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Awards aplenty for Bionics Institute PhD students

Awards aplenty for Bionics Institute PhD students

Bionics Institute PhD candidates, Ishara Paranawithana and Ajmal Azeez have been recognised by separate institutions for their early research talent.

In August, Ishara Paranawithana was awarded a prestigious MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship.

Supported by the MedTech Actuator and the Menzies Foundation, 10 high potential PhD researchers are awarded a MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship annually to support their academic development.

“Applying for the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship allowed me to see the big picture of my PhD research, understand my potential, and the impact I can make through medical research to transform the lives of many people,” said Ishara.

“I’m excited to learn new skills and knowledge around research translation and commercialisation, and expand my network to expose myself to better opportunities in med tech field in the future. I’m also keen to make the most out of this learning opportunity to further my understanding about Australia’s med tech start-up ecosystem.”

Ishara currently is studying with Professor Colette McKay‘s team and his PhD project is titled: “Using fNIRS to explore language development in infants”. The focus of this research is to develop novel techniques to measure functional connectivity in language areas of the brain using fNIRS to better understand how hearing impairment affects language development in infants.

In the same month, Ajmal Azees won the RMIT round of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) People’s Choice Award.

Ajmal claimed the award for a video on his PhD project titled: “Combining optogenetic stimulation and electrical stimulation to enhance spatial resolution of neural stimulation”.

This competition is designed to test the students ability to communicate their science orally, cultivating the students academic, presentation and research communication skills

“I feel very proud on being awarded with People’s Choice Award at the 3-minute Thesis Competition organized by RMIT University,” said Ajmal.

“By presenting at 3 Minute Thesis , my confidence has been boosted and I will be able to present to technical audience and non technical audience  with more enthusiasm to create more awareness about my research. Also it feels very satisfying and encouraging to do more research when someone acknowledges our research works.”

Ajmal’s PhD project at the Bionics Institute investigates the efficacy of a hybrid neural stimulation device that combines light emitting diodes (LEDs) and platinum electrodes to harness the precision of optogenetic stimulation while maintaining the efficiency and speed of electrical stimulation.

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