Project 1 aims to develop and apply state-of-the-art machine learning approaches for epileptic seizure prediction and assessing the efficacy of epilepsy medication. It will develop two types of new machine learning models: (i) Type I models will be designed to analyse multimodal time-series data for epileptic seizure prediction with a special focus on recurrent neural network models and EEG, time of day, and movement tracking data; (ii) Type II models will be designed to analyse medical patient records for assessing and improving the efficacy of epilepsy medication, by investigating correlations between administered medication and evidence on patient outcomes.

Project 2 aims to bring together neural models of the brain with machine learning to study and treat epilepsy. This project will develop patient-specific neural field models and neural mass models that replicate recorded EEG signals with high fidelity. The underlying model states and parameters will be used as inputs to machine learning algorithms to predict seizures and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of epilepsy. This combined approach will help us to understand the causes and behaviours of epileptic seizures and build high fidelity models for epileptic seizure prediction.



Professor David Grayden

Clifford Chair of Neural Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Melbourne School of Engineering
The University of Melbourne

Professor David Grayden is the Clifford Chair of Neural Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Leader of the Bionics Laboratory in the Centre for Neural Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne.

Prof Grayden's main research interests are in understanding how the brain processes information, how best to present information to the brain using medical bionics, such as the bionic ear and bionic eye, and how to record information from the brain, such as for brain-machine interfaces. He is also conducting research in epileptic seizure prediction and electrical stimulation to prevent or stop epileptic seizures, and in electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve to control inflammatory bowel disease. He has research linkages with the Bionics Institute, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of South Australia, Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, and University of Maryland, USA.


Dr Dean Freestone

Senior Research Fellow
St Vincent’s Hospital, The University of Melbourne

Dr Freestone’s research is focused on reverse engineering the human brain. He is developing methods to create a mathematical blueprint of the brain, so engineering methods can be used to treat neurological disorders. His research findings are about to be trialled in a brain implant designed to predict and control epileptic seizures in collaboration with the medical device company Medtronic. He also works closely IBM Australia, where the team is creating specialised computer chips that can interface with the brain and bypass broken neural circuits.

Dr Freestone has a degree in Electronic Engineering from La Trobe University, where he won the Vice-Chancellor's Travelling Scholarship, the Tad Szental Prize for the best engineering final year student and the Hooper Memorial Prize for best final year project. In 2012, Dr Freestone completed his PhD in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at the University of Melbourne (and The University of Edinburgh on exchange), where he won the John Melvin Memorial Scholarship for the best PhD in Engineering and the University wide Chancellor’s Prize for PhD Excellence. Dr Freestone was the 2014-2015 Victorian Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow, where he worked in the Neural Statistics Lab at Columbia University in New York City, USA. He is now a junior faculty member in the Department of Medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, since October 2015.


Dr Iven Michiel Yvonne Mareels

Lab Director
IBM Research - Australia

I became lab director of IBM Research Australia in February 2018. Our lab (in Melbourne) focuses on artificial (augmented) intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing applied to the health and financial services sectors.

I have published extensively (more than 500 peer reviewed publications, including five books). I am a co-inventor on a suite of 32 international patents, with another 2 in submission. I have supervised 42 PhD students. At present I am supervising another five PhD students.

I am an honorary professor at the University of Melbourne, where I served from July 2007 until Feb 2018 as dean of the School of Engineering, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Chair Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

In 2013 I became a Commander in the Order of the Crown (Belgium), and received a Centenary Medal (Australia), both for my service to engineering and education.

I am a member of the advisory board to the president of Tokyo Tech University.

My contributions to research as well as education are recognised inter alia by: IEEE CSS Control Technology Award; The Asian Control Association Wook Hyun Kwon Education Award; Clunies Ross Medal; Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering for the automation of large scale water networks; The Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Australian National University

Additional distinctions I am proud of: Fellow, The Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Australia; Fellow, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (USA); Fellow, the International Federation of Automatic Control and Engineers Australia; Foreign Member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts; Registered as a Corporate Professional Engineer with Engineers Australia.

I received a Masters Degree of Electromechanical Engineering from Gent University in 1982 and a PhD in Systems Engineering from the Australian National University in 1987.


Dr Umar Asif

Research Scientist
IBM Research – Australia
I am working on projects around image analytics with applications to healthcare and Neurobionics using deep learning and 3D computer vision. I design and build novel deep Convolutional Neural Network models using state of the art deep learning frameworks like PYTORCH, CAFFE and KERAS, for low-power mobile supercomputer devices like Nvidia Jetson for a variety of tasks such as medical image analytics, robotic grasping, and 3D scene understanding.



Dr Jordan Chambers

Research Fellow, Epilepsy Seizure Prediction
The University of Melbourne

Dr Jordan Chambers joined the Epileptic seizure prediction stream of the ARC Training Centre as a Research Fellow in May 2019. His research has focused on understanding the behaviour of neural networks by combining mathematical and computational modelling with electrophysiological data.

Dr Jordan Chambers was awarded his PhD from the Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne in 2012. Since then, he has held post-doctoral positions at The Howard Florey Institute and the University of Melbourne. At The Howard Florey Institute, he investigated the effect synaptic strengths have on the behaviour of a cortical column to produce epileptic seizures. In the Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne, he developed a detailed conductance based single neuron model of sensory neurons in the small intestine to predict hyper-excitable states associated with inflammation of the intestine. As a research fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Melbourne, he developed a model of the auditory system to investigate mechanisms utilised by the auditory cortex to process sound signals in a noisy environment.



Dr Parvin Zarei Eskikand

Research Fellow, Epilepsy Brain Modelling
The University of Melbourne
I joined the ARC Training Centre in Cognitive Computing for Medical Technologies in July 2019 as a postdoctoral researcher to advance the current technology for predicting epileptic seizures. My main research interest is in the area of computational neuroscience. I completed my PhD in 2017 in Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Melbourne, where I developed a computational model of the visual cortex particularly focusing on Medial Temporal area. Before joining ARC Training Centre, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Physiology of The University of Melbourne, where I developed a multiscale neural model of the enteric nervous system.



Professor Anthony Burkitt

Chair in Bio-Signals and Bio-Systems, Department of Biomedical Engineering
The University of Melbourne

Professor Anthony (Tony) Burkitt holds the Chair in Bio-Signals and Bio-Systems in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Melbourne since 2007. His research encompasses a number of areas of neural engineering, including medical bionics, computational neuroscience, retinal-implant vision processing, cochlear-implant speech processing and bio-signal processing for epilepsy. His research has made significant contributions to understanding the behaviour and function of neural information processing in the brain and it has also been instrumental in the development of visual stimulation paradigms for retinal implants, new cochlear implant speech processing strategies, methods for detecting and predicting seizures, and the use of electrical stimulation for seizure abatement in epilepsy. He was the Director of Bionic Vision Australia (2010-2016), a Special Research Initiative in Bionic Vision Science and Technology of the Australian Research Council (ARC), and he successfully led the project though all of its phases: Project conception, securing $50million in ARC funding, the research and development programs that led to the development of a prototype bionic eye (suprachoroidal retinal implant), the successful implantation in three patients, and the establishment of the company Bionic Vision Technologies (BVT) with US$18million of venture capital for the ongoing commercial and clinical development of the technology.



Associate Professor Mark McDonnell

Principal Investigator, Computational Learning Systems Laboratory
University of South Australia

Associate Professor Mark McDonnell received the PhD degree in Electronic Engineering from The University of Adelaide in 2006. He is currently Principal Investigator of the Computational Learning Systems Laboratory (cls-lab.org) at the University of South Australia, which he joined in 2007. He has published over 100 papers, supervised six PhD students to completion as Principal Supervisor, and has served as a Chief Guest Editor for Proceedings of the IEEE and Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience. His research interests lie at the intersection between machine learning and neurobiological learning. His contributions to this area have been recognised by the award of an Australian Research Fellowship from the Australian Research Council in 2010, and a South Australian Tall Poppy Award for Science in 2008. In the last few years, McDonnell has increasingly focused on applied machine learning, contributing to award-winning commercial outcomes in the recycling and agriculture industries.



Professor Mark Cook

Director, Graeme Clark Institute, The Sir John Eccles Chair of Medicine, Director, Clinical Neurosciences
St. Vincent's Hospital
Director of The Graeme Clark Institute, The Sir John Eccles Chair of Medicine and Director of Clinical Neurosciences at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Professor Cook specialises in the treatment of epilepsy. He is recognised internationally for his expertise in epilepsy management, particularly imaging and surgical planning. After completing specialist training in Melbourne, he undertook an MD thesis while working as Brain Research Fellow at Queen Square, London. He returned to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne to continue his interest in management of complex epilepsy. He has worked closely with engineers for most of his career, developing novel therapies for epilepsy. His interests have included experimental models of epilepsy and seizure prediction, and he has led the commercialisation of an implantable seizure detection device about to start clinical trials.


Professor Andre van Schaik

Director, International Centre for Neuromorphic Engineering
Western Sydney University

André van Schaik received the M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands, in 1990 and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1998.

He has authored more than 200 publications, invented more than 35 patents, and is a founder of three start-up companies: VAST Audio, Personal Audio, and Heard Systems.

In 1998 he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Physiology at the University of Sydney, funded by fellowship from the Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams memorial foundation. In 1999 he became a Senior Lecturer in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of Sydney and promoted to Reader in 2004.

In 2011 he became a research professor at Western Sydney University and leader of the Biomedical Engineering and Neuromorphic Systems (BENS) Research Program in the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour, and development. In 2018, he became the Director of the International Centre of Neuromorphic Engineering. His research focuses on neuromorphic engineering and computational neuroscience.



Jonas Haderlein

Graduate Researcher
The University of Melbourne

Jonas Haderlein has a MSc. in Engineering Science and Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University of Munich with a Master Thesis on “machine learning for vehicle predictive maintenance” (this is strangely related to epilepsy). He also spent a research semester at TUM CREATE Singapore.

Jonas most recently worked as a Data Scientist at BMW Group in Munich (working on the former algorithms in real applications).