Amplify Ignite

Amplify Ignite 2019 – Finalists

The University of Melbourne
University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
Queensland University of Technology
Adelaide University

Jack Drummond

The University of Melbourne

A safer implantable device for the management of Parkinson’s disease

Jack Drummond fell in love with the idea of interfacing the body with electronics at the tender age of eight. He is passionate about solving complex problems. 

Jack is developing an implantable device that will enable safer management of chronic, drug-resistant neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, which affects over 100,000 people in Australia. 

He aspires to improve the quality of lives of millions of people affected by neurological disorders.

Lorna Howlett

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Regenerating coral on the Great Barrier Reef

Lorna Howlett has been fascinated with nature and wildlife from a young age. After seeing the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef firsthand, it prompted her to ask, ‘how can we restore the coral?’

Lorna is building a unique coral nursery which aims to regenerate the coral cover of the Great Barrier Reef. Her research is integral to reversing the prediction that at the current rate of climate change, only 3% of the Great Barrier’s reef will be left by 2050.

Shoja Jamali

Queensland University of Technology

Preventing catastrophic bridge collapses

It would surprise most people to discover that bridges around the world collapse on a frequent basis. Shoja Jamali is fascinated by bridges and how they are designed. He is developing the ‘PosemX’, an artificially intelligent robot that inspects and analyses bridge safety. 

Shoja’s vision is to have ‘PosemX’ to be a feature of every iconic bridge structure around the world, helping to prevent catastrophic bridge failures, and save lives.

Divahar Jayaraman

Adelaide University

Predicting tsunamis

Divahar Jayaraman passionately believes tsunamis and floods are predictable and is developing a way of measuring ocean activity to forecast when a tsunami or flood event will happen.

His aspiration is to equip meteorologists and disaster management agencies with the ability to gather information in advance so they can take pre-emptive action. This has the potential to save many lives and help mitigate the devastating damage to homes, buildings, and the environment.

University of Sydney
University of New South Wales (UNSW)
The University of Sydney
University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Aidan Kane

University of Sydney

Fighting fungal infections

When you hear the words ‘fungal infection’ you probably think of toenails. The fact is fungal bacteria kills at least 1.6 million people every year and is rapidly becoming drug resistant.

Aidan Kane, a self-confessed Renaissance man, loves learning and has a burning desire to solve the world’s problems. He is ardently focused on discovering a new fungus-killing drug to save many lives.

Andrew Law

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Personalised treatment plans for children with cancer

Andrew Law is developing a way for children with cancer to have a personalised treatment plan. This is important because cancer responds uniquely to treatment for each person.

Andrew has developed ALTEN, which provides a way for multiple treatments to be tested on cancer outside of the child’s body.

This means a child doesn’t have to go through multiple treatments to find out which one will be successful for them. 

Alon Loeffler

The University of Sydney

Artificial Intelligence that can think like the human brain

Alon Loeffler is working on research that is both ambitious and ground-breaking. 

Alon is developing a way for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to think like the human brain. His research is focused on how this new technology can be applied to devices such as prosthetics or bionic eye implants. Alon’s research also has the potential to completely disrupt Artificial Intelligence more broadly. AI is something we use every day, from google searches, to Siri or Alexa to self-driving cars.

Rabia Mobeen

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Treating myopia (short-sightedness) in children

Also known as short-sightedness, myopia affects around 4 million Australians including many children, and is a major risk factor in serious eye diseases. Rabia Mobeen is passionate about treating myopia in children. Contact lenses are now widely used to slow down the progression of myopia in children, but they carry the risk of complications and potential rejection by the child’s immune system. Rabia aspires to change the future of children’s myopia by improving safety levels and immune system acceptance rates.

Western Sydney University
Queensland University of Technology
Swinburne University of Technology
Western Sydney University

Rekha Nachiappan

Western Sydney University

Disrupting Cloud storage systems

Rekha’s solution will improve customer experience by making it faster to access data and reduce the amount of energy needed to store data, positively impacting the environment and reducing the cost of storage.

Naomi Paxton

Queensland University of Technology

Optimising the next generation of bone tissue treatments

Naomi Paxton is a devoted scientist and STEM Ambassador. Naomi’s research is focused on personalised medical treatment for patients who suffer from bone loss as a result of traumatic accidents, congenital birth defects and diseases such as cancer. 

Her research is in an emerging field which uses 3D printing technology and tissue engineering to create personalised human bone tissue replacements.

Suneeti Purohit

Swinburne University of Technology

Using solar to revolutionise the ironmaking industry

Suneeti Purohit is focused on revolutionising the ironmaking industry. Australia is the world’s largest iron ore producer and exporter, a multibillion-dollar industry. This industry has an extremely large carbon footprint, and Suneeti’s research is unique in addressing this problem. Her solution uses cleaner manufacturing technologies, primarily solar, and will also reduce the cost of production.

Spyros Schismenos

Western Sydney University

Using hydropower for disaster resilience

Spyros Schismenos is impassioned about renewable energy and disaster management. Spyros’ research centres on hydropower generators for use in communities that live near water. The generators are powered by the local water source and used to generate enough power to activate flood warning systems. The solution is aimed at remote and low-income communities, especially the more vulnerable groups within those communities, such as the elderly and those with mobility issues.

University of Technology Sydney
Queensland University of Technology
RMIT University
University of Wollongong

Dilan Seckiner

University of Technology Sydney

Solving crime one step at a time 

There are around 350 million CCTV cameras globally, watching our every move, and monitoring for criminal activity. Dilan Seckiner’s passion is digital forensic science, and her research harnesses the footage gathered by these silent witnesses to analyse and identify Persons of Interest from the way they walk. Scientifically known as Forensic Gait analysis, this innovative method of identification means that somebody can still be identified even if their face is hidden or a disguise is worn. 

Navid Toosi Saidy

Queensland University of Technology

Personalised medical treatment for children with heart problems 

Heart valve disease affects 8 in 1000 births and is the cause of more than five million deaths annually. Navid Toosi Saidy is a biomedical scientist and mechanical engineer who is fervent about developing a solution to this problem. His research uses 3D printing technology and biomimetic design to create personalised heart valves for children. These valves grow and remodel as the child grows, unlike current treatments where patients need multiple operations as the body grows.

Nhi Tran

RMIT University

Protecting newborn babies from oxygen deprivation

One of the leading causes of illness and death in newborns worldwide is oxygen starvation during birth, affecting around nine million annually. Nhi Tran passionately believes her research has the potential to significantly reduce this number. Nhi has developed a supplement that women can take during pregnancy, to prepare the unborn baby to survive unpredictable birth complications. It is a low-cost solution which means it would be widely available to everyone, including women in remote communities and developing countries.

Samantha Wade

University of Wollongong

Increasing the survival rate and life quality of pancreatic cancer patients

Chemotherapy is a blessing and a curse. It saves many lives every year, but with toxic side effects as it targets both cancerous and healthy cells. Samantha Wade has been researching how to disrupt existing therapies and find a better way to treat patients with pancreatic cancer. Samantha has created an implant, about the size of a grain of rice, which is placed within the tumour, treating the cancerous cells only without the toxic side effects. 

Chief Digital Officer, AMP
CEO, Hallis
Partner Data Assurance, PwC
Founder & CEO, Lakeba Group

Anne Bennett

Chief Digital Officer, AMP

Anne Bennett was appointed inaugural Chief Digital Officer at AMP in May 2019 and is accountable for building industry-leading digital experiences for clients and advisors.

Having worked in the financial services sector since 1997, Anne’s experience stretches across leadership and transformation of digital, contact centre, technology and customer experience functions across Banking and Wealth Management domains.

Anne’s passion for effortless digital client experiences has been the driving force behind a number of leading programs. All with a focus on delivering re-imagined, digital experiences into the hands of customers faster than ever before and ensuring significant productivity improvements along the way.

Anne is a non-Executive Director for LaunchVIC and for Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia. Anne holds a Masters degree majoring in Information Services and Technology (MComm) from Macquarie University, a Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Sydney and is a Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD) and Australian Institute of Project Management (MAIPM).

Steven Hallis

CEO, Hallis

Steven Hallis enjoys an active and enduring career in the industries of recruitment, workforce management and human resources. His earlier management experience in the UK and Europe, working in global corporations happily brought him to work and reside in Australia.  In 1989, Steven established Hallis, drawing upon his passion for people, business leadership and community. Hallis is now well regarded for the company’s professional distribution of recruitment, workforce management and human resource services across Australia and now, forging into the Asia Pacific region. Steven attributes the company’s strength to the commitment of its people to exemplary service and innovation.

Most rewarding to Steven is his involvement in community and business initiatives that support everyday people in achieving their goals. He has actively supported many community programs including; Wayside Chapel, Vinnie’s CEO Sleep Out, Sir David Martin Foundation Abseiling for Youth, Rotary and Victoria Police Leadership program and continues to actively contribute to the community.

Jen Hookey

Partner Data Assurance, PwC

Jen is a partner in PwC’s Data Assurance practice in Sydney and is passionate about bringing the blend of business and risk insights utilising data visualisation and automation to her clients.  

Jen assists leading institutions across industries to develop customised, cost effective automated data solutions that focus on delivering relevant and actionable intelligence that executives need to understand operations and manage critical risks.

Giuseppe Porcelli

Founder & CEO, Lakeba Group

Giuseppe heads up Lakeba Group, a global business that conceives, creates and commercialises technologies across industries and sectors. His direction galvanises a staff of 190 entrepreneurs, scientists, marketers, programmers and financiers to improve peoples’ every day, every way, everywhere. With technology.

He’s equally at home in Australia; where Lakeba’s HQ is based; as in his country of origin, Italy.  Giuseppe’s intrinsic international perspectives enables him to build several businesses across diverse sectors such as financial services, FMCG, government, professional services sector, real estate, retail and technology.

Director – Client Services, AMP

Steve Vaid

Director – Client Services, AMP

Steve Vaid is AMP’s Director of Client Services and is accountable for delivering support services to over 1.6m clients and advisors; his teams process over 5m transactions per year and handle over 1m customer calls from bases in Parramatta, Sydney, Melbourne, Pune and Bangalore.

Steve has worked in senior operational roles in both the financial services sector, with AMP, Barclays, PwC and BUPA; and the non-profit sector, with Guide Dogs of the Blind, Voluntary Services Overseas, and the Royal National Institute for Blind People. This is his second time around with AMP having worked for them previously in the UK. His focus on customer outcomes has been the driving force behind his work; this has seen him lead the implementation of the Toyota Production System at Guide Dogs in the UK; grow BUPA’s international operations across Europe and the Middle East; deliver complex post-merger integration projects with AMP; and spend a year volunteering in Rwanda, as well as supporting the development of civil society organisations in Libya and Mozambique.

Steve has also served as a non-Executive Director on the boards of WaterAid, the International Guide Dogs Federation, and the Royal Surgical Aid Society. He holds a Master’s degree in Management from Cass Business School, London; and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College, London. In his spare time he will watch (and play) any sport involving a ball, cooks, and dreams of riding motorbikes again.