Robert McLaughlin

Professor Robert McLaughlin

Chair of Biophotonics

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


I am head of the Bioengineering Imaging Group at The University Adelaide, and am also Managing Director of the start-up company, Miniprobes. My team invent new optical devices to help doctors, physiologists and livestock producers. I currently lead a research team addressing two key challenges: developing non-invasive tools to assess blood flow; and developing highly miniaturised imaging probes, small enough to be encased within hypodermic needles. My team of engineers, physicists and computer scientists is based in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics and is part of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.

After three years as a researcher at the University of Oxford, I spent five years in the medical imaging industry, including as a Product Manager with Siemens Medical Solutions. I was responsible for the development of three medical devices, two with FDA regulatory approval.

Returning to academia in 2007, I have focused on the development of optical imaging technologies, particularly optical coherence tomography and fluorescence. I have been awarded over $10M in research grants. With 16 years of research experience, I have a Google Scholar h-index of 39. I have co-authored 2 book chapters, 7 patents and 88 journal papers. I received the 2014 WA Innovator of the Year Award, and the 2015 Australian Innovation Challenge. In 2016, I was awarded the prestigious South Australian Premier’s Research and Industry Fund Research Fellowship.

In 2014, I was appointed as a Councillor of the Australian Optical Society. In 2016, I was appointed Chair of Biophotonics at the University of Adelaide.

    Expand
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2015 Award The Australian Innovation Challenge
    2014 Award Western Australian Innovator of the Year, WA Department of Commerce
    2014 Award UWA Vice-Chancellor’s Mid-career Research Award
    2014 Award UWA Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Impact and Innovation
    2014 Award 1st prize, SPIE Start-up Challenge, San Francisco United States
    2013 Award Finalist, Australian Museum Eureka Prizes: “Innovative Use of Technology”
    2012 Award Finalist, Australian Museum Eureka Prizes: “Innovative Use of Technology”
    2012 Award Finalist, Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize
    2011 Award National Breast Cancer Foundation Patron’s Award: “Innovation and Vision in Research”
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2000 University of Western Australia Australia PhD (Electronic Engineering)
    1993 University of Western Australia Australia Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
  • Research Interests

Grants: TOTAL: $10million
$1mil

2020-2022 Medical Research Futures Fund (MRFF)

BioMedTechHorizons 3 (BMTH3.0_104)

“A smart brain biopsy needle for faster, safer brain surgery”

(McLaughlin, Wells)

$992,112

2021-2023 NHMRC Ideas grant (APP2001646)

“Serial imaging of molecular and microstructural changes in atherosclerosis: tracking plaques towards destabilisation”

(Li, Verjans, McLaughlin)

$899,877

2021-2023 NHMRC Ideas grant (APP2002254)

“Next-generation smart wound dressings for real-time, non-invasive monitoring of infection and neovascularisation in burns”

(Gibson, McLaughlin, Khalid, Rea)

$256,000

2021-2022 Office of Naval Research Global, USA

“Heat tolerance in humans”

(Green, McLaughlin, Malone, Carter)

$223,000

2020-2021 Meat & Livestock Australia Donor Company (MDC) (Ref. P.PSH.1244)

“Automated assessment of intramuscular fat in lamb”

(Pitchford, McLaughlin, van den Hengel)

$753,010

2019-2022 NHMRC Development Grant (APP1178912)

“Development of a smart needle for safer, faster brain biopsies”

(McLaughlin, Wells)

$170,000

2020 Australian Wool Innovation

“On-farm assessment of wool follicle density and diameter”

(McLaughlin, Pitchford)

$50,000

2019-2020 Global Connections Fund Bridging Grant,

Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering

“Development of an image-guided electrode for safer cochlear implant surgery”

(McLaughlin)

$261,300

2019 ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LE190100124)

“3D Glass Printing: The Next Step in Advanced Manufacturing”

(Ebendorff-Heidepriem, McLaughlin, Withford, Lancaster, Priest, Ghomashchi)

$50,000

2019 Meat & Livestock Australia

“Rapid measurement of intramuscular fat in lamb using imaging needles”

(McLaughlin)

$200,000

2018 South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund, Dept. State Development, South Aust. Govt.

“Development of photonics enabled imaging needles for industrial and surgical use”

(McLaughlin)

$45,000

2018 Photonics Catalyst Program

“Bringing microscopic quality control to manufacturing

(McLaughlin, Li)

$80,000

2016 University of Adelaide, Commercialisation Acceleration Scheme

“Smart needles for safer and more effective brain surgery”

(McLaughlin)

$1,000,000     
 

2016-2019 South Australian Premier’s Research and Industry Fund Fellowship

(McLaughlin)

$482,200

2016-2018 ARC Discovery Grant (DP160104175)

“Visualising vascular adaptation at the micro-scale in humans”

(Green, McLaughlin)

$45,000  

2016 Photonics Catalyst Program, South Australian Govt.

“Image-guided surgery for safer and faster glaucoma treatment”

(McLaughlin, Casson, Previn)

$47,500  

UWA NHMRC Equipment Grant, “Philips Premium Portable CX50 Ultrasound System”

(Noble, Pillow, Gill, Laing, Nowak, McLaughlin, Kennedy, Hodgetts, Pinniger)

$355,100 

2015-2017 ARC Discovery Grant (DP150104660)

“Quantitative multi-modal optical imaging of deep tissue – a new window onto disease”

(McLaughlin)

$16,500          
 

UWA Research Collaboration Award 2015-2016

(McLaughlin)

$5,000      

SPIE Education Outreach Grant 2015

(McLaughlin)

$16,645    

2015 Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund (MHRIF), Round 18, Dept. Health.

(McLaughlin)

$726,676        
 

2014-2016 Chevron Australia / Fiona Wood Foundation

“Measuring airway capacity using optical coherence tomography”

(McLaughlin, Sampson)

$64,000    

2015 Intuitive Surgical Technology Research Grant (San Francisco, USA),

“Smart biopsy needles for real-time tissue assessment in lung cancer”

(McLaughlin, Sampson)

$25,000    

2015 Breast Cancer Research Centre WA (BCRC_WA 201406),

“Fluorescent biomarkers for improved breast cancer surgery”

(McLaughlin, Fuller)

$317,111        
 

2014-2016 NHMRC Development Grant (APP1076050),

“Development of microscope-in-a-needle devices for improved clinical diagnostics”

(McLaughlin, Sampson, Noble, Yeoh, Olynyk)

$50,000    

2014 Commercialisation Australia (CAU06334), Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE)

“Business plan for microscope-in-a-needle imaging technology”

(McLaughlin, Sampson)

$13,407          
 

2014 Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund (MHRIF), Round 17, Dept. Health.

(McLaughlin)

$15,000 

2013 UWA Research Collaboration Award

“The next generation microscope-in-a-needle: Fluorescence + optical coherence tomography to find cancer”

(McLaughlin, Boudoux)

$99,537  

2013 Cancer Council WA Research Project Grant (ID 1057820),

“Intra-operative assessment of lymph node metastasis in breast cancer with optical imaging”

(McLaughlin, Saunders, Sampson)

$20,000 

2013 UWA Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

Research Development Grants,

“Optical coherence tomography for quantitative assessment of burn scars”

(McLaughlin)

$98,551          
 

2012 Cancer Council WA Research Project Grant (ID 1052459),

“Pre-operative assessment of neoadjuvant therapy for breast cancer using optical

coherence tomography”

(McLaughlin, Saunders, Sampson)

$15,000   

2012 Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Foundation,

“Early detection of pathological scarring using 3D optical imaging”

(McLaughlin, Wood, Kennedy, Sampson)

$539,685        
 

2012-2014 NHMRC Development Grant (APP1038871)

“Development of a new surgical-guidance tool for intra-operative tumour margin assessment in breast cancer”

(McLaughlin, Saunders, Sampson)

$200,000    

2012 National Breast Cancer Foundation Novel Concept Award,

“A new tool for intra-operative tumour margin assessment”.

(McLaughlin, Saunders, Sampson, Kennedy)

$300,000    

2011-2013 Cancer Council WA Research Fellowship

“Improved intra-operative breast cancer imaging with OCT”

(McLaughlin)

$25,760          
 

2010 UWA Safety Net Award,

(McLaughlin)

 

$21,411    

2010 Perpetual Ltd., “Better imaging to improve cancer surgery”

(McLaughlin, Kennedy, Saunders, Sampson)

$90,000          
 

2009 Perpetual Ltd., “A new breast cancer imaging probe: combining ultrasound with optical biopsy”.

(McLaughlin, Saunders, Sampson)

$198,640   

2008 National Breast Cancer Foundation Novel Concept Award,

“Steps towards an in vivo optical biopsy: Assessing lymph node metastasis using Optical Coherence Tomography”.

(McLaughlin, Saunders, Sampson)

$22,000   

2008 UWA Research Grants Scheme, “Improved Breast Cancer Surgery with Optical Imaging”.

(McLaughlin)

$267,029 

2007 Raine Medical Research Foundation, “Bringing Optical Imaging into clinical practice for breast cancer and breathing disorders”.

(McLaughlin)

 

    Expand
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Principal Supervisor Optical Imaging Technologies for Improved Surgery Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Vasily Lebedev
    2021 Principal Supervisor Developing a hybrid near infrared-fluorescence and optical coherence tomography intravascular imaging catheter to study plaque biology and microstructure in vivo Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rouyan Chen
    2019 Co-Supervisor Spiropyran-Based Photoswitchable Protease Inhibitors Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Kathryn Angela Palasis
    2019 Principal Supervisor Development of fibre optic fluorescence probes for multiple applications Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mingze Yang
  • Position: Chair of Biophotonics
  • Phone: 83139942
  • Email: robert.mclaughlin@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: The Braggs, floor 3
  • Room: 3 17
  • Org Unit: Adelaide Medical School

Connect With Me
External Profiles

Other Links