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Biodesign: Elixir of Innovation

Can design create better health and wellbeing?
In a world where individuals are becoming more empowered to ensure healthy outcomes, design is now seen as integral to improving medicine and health. Join an expert panel for a compelling conversation about this exciting new field.

Event details

Tuesday 5 March
5 - 7pm
The Westmead Institute for Medical Research

As our world is becoming more complex, more urbanised and more technologically advanced, humanity and our planet are faced with unprecedented, global challenges. To address these challenges, we need to nurture a deeper understanding about how technological progress is linked with the health of our planet and human health. Biodesign achieves this by pushing the frontier of knowledge through an integrative approach that brings together key principles from design and biomedical science. In a world where individuals are becoming more empowered to ensure healthy outcomes, design is now seen as integral to improving medicine and health. Biodesign is a rapidly growing area of education and research that challenges conventional scientific approaches by putting design thinking at the front and centre of the educational experience.

There are often significant differences between how scientists and designers approach problem finding, learning, task completion and ways of communicating.

As designers begin to draw on biology as a material input for achieving better design outcomes, and scientists adopt new approaches to problem finding and solving using design-thinking processes, they are developing unique, game-changing solutions to problems of global significance for individuals, communities and industries.

Join an expert panel including Associate Professor Martin Tomitsch, Director of The Design Lab at the University of Sydney, for a compelling conversation about this exciting new field, and how we can create better health and wellbeing, by design.

This event is part of Sydney Design Festival

About the panel

Dr Martin Tomitsch - Moderator
Dr Martin Tomitsch is Associate Professor and Chair of Design at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, where he leads the Design Lab and teaches interaction and user experience design. His research focuses on the role of design for shaping the interactions between people and technology. He is co-founder of the Austrian Network for Information and Communication Technologies for Development ( and the global Media Architecture Institute (, and holds adjunct positions at the Vienna University of Technology and the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts. He is author of “Design Think Make Break Repeat” (published by BIS) which is a handbook of design methods and “Making Cities Smarter” (published by Jovis) which introduces user-experience design principles to smart cities.

Dr Phil Gough
Dr Phillip Gough is a lecturer at the Sydney Design Lab and School of Life and Environmental Science and the Program Director of the Biological Deign major, a new, interdisciplinary stream at the University of Sydney. Dr Gough's research bridges the divide design and science, with the aim of closing the gap between scientific research and the general public using creative applications of biology and data visualisation.

Dr Shelley Wickham
Dr Shelley Wickham is a DECRA Fellow, Westpac Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Schools of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Sydney. She received her PhD in Condensed Matter Physics from the University of Oxford, UK, working on building synthetic molecular motors out of DNA. She then moved to a postdoctoral fellow position at Harvard Medical School, USA. In this position she worked on designing 3-dimensional DNA origami nanostructures, and using them to study biological systems. Dr Wickham has research interests in self-assembling nanotechnology and molecular robotics. In particular, in the design and assembly of programmable nanostructures out of DNA, with applications in cell biology, materials science and nanomedicine. She is co-lead of the Sydney Nano Grand Challenge project in Molecular Robotics for Health, and faculty mentor of the University of Sydney BIOMOD team.

Dr Tegan Cheng
Dr Tegan Cheng is a biomedical engineer and scientist based in Kids Research at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. She works closely with clinicians to develop novel solutions to address unmet needs in paediatrics. Her main research areas are the development and commercialisation of implantable medical devices for children's musculoskeletal conditions and the application of 3D printing to improve health outcomes for children.

Martin Brown
Martin is an experienced educator with a background in the media industry. He produced Moulin Rouge, was co-producer of Romeo+Juliet and art director of Strictly Ballroom. He was Director of Award Courses at the Australian Film Television and Radio School before joining the University of Sydney. He is now Program Manager Innovative Technologies at Westmead.

The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (Level 2)