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Innovations for Eye Repair

Innovations in medical technologies are providing new and improved ways to prevent, diagnose and treat vision loss and blindness caused by conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, or injury. This panel will bring together clinical, engineering, and industry experts to discuss current clinical and research challenges in this field, as well as some of the bioengineering strategies being developed to tackle vision loss and improve outcomes for patients.

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Meet the panelists


Professor Andrea O'Connor, Shanahan Chair in Frontier Medical Solutions, Biomedical Engineering, The University of Melbourne

Andrea is the Shanahan Chair in Frontier Medical Solutions a Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and leads the Tissue Engineering Group at the University of Melbourne. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995-96.

Her research is focussed on design, synthesis and fabrication of biomaterials, porous materials and antimicrobial nanomaterials. She is particularly interested in strategies for scale-up of tissue engineering including vascularisation, and design of antimicrobial materials for medical implants. She has published over 90 journal articles, co-authored the chapter on Tissue Engineering for the major reference work ‘Plastic Surgery’ edited by Neligan and Gurtner, lectured on tissue engineering and biofabrication at the Bayreuth International Summer School, Germany, and was a finalist in the 2017 Graeme Clark Institute HealthTech Innovation Challenge. Andrea also led the engineering team on the world-first Neopec clinical trial of breast reconstruction using tissue engineering, showing proof-of-principle of tissue engineering of large volumes of well vascularised fat tissue. She collaborates with a range of hospitals, medical research institutes and medical device companies to improve existing products, develop new devices and solve clinical problems.


Professor Mark Daniell, Head of Surgical Research, Centre For Eye Research Australia


Mark is a senior consultant at Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, serving as Head of the Corneal Service since 2011, and overseeing a team of surgeons performing corneal transplantation for Victoria.

He is Head of Surgical Research at the Centre For Eye Research Australia.

He has a significant research interest in a bioengineered cornea, developing the concepts for this project and being the driving force gathering together the collaboration partners.

He has had successful collaborations with numerous groups both nationally and internationally, including an ongoing project with Professor Greg Qiao at the University of Melbourne and is leading a national group developing a tissue engineered cornea. He has supervised several postgraduate students in the field of tissue engineering.

He is the founding Chair of the ANZ Corneal Society and Medical Director of the Lions Eye Bank. Previously he was Head of Ophthalmology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (2003-2011). He is the immediate past President of RANZCO.


Dr Russell Tait, CEO, Polyactiva

Russell is CEO of PolyActiva Pty Ltd a Melbourne based clinical stage ophthalmology company He has been CEO since February 2010 and joined the board in August 2011. Russell is a co-inventor of PolyActiva’s technology and one of the founders of the company. He has led the company through a number of funding rounds and seen it transition from a R&D enterprise into a clinical development company able to make its own clinical trial supply. Russell has 20+ years’ experience in drug delivery and pharmaceutical product development with leading pharmaceutical companies, including Glaxo Australia and Faulding. Russell holds degrees in Pharmacy from the Victorian College of Pharmacy, a PhD from Deakin University, and MBA(Executive) from the Australian Graduate School of Management and is a registered pharmacist. He also undertook a post-doc position at Kansas University. He is a serial innovator being the inventor for more than 10 separate patent families.


Professor Greg Qiao, Chemical Engineering, The University of Melbourne

Professor Greg Qiao received his B.En in Donghua University in 1982 and Ph.D. at the University of Queensland in 1996. He joined the University of Melbourne in 1996 and became a full Professor in 2009. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC)’s Future Fellow (2012-2015) and is a Fellow of Royal Australia Chemical Institute (RACI) and Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), London. Prof Qiao was the Chair of Polymer Division of the RACI (2015-2016) and a member of ARC College of Experts (2016-2018). Prof Qiao received RACI Applied Research Award in 2017, ExxonMobil Award in 2015, RACI’s Polymer Division Citations in 2011 and 2019 as well as Freehills Award in 2010. He has published more than 300 journal papers and is a co-inventor for more than 20 patents. His key research interests are in new polymer synthesis, polymeric drug and drug delivery, biopolymers, and polymers for soft tissue engineering.

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If you have any queries about this event please contact the events team at industry-events@unimelb.edu.au

If you’d like to find out more about our MedTech activities please visit eng.unimelb.edu.au/medtech