Program Leader, Preclinical Research
Bionic Vision Australia
Professor Robert Shepherd is the Director of the Bionics Institute (BI) and a Professor of Medical Bionics in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne. His doctoral thesis examined the safety and efficacy of multichannel cochlear implants and contributed to Cochlear Ltd’s successful FDA approval for the clinical use of a multichannel cochlear implant.
Professor Shepherd has held numerous international research appointments, at the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington; the Department of Physiology, JW Goethe University in Frankfurt; and Boys Town National Institute for Communication Disorders in Children in Nebraska.
A mathematics and science teacher early in his career, Professor Shepherd maintains his commitment to Australian education, teaching undergraduate students, and to date, supervising 14 postgraduate students.
Professor Shepherd has been the Principal Investigator on research involving over $5.3 million funding, including contracts with the US National Institute of Health, and continues to work closely with industry, through research links with Cochlear Ltd and Living Cell Technologies Ltd.
Professor Shepherd’s research interests include:
- Neural prostheses and their therapeutic applications;
- Neurophysiological and histopathological effects of neural stimulators with particular emphasis on cochlear implants;
- Rescuing and regenerating auditory neurons;
- Neurophysiology and morphology of the auditory system;
- Pathophysiology of ototoxicity;
- Mammalian cochlear anatomy; and
- Drug delivery systems.
Contribution to bionic eye project
Professor Shepherd’s contribution to the bionic eye project is to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of retinal implants using animal studies, prior to the application of these devices in patient tests.
BSc, GradDipEd, PhD (Otolaryngology) (Melbourne)
Professor Shepherd has authored 145 peer-reviewed scientific papers and invited book chapters. He has given over 160 presentations at national and international conferences, including 50 as an invited speaker.