14479. Full Text
  2. Payne, S. C., J. Alexandrovics, R. Thomas, R. K. Shepherd, J. Furness, and J. B. Fallon. 2020. Transmural impedance detects graded changes of inflammation in experimental colitis. Royal Society Open Science. 7(2): 191819. doi: 1098/rsos.191819. Full Text

  3. Payne, S. C., J. B. Furness, O. Burns, A. Sedo, T. Hyakumura, R. K. Shepherd, and J. B. Fallon. 2019. Anti-inflammatory Effects of Abdominal Vagus Nerve Stimulation on Experimental Intestinal Inflammation. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 13(418). doi: 3389/fnins.2019.00418. Full Text

  4. Payne, S. C., O. Burns, M. J. Stebbing, R. Thomas, A. C. de Silva, A. Sedo, F. Wiessenborn, T. Hyakumura, M. Huynh, C. N. May, R. A. Williams, J. Furness, J. Fallon, and R. Shepherd. 2019. Vagus nerve stimulation to treat inflammatory bowel disease: a chronic, preclinical safety study in sheep. Bioelectronics in Medicine. 1(4): 235-250. doi:

  5. Payne, S. C., J. B. Furness, and M. J. Stebbing. 2018. Bioelectric neuromodulation for gastrointestinal disorders: effectiveness and mechanisms. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology. 16(2): 89-105. doi: 10.1038/s41575-018-0078-6. Full Text

  6. O'Sullivan-Greene, E., T. Kameneva, D. Trevaks, A. Shafton, S. C. Payne, R. McAllen, J. B. Furness, and D. B. Grayden. 2018. Modeling experimental recordings of vagal afferent signaling of intestinal inflammation for neuromodulation. Journal of Neural Engineering. 15(5): 056032. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/aad96d. Full Text

  7. Payne, S. C., R. K. Shepherd, A. Sedo, J. B. Fallon, and J. B. Furness. 2018. An objective in vivo diagnostic method for inflammatory bowel disease. Royal Society Open Science. 5(3): 180107. doi: 10.1098/rsos.180107. Full Text

  8. Payne, S. C., P. J. Belleville, and J. R. Keast. 2015. Regeneration of sensory but not motor axons following visceral nerve injury. Experimental Neurology. 266: 127-142. doi: 1016/j.expneurol.2015.02.026.

  9. Wong, A. W., K. P. Yeung J, S. C. Payne, J. R. Keast, and P. B. Osborne. 2015. Neurite outgrowth in normal and injured primary sensory neurons reveals different regulation by nerve growth factor (NGF) and artemin. Molecular and Cellular Neurosciences. 65: 125-134. doi: 1016/j.mcn.2015.03.004.

  10. Forrest, S. L., S. C. Payne, J. R. Keast, and P. B. Osborne. 2015. Peripheral injury of pelvic visceral sensory nerves alters GFRalpha (GDNF family receptor alpha) localization in sensory and autonomic pathways of the sacral spinal cord. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy. 9: 43. doi: 3389/fnana.2015.00043. Full Text

Further information

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