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Professor Michael Ibbotson

Director of the NVRI

Professor Michael Ibbotson was recruited as the Director of the National Vision Research Institute in 2010 and started in the position in July 2011. Professor Ibbotson carried out his PhD in the field of visual neuroscience at Queen Mary, University of London. After he completed his studies in 1990, he took up a post-doctoral fellowship in the Centre for Visual Sciences at the Australian National University, Canberra, working with Professor Srinivasan.

Throughout his time at ANU, Professor Ibbotson initiated a range of research topics including the use of eye movements to detect glaucoma, development of a bionic eye, studies of cortical development related to amblyopia, investigations of sensorimotor coordination relevant to a range of human conditions, such as dyslexia, and he continued his interest in the insect nervous system and its usefulness to robotics.

On taking up the post of the Director of the NVRI in mid 2011, he became a research Professor of the University of Melbourne and also built an enduring professional relationship with Monash University. His research at the NVRI can be divided into three main paths: 1) understanding the retina to develop bionic eye technologies, 2) investigating how the visual cortex translates the visual signals processed in the retina into meaningful patterns of activity in the visual cortex and 3) understanding how high-level visual processing is translated into perceptions and actions. These aims were greatly empowered by being part of a successful grant win from the Australian Research Council (ARC) in 2013 that funded the Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function. This centre spans six major institutions and runs until 2020. In addition, he is one of the twelve Chief Investigators that won the $50M special fund from the ARC to develop an Australian-built bionic eye. This work is being continued through a start-up company based in Canada called iBionics.

Professor Ibbotson has spent extensive periods on four different visits to Emory University, Atlanta and a sabbatical at New York University as part of research exchange programs. He has ongoing research collaborations with the University of Texas at Austin and with Monash University.

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