The SPARK Co-Lab Design Course is now in full swing with teams having finished their clinical observations and ready to move on to needs statements and needs filtering. The last few sessions have been focused on team dynamics with visits from Ak Sabbagh, partner at Altus Q, a business and leadership coaching firm, and Jane Harries, who previously worked as the general manager of HR at Wesfarmers before going on to start her own firm, JH & Associates.

Interested to know how you might fit in to next years’ Design Course? Considering hosting clinical observations in your clinic and want to know the quality of candidates you might be bringing in? Keep reading to find out more about the people taking part in the 2017 SPARK Co-Lab Design Course!

The Design Course is being run again in 2018 as the Perth Biodesign and Adelaide Biodesign. This course is run as a partnership between Accelerating Australia and SPARK Co-Lab. To find out more visit

Team 1

Tashi Dorje
Tashi is a Cardiologist, originally from Tibet and trained at Fudan University. After finishing his training at Shanghai, he moved to Perth, and  is  currently working on his PhD project that aims to develop a smartphone and internet-based cardiac rehabilitation program for patients with coronary heart disease. Tashi has joined this program to develop his entrepreneurial skills, with the aim of commercialising telehealth based cardiac care.
Nicole Chen
Nicole is a clinical nurse and researcher focused on community-based heart failure management. Following her undergraduate degree in Nursing, Nicole obtained a Grad Cert in Critical care and commenced an MPhil where she has been investigating models of community-based heart failure management on self-care behavior, psychosocial and clinical outcomes. She is currently a doctoral student in telemonitoring patients with heart failure at Curtin University in collaboration with Peninsula Health MedTech and CSIRO.
Edgar Basto
Edgar went to University in the US and Western Australia, studying physics at UIUC (focused in biophysics) and applied mathematics (Hons work: Chaos theory applied to Cystic Fibrosis) in UWA. He has since also added statistics and data architecture knowledge to his arsenal, greatly aided by being part of EYC3. His other technical interests revolve around Computer Science, human interfaces and AI. Edgar has an artistic side: he spends a few hours every week doing life drawing and playing the piano.
Tony Ling
Tony came to Australia to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After the mining boom ended, he took on various roles, like a weekend sales marketer and a printer technician. Tony did not want to remain at the whim of the ebb and flow of the mining economy. So he looked to open up his choices through a PhD, which aims to cultivate industry-relevant skills. Tony has since come to understand the importance of innovating, even using abstract mathematics and statistics methods and hopes to be able to do so in this course.
Ndagha Mkandawire
Ndagha has studied a Master of Engineering Science in Metallurgy finishing the year 2016 before enrolling for a PhD in same field in 2017 with Curtin University. Growing up in a developing country, she grew up with so much enthusiasm about machines and devices. Her entrepreneurial spirit dates from when she was 10 years old and had to get into a business from a knitting skill she learnt from her mom. After finishing her first degree she joined the University of Malawi as an academic staff associate to pursue her goals in research and consultancy.

Team 2

James Chen
James is a Junior doctor at Fiona Stanley Hospital, following completion of Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at UWA in 2015. He has been working to improve the efficiency of junior doctor’s work with hospital executives. He has also had the opportunity to experience firsthand the devastating consequence of lower socioeconomic areas including in Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa and remote communities in the Kimberly, which has nurtured a passion for equality and ensuring sustainable holistic solutions; not ‘band-aids for a broken leg’.
Simon Wolfe
Simon is a Mechanical Engineer and worked in the Oil and Gas Industry since 2002. The majority of his time was spent working in Subsea Construction executing large new field developments as well as offshore on state of the art construction vessels. Simon is nearing the end of his MBA, also through UWA. He hopes to be able to combine his engineering background, management skills and newly found business acumen to bring people together to enact lasting social change.More personally, Simon was born in South Africa and has done over 50 skydives, did an Ironman in 2013 and once completed a cross-country ski marathon in the arctic circle.
Joanna Granich
Joanna is an early career researcher, aspiring entrepreneur and a registered sessional dental hygienist. She is the founder of an early stage company named AutiSense which aims to improve the health of young people with developmental disabilities through better preparation and participation in healthcare and leisure activities. Jo holds a Masters of Public Health and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. Her current role as a clinical trials coordinator is based at the Telethon Kids Institute.
James Heaton
James is currently working at Ernst & Young within the taxation division. Having studied a Bachelor of Commerce, James undertook a Master of Commerce degree and is currently studying a Master of Applied Finance degree at the University of Western Australia. In 2010, whilst completing high school, James established a business named Jimmy Jim Watches. The watches were sold both online, and in stores across Australia and the business was a finalist in the BRW AMP Capital Retailer of the Year awards. James is currently a Board member of the Master of Finance student council.
Stephen Mott
Stephen really enjoys combining his mechanical, electrical and software knowledge to create cool things and finds that he learns best through doing something, whether it be management related or engineering related, as the actual experiences emphasize things better than any book can. He also believes that failure is a huge part in any learning process – He has fried more electronic components than he dares to count and yet he has become a lot more knowledgeable because of it. Stephen is currently studying his Masters of Professional Engineering (Mechanical) at UWA.

Team 3

Nishant Davidoss
Nishant is an Ear, Nose and Throat registrar, researcher, doctor, husband and son. Nishant has held numerous positions of leadership, including being involved with the FSH Medical Liaison group. They have helped him understand the challenges with starting up something new, and the importance of strong leadership in moving a collective group forwards.
Matthew MacDonald
Matthew was born in Tasmania to nomadic parents (his dad started several schools in regional WA and Perth. He grew up in Perth and after school completed a Mechatronic Engineering degree at Curtin University. Matt became involved in Project Management, Construction Engineering and Commercial roles and now works in the quickly transforming utilities sector. Whilst working he started a few small ventures due to his entrepreneurial streak (for example land development and property construction) and this led him to complete his MBA at UWA.
Janessa Pickering
Janessa is an infectious disease microbiologist at the Telethon Kids Institute. After graduating with First class honours in Microbiology from UWA, she began a PhD focusing on the microbiology of paediatric ear infections. She is currently a post-doctoral scientist evaluating a potential probiotic to prevent ear disease and investigating the role of environmental dust in chronic lung infection in remote communities. In her spare time, Janessa is a wife, mother and dog-owner with a passion for all things design.
Aiden Taba
Aiden is a UWA student studying a double major of Engineering Science and Finance. He has been working at UWA's  System Health Lab  as a Research Assistant since his first year of university. Aiden enjoys doing volunteer work and is currently a 180 Degrees Consulting Strategy Consultant, working with local non-profits and social enterprises to increase their impact and scale their operations effectively. In his spare time, Aiden is an engineering blogger/YouTuber, producing technical content and simplifying complex engineering designs for a worldwide audience.
Michael Messineo
Michael is a Master of Professional Engineering student at UWA specialising in Mechanical Engineering. Despite what his degree might suggest, he is quite a creative person, working as a freelance graphic designer and creating his own content through online media and a podcast. Michael has experienced a spectrum of work, most recently as a software development intern at Deloitte Digital. He is joining the Spark Co-Lab course because it’s a unique opportunity to combine what he has learnt at university with the knowledge of others, in a form that has the potential to greatly help others.

Team 4

Rhys Daniel
Born and bred in Western Australia, Rhys grew up in country wheat belt towns, returning to the city for his secondary schooling. He completed his undergraduate studies in Chemical & Process engineering in WA and subsequently undertook post-graduate studies in medicine, and is currently working as a surgical resident at Fiona Stanley Hospital and undertaking research with Prof Mwipatayi in vascular surgery, co-authoring papers on vascular stenting. Outside of this, Rhys enjoys playing guitar and piano, maintaining a strong presence in the lives of family and friends, broadening his knowledge base, and always striving to acquire new skills.
Chiara Giovanrosa
Chiara has acquired 6-years consulting experience within Deloitte Italy and EY Australia and has worked closely with business and across multidisciplinary teams to engage with stakeholders, deeply understand business problems, diagnose complex issues and develop compelling, data-driven recommendations. She is seeking experience within the technology research and innovation space to support clients with their business strategy definition and digital transformation. Chiara enjoys sailing, skiing, snorkelling, sky diving and just started self teaching guitar.
Mark Mazzoni
Mark holds bachelor’s degrees in anatomy, physiology and engineering science and is currently completing his master’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering. His interests lie in the interface between intelligent synthetic systems and responsive biological systems. This means that he is especially interested in artificial cardiac pacing, augmented reality, intelligent limb prostheses (interacting with human cadence circuitry) and sensory replacement and augmentation. He also holds snowboard instructor and avalanche survival qualifications.
Martina Mariano
Martina has education in Medical Biotechnologies, Genetics and Molecular Biology, followed by work experience in forensic genetics and medical diagnostics. To expand her knowledge and experience, at the end of 2015 she challenged herself, packing some clothes, books and dreams to fly from Rome to Perth and pursue a career in the MedTech industry. Her determination allowed her to get in contact with A/Prof Heng. Martina was awarded an IPRS scholarship to enter a PhD program and develop a project focused on diagnostic assays for children with brain disorders.
Sin Vila
Sin Vila has a PhD in Material Science specialised in polymer nanocomposites and a degree in Mechanical Engineering with over 17 years’ experience in product development covering research, design, tooling, project management and quality systems. Sin is the Engineering Manager at Matrix Composites and Engineering (Perth), which manufactures polymer components for the Oil&Gas industry. Before joining Matrix in 2011, he held the position of Technical Director at PPT (Barcelona, Spain) manufacturing plastic components for the automobile leading brands BMW, Audi, Ferrari, Porsche and VW. Prior to that in 2004, he was a Project Manager at Siemens VDO (Spain/Germany) and process engineer in Hager back in 2000.

Team 5

Bryan Tan
Bryan Tan may be a doctor, but medicine is only a small part of the equation. He loves people, health, fitness and giving back. If he’s not reading the latest journal articles or a 1000 page textbook, you’ll find him eating a triple patty cheeseburger (or 2), sweating it out at the local gym, watching the latest Fast and the Furious, or spending some quality time with the kids at Princess Margaret Hospital. He enjoys solving problems, loves spending quality time with people, and needs to do something with his hands. At all times.
Dave Parsons
Dave began his clinical experience in the rehabilitation of the upper extremity following trauma or as a result of a systemic or chronic condition. After 7 years of clinical experience in this field Dave began his MBA at UWA. While halfway through the MBA, Dave began a full-time teaching position at Curtin University in the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work where he is currently Postgraduate Course Coordinator. He is also completing his PhD, investigating the feasibility and effectiveness of an iPad application for children on the Autism Spectrum.
Angela Heng
Angela started her career in a boutique intellectual property firm working with trade marks and patents. She specialises in material science and mechanical engineering having completed her Masters of Mechanical Engineering. She draws on her previous experience across many fields including research and development tax consulting, law, procurement, creative design, web development, project management, non-for-profit startup development, event management, exhibition sales and many more. When Angela isn't working at a R&D tax consultant, you will probably find her snorkelling with sea lions or climbing a rock face.
Daniel Binks
Dan is a serial inventor who loves to work in the medical space. He is completing an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and French at UWA, volunteers in the UWA Neuro Lab, is vice president of the Climbers Association of WA (CAWA) and Cloudbase paragliding club and runs a micro-soldering repair business. He brings with him a wealth of experience both professionally and personally through his interests, including: programming, web development, project management, business/startup development, audio engineering, small engine mechanics, coffee roasting and more. When Dan isn't studying, you will find him at 3000ft flying his paraglider across the countryside.

Team 6

Marthe Smith
Marthe is a doctor with an interest in health innovation. She qualified in South Africa, worked in England for 18 months and then moved to Australia in 1996 to work in rural Queensland as a General Practitioner. Marthe moved to Perth in 2005 and worked as a part time researcher at Curtin's Health Innovation and Research Institute on various projects looking at different aspects of primary health care. Currently she is working as a surgical assistant in several private hospitals in Perth and is also mother to 3 teenagers.
Robert Pass
Rob studied Commerce at UWA before commencing his career within Deutsche Bank's Sydney based derivative operations. In 2007 he moved back to Perth, where he spent over six years working as an investment advisor for a boutique equities / wealth management firm. When that firm was acquired by a larger listed competitor, Rob moved to KPMG's Perth based corporate finance (mergers and acquisitions) team. More recently Rob has commenced working in business development within the aged care industry, after some short term assignments in agribusiness and logistics.
Alex Wu
Alex is a research engineer at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA) working on radio-frequency (RF) circuits and system design for radio astronomy receivers. Previously, Budi was a postdoctoral researcher at the WA Centre for Microphotonic Systems at ECU. He received B. Eng (Electrical) from the National University of Singapore, M.Sc from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Graduate Certificate in Technology Commercialisation from UWA, and a Doctorate in Engineering (MicroPhotonic) from ECU.
Amy Finlay-Jones
Amy is a research academic specialising in neurodevelopment and paediatric mental health. A primary focus of her research has been e-health intervention development and evaluation, and she is passionate about the potential for emerging technologies to promote health equity. Amy is currently undertaking a Masters of Health Economics where she is learning how to analyse health challenges from an economic perspective, and to set priorities for health service and systems change.
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