• Dr Nicholas Opie

Dr Nicholas Opie is a biomedical engineer with experience in neural prostheses and co-head of the Vascular Bionics Laboratory. Dr Opie completed his BE (Hons) and BSc undergraduate degrees at Monash University in 2007 and was awarded his PhD in 2012 for research developing a bionic eye. He was employed as the Surgical Program Coordinator on Bionic Vision Australia’s retinal prosthesis project, and was integral in development and preclinical validation of the technology designed to restore rudimentary vision to the profoundly blind. This device was implanted in three patients in 2014 with great success. In 2012, Dr Opie was awarded a $1.33M grant from US defence organization DARPA to develop a minimally invasive brain machine interface. This funding, and subsequent funding totaling more than $5.5M has enabled Dr Opie to establish and co-lead the Vascular Bionics Laboratory within the Department of Medicine at The University of Melbourne; a laboratory which has grown to support more than 20 graduate and undergraduate researchers. Dr Opie is leading the research team conducting preclinical safety and efficacy trials on a device capable of recording neural information from within a blood vessel, which may enable direct brain control of wheelchairs, exoskeletons and computers to people with paralysis as early as 2017. Dr Opie is the founding CTO of SmartStent, a company incorporated to translate endovascular bionic technology into clinical application.