The Perth Biodesign Team
Prof Kevin Pfleger
Professor Kevin Pfleger MA(Cambridge) PhD(Edinburgh) FBPhS is Director Biomedical and Health Innovation at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Western Australian Life Sciences Innovation Hub. He is also Immediate Past President of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists, Head of Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Personalised Therapeutics Technologies and Chief Scientific Advisor to Dimerix Limited.
Professor Pfleger has developed globally-recognised expertise in molecular pharmacology over the last 20 years. He also has experience in research translation, being a named inventor on a number of patent families and being a spin-out company Chief Scientific Officer for over 6 years. This company, Dimerix, is now listed on the Australian stock exchange and is in Phase 3 clinical trials for chronic kidney disease. Professor Pfleger is also a scientific co-founder of RAGE Biotech and chairs the Advisory Board of VeinTech, in addition to advising and mentoring a number of other start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Professor Pfleger supports innovation and entrepreneurship training as Chair of both Perth Biodesign and Biodesign Australia, as well as co-Director of the Australian Clinical Entrepreneur Program.
Dr Matthew Oldakowski
Matt is a biomedical engineering researcher, inventor, entrepreneur and University of Western Australia Senior Lecturer. He is the co-founder and CTO of three medtech companies, Earflo, REX Ortho and Cervical ChinUp. Matt and the Earflo team are currently participating in Fogarty Innovation’s Company Accelerator Program. Matt is the Co-Director of Perth Biodesign where he educates and incubates medtech innovation teams, particularly students at The University of Western Australia enrolled in Master of Professional Engineering, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), or an associated Combined Degree. He is also the Co-Director of Biodesign Australia that brings together Biodesign programs from around Australia to share resources and best practice. Matt was co-Chair of the highly successful Annual Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Alliance Asia Pacific (BME IDEA APAC) 2022. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the BridgeTech Program representing The University of Western Australia, and is an industry mentor of the Australian Clinical Entrepreneur Program. Matt was previously a Global Fellow at Stanford Biodesign and an Endeavour Executive Fellow.
Intan is a biomedical engineer and entrepreneur focused on developing medical devices, as well as a Senior Lecturer at The University of Western Australia. She is Co-Founder and CEO of Earflo, which is currently participating in Fogarty Innovation’s Company Accelerator Program, Co-Founder and CSO of Rex Ortho, and Co-Founder and Director of ChinUp. In her research she collaborates with clinicians and other researchers to design and develop innovative medical devices that solve unmet clinical problems and have commercial potential. Intan is the Co-Director of Perth Biodesign where she educates and incubates medtech innovation teams, particularly students at The University of Western Australia enrolled in Master of Professional Engineering, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), or an associated Combined Degree. She is also the Co-Director of Biodesign Australia that brings together Biodesign programs from around Australia to share resources and best practice. Intan was co-Chair of the highly successful Annual Meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Alliance Asia Pacific (BME IDEA APAC) 2022. She is also an industry mentor of the Australian Clinical Entrepreneur Program.
Dr Sandra Medic
Sandra is the Biomedical and Health Innovation Program Manager at The University of Western Australia, responsible for managing the iPREP Biodesign program. Sandra is an experienced biomedical scientist and researcher, obtaining her PhD at Edith Cowan University in 2011. She has spent over 15 years in the Higher Education sector, working in undergraduate and postgraduate environments as a lecturer and academic program coordinator.
Sandra was the PhD Course Coordinator at Edith Cowan University, where she was providing strategic support and operational management of key education and training programs for Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) students. She led the development and delivery of cross-disciplinary research training to meet student, industry and sector needs, implementing education delivery advances and research training innovations to improve training quality, and support learning and teaching goals and outcomes. With extensive experience in Western Australian Higher Education, Sandra joined the Perth Biodesign team in a quest to bring industry, academia and research together. Working closely with doctoral students across various disciplines, she is committed to fostering PhD researcher development and passionate about creating industry engagement opportunities for PhD students to forge their future career paths.
Oliver is a founder, investor, and educator, with over seven years’ experience working across technology, investment, strategy, and growth. He has worn multiple hats, including Director, Growth Lead, Facilitator, Mentor, and Product Manager. As a result, he has been lucky to learn from and collaborate with hundreds of innovators, founders, corporate leaders, and investors from across Australia, Canada, and the US. Driven by his passion for tackling big problems, Oliver has worked throughout the innovation ecosystem, including developing programs for the first Indigenous Angel investors, early-stage Founders, and Health System Innovators; to building a co-working and performance space for Regional Creatives. His interest in healthcare was sparked during his participation in Perth Biodesign for Digital Health 2020, where he and his team sought to solve the problem of finding the psychologist that's right for you. Their solution, Charli, was recognised as the winner of the 2020 Perth Biodesign program and 2020 Freo Startup Fest. Currently, in addition to being Program Delivery Lead for the Perth Biodesign Course, Oliver is Program Designer, Facilitator and Mentor for the Australian Clinical Entrepreneur Program. He also invests and connects Founders to their first cheques with the Perth Angels Investor Group, Startmate and AirTree. He also empowers artists across Western Australia as the Chairperson of Regional Arts WA.
Chloe is an innovative and effective healthcare leader who is passionate about improving the way we design and deliver care to improve outcomes for patients, staff and the broader community. Chloe began her career as a physiotherapist and worked across a range of clinical settings before pivoting into clinical service design and project management. Her curiosity and passions for problem solving, diverse collaborations and systems thinking led her into the innovation and entrepreneurship space, co-founding a digital health startup and acting as a boundary spanner to bring public and private sector innovators together.
Most recently Chloe led the Kaartdijin Innovation Centre at South Metropolitan Health Service, including establishment in 2019 – the first innovation hub for WA public health services. She has engaged, connected and empowered clinicians, technicians, corporate staff and external partners to dream big and innovate to solve problems. Chloe also has a keen interest in Aboriginal health, wellbeing and justice including volunteer work for Enterprise Partnerships WA, a not-for-profit partnering with remote First Nations communities to facilitate entrepreneurship and activate community-led enterprises that foster health and well-being. In particular, Chloe is working with Oliver Bazzani to deliver the Perth Biodesign course and with Sandra Medic to deliver the Biodesign content for iPREP Biodesign.
Dr Helga Mikkelsen
Helga is an Investment Analyst at Brandon Capital, which manages the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF). Following degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Helga completed her PhD in microbiology at the University of Cambridge and postdoctoral research in bacterial genetics at Imperial College London. She subsequently managed the development of anti-infective medical devices in urology at CamStent Ltd (Cambridge, UK). Since her move to Australia in 2016, Helga has worked with the Telethon Kids Institute to commercialise inhaled drug treatments for respiratory disease and is a co-founder of Respirion Pharmaceuticals, which develops a new treatment for chronic lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis.
Dr Janet Preuss
Janet’s background includes a PhD in Pharmacology, an MBA (Advanced) and a BSc (double majoring in Pharmacology and Biochemistry). She is also a graduate and current member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Janet’s career has included work in academia, parliament, private and public companies, and consulting, as well as executive search and recruitment. In addition to her commitment to Biotech Recruitment Consultants and QRC Solutions, Janet continues to work in a consulting capacity with start-up biotech companies to assist them in the commercialisation of their technologies, as well as sitting on the Boards of some selected organisations. Her broad experience in areas of research, operations and consulting mean that Janet brings a wealth of experience and knowledge with her. Janet is passionate about the development and success of the biotechnology industry, and this is reflected in her focus on this sector.
Dr Penelope Farbey
Penelope is a registered patent attorney and trade mark attorney. She has extensive experience in drafting and prosecuting local and overseas originating patent applications, acting in patent opposition proceedings and providing general infringement, validity and due diligence opinions. Following completion of a PhD in molecular microbiology, and several post-doctoral research positions at various universities, Penelope joined the team at Wrays in 2001 and now works primarily in the areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and agri-biotech. Penelope enjoys the face-to-face interaction with clients and long term collaboration on developing IP portfolios as an integral part of clients’ business. She very much enjoys the exposure to new scientific developments and working directly with scientists at the forefront of their fields.
Senior Project Officer
Ruth Seeber is a molecular pharmacologist with over 20 years of experience working at The University of Western Australia and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. She is an assay technology co-inventor and has extensive experience in managing projects at the academic-industry interface. Ruth therefore brings key insights into how researchers can work effectively on this boundary.
Ruth provides administrative and operational support to the Course Directors and Program Manager, and helps co-ordinate between the various Perth Biodesign courses.