Professor David Grayden

David is Clifford Chair of Neural Engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering and the Graeme Clark Institute for Biomedical Engineering.

His 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
– how to record information from the brain, such as for epileptic seizure forecasting and brain-machine interfaces (a direct communication pathway between an enhanced or wired brain and an external device).

A fascination with language from a young age combined with an electrical engineering degree, led to a PhD in speech recognition using artificial neural networks. A fellowship at the Bionics Institute followed, where Grayden developed sound processing strategies for cochlear implants.

His focus is now on understanding the language of the nervous system, which uses electrical signals to communicate what is happening in the body.

He and other researchers are attempting to listen back and interpret the body’s electrical signalling – ‘closing the loop’: going beyond devices that send out one-way electrical signals (open-loop control) to those that can record and ‘read’ the signals the body sends back.

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 Hospital, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of South Australia, Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health and IBM Research.

Why does consciousness research matter?

An understanding of consciousness, and the mechanisms that create our experience of the world and our place within it, is more important than ever before. Significant to our everyday lives, consciousness research has far reaching implications for: