Dr Lauren Ayton (B. Optom, PhD, GCOT, FAAO) is a clinician-scientist with a strong research interest in vision restoration, retinal pathology and clinical assessment of visual performance. Dr Ayton completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in paediatric optometry, and then completed a postdoctoral position in the area of traumatic brain injury and ocular motor function. Her research interests in this time developed in the areas of low vision and outcome assessment, which led to the position of Clinical Research Team Leader of the Bionic Vision Australia consortium between 2010 and 2017. During this role, Dr Ayton led the patient selection and assessments in the first-in-human trial of Australia's first bionic eye device.
From 2017 to 2019, Dr Ayton was engaged in industry in the USA, as the Director of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs of Bionic Eye Technologies, a startup affiliated with Harvard, Cornell and MIT Universities. In this role, she led the preparations of a clinical trial for the Boston retinal implant. She was also part of the senior leadership team, working on strategic planning, business development, investor pitches and more. This time in the USA ignited a passion for research translation and commercialisation, which she now continues as Director of the SPARK program at the University of Melbourne.
Dr Ayton is the co-founder and Chair of the International Harmonization of Outcomes and Vision Endpoints in Vision Restoration Trials (HOVER) Taskforce, which is developing a consensus document on the testing and reporting of patient outcomes in vision restoration trials.
Dr Ayton is also a passionate science communicator, presenting on 3RRR radio's Einstein-A-Go-Go science show (http://www.rrr.org.au/program/einstein-a-go-go), and speaking frequently at both peer-reviewed conferences and community engagement events. She is a 2013 Hugh Rogers Medical Research Fellow and 2015 veski Victora Fellow.
2018 NHMRC Next Generation Fellowship (Translating Research Into Practice);
2017 NHMRC Project Grant (Clinical Trial of a Suprachoroidal Visual Prosthesis for the Profoundly Vision Impaired);
2016 NHMRC Project Grant (Safety and Efficacy of a Surgically Implanted Suprachoroidal Retinal Prosthesis);
2016 NHMRC Project Development Grant (Electrical Stimulation of the Brain for Restoring Vision);
2015 veski Victoria Fellowship;
2014 University of Melbourne Early Career Research Grant;
2014 Retina Australia Research Grant;
2013 Hugh Rogers Fellowship (Melbourne-Boston Sister Cities Association)
Education and training
University of New South Wales 2011
University of Melbourne 2009
University of Melbourne 2004
Awards and honors
Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry,
veski Victoria Fellowship,
Fellowship to travel to Harvard University to complete a 2 month collaborative project, Hugh Rogers Fellowship (Melbourne-Boston Sister Cities Association),
Fellow of the Victorian College of Optometry Australia,