About Perth Biodesign

About Us

The SPARK Co-lab Design Course was established in 2016 by SPARK Co-lab based on the Biodesign model, and in 2017 it was funded by Accelerating Australia Stage 1.


Inspired by what the SPARK Co-Lab Design Course had started, the Perth Biodesign course was formed by further adapting the Biodesign model, leveraging input from many domain experts across the sector and learnings brought back by the current Directors of Perth Biodesign from their 6 months of training at Stanford Biodesign. The 2018 and 2019 course was funded by Accelerating Australia Stage 2 who received funding from MTPConnect Project Fund Program. Over the 4 years, the courses have trained 106 aspiring biomedical entrepreneurs and created 22 biomedical technology opportunities.


The Directors of Perth Biodesign, Dr Matthew Oldakowski and Intan Oldakowska, are experienced biomedical engineers and entrepreneurs themselves, having co-founded one device on the consumer market and two more currently gaining investor funding.

In 2020, the Perth Biodesign programs are funded by the New Industries Fund, managed by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation and our program partners: University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Murdoch University, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Telethon Kids Institute, and Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science.

The Team


Dr Matthew Oldakowski


Matt is a biomedical engineering researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. Matt is the co-founder and CTO of two medtech companies, REX Ortho and Cervical ChinUp. Matt is the Co-Director of Perth Biodesign where he educates and incubates multidisciplinary medtech innovation teams and also the Co-Director of Biodesign Australia that brings together Biodesign programs from around Australia to share resources and best practice. Matt was previously a Global Fellow at Stanford Biodesign and an Endeavour Executive Fellow.


Dr Helga Mikkelsen

Business Faculty

Helga is an Investment Analyst at Brandon Capital, which manages the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF). Following degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Helga completed her PhD in microbiology at the University of Cambridge and postdoctoral research in bacterial genetics at Imperial College London. She subsequently managed the development of anti-infective medical devices in urology at CamStent Ltd (Cambridge, UK). Since her move to Australia in 2016, Helga has worked with the Telethon Kids Institute to commercialise inhaled drug treatments for respiratory disease and is a co-founder of Respirion Pharmaceuticals, which develops a new treatment for chronic lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis.

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Intan Oldakowska


Intan is a biomedical engineer and entrepreneur focused on developing medical devices. A graduate of the University of Western Australia in Mechanical Engineering and Commerce, she is a Research Associate at Curtin University where her PhD studies have focused on developing a novel expandable orthopaedic screw, which has spun-out into REX Ortho.  She is also the co-founder and CEO of Cervical ChinUp. A SPARK Co-Lab Design Course 2016 alumnus, Intan recently returned from Stanford University, where she helped at the Otoinnovation Lab and observed the Stanford Biodesign Innovation classes, before returning to be Perth Biodesign's co-Course Director.


Kristen Houston

Program Manager

Kristen is the Operations Manager of Accelerating Australia and Program Manager of Perth Biodesign. Having coordinated the Perth Biodesign course since 2017, Kristen has extensive experience working with early stage startups.

With a BSc in Pharmacology and several years' experience working in technology commercialisation and innovation, Kristen is a firm believer that having a strong business model is just as, if not more, important as having a great technology when it comes to having an impact on patient care. 


Dr James Chen

Clinical Faculty

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’. James took part in the 2017 Perth Biodesign course and returned in 2018 as an alumni mentor.



info@perthbiodesign.com.au© 2020