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Bionic eye and cochlear implant researcher joins University

24 July 2017
New appointment adds strength to biomedical engineering

Professor Gregg Suaning – a global leader in implantable bionics – has joined the University of Sydney, stepping into the role of Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

Professor Gregg Suaning.

Professor Gregg Suaning.

Professor Suaning joins the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering from today, Monday 24 July.

Professor Suaning has over a quarter century of experience in implantable neuroprosthesis research in both academia and industry.

In the 1990s, Professor Suaning was a member of the design team for the second generation cochlear implant – the Nucleus CI24 – which is the basis of the implant in widespread use today.

Since the late 1990s, he has led bionic eye research efforts in Australia – developing and testing the effectiveness of the bionic eye to restore functional vision for people with a visual impairment. Several of these efforts included collaborations with the University’s Sydney Medical School researchers – including Professor Peter McCluskey, Associate Professor John Grigg and Associate Professor Adrian Fung – and Professor Suaning has been an Honorary Professor of the school since 2014.

Professor Suaning said he will continue this work at University of Sydney and aims to collaborate with researchers and students to bring the bionic eye technology to the first ‘in human’ stage in the near future.

“My research has close ties with the researchers in the Sydney Medical School – we’ve worked very well together over many years and when the opportunity came up to cement existing and establish new ties in the biomedical engineering space, I jumped at the chance,” he said.

“Over the past several years I’ve also had the privilege of supervising a number of students from the University of Sydney and invariably they have been beyond extraordinary. I wanted to become involved in whatever secret formula is being used to produce such talented young people.”

Welcoming his arrival, Professor Archie Johnston, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, said: “This is an excellent appointment – not just for the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, but for the University of Sydney as a whole. Professor Suaning has made significant contributions in the biomedical engineering field, and I am certain he will make an outstanding contribution at this University.”

Professor Stefan Williams, Head of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, also welcomed Professor Suaning’s appointment as an important addition to the University’s research focus on biomedical engineering.

“Professor Suaning will add significant new strength to our capability in biomedical engineering and open pathways for our researchers and students to contribute to pioneering and transformational research in the areas of sensory and motor bionics, bioinstrumentation and electroceuticals,” Professor Williams said.

“He is also a key Chief Investigator in our recently awarded ARC Industry Transformation Training Centre in Musculoskeletal Biomedical Technologies.”

Professor Suaning previously held positions at the University of New South Wales and University of Newcastle. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has played a leadership role in in competitive research programs with funding in excess of $60 million during his academic career.

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