Associate Professor Simon. E. Moulton
Associate Leader, ACES Bionics Program
Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, University of Wollongong
From HMAS to IPRI
Simon travelled an unconventional route to get to where he is today. After leaving Wollongong High School to join the Navy in 1983 he travelled the world for 8 years before circumstances sent him back to school to complete High School Certificate. He then completed an environmental chemistry degree at Macquarie University in 1996 and joined the Intelligent Polymer Research Laboratory (now known as IPRI or the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute) as a summer student. The vibrant and collegial atmosphere of the research group opened up another aspect of academia, and what started out as a 6 week summer project has turned into a 16 year career in research, where I am now the Associate Program Leader of the Bionics program within ACES.
“The defining moment for me to decide to pursue a career in research came when I had the opportunity to travel to the USA and work with one of IPRI’s long term collaborators and current ACES International Advisory board member, Prof Ray Baughman for 6 months,” he said. Working with Ray and his team on a relatively new material at that time, carbon nanotubes, was challenging and very rewarding.
After returning from the USA, Simon commenced a PhD within IPRI working on an ARC linkage funded project collaborating with a medical device company developing a revolutionary cervical cancer detection system. This was his first exposure to “medical” based research and private sector collaboration.
Bionics in Wollongong
Since completing his PhD in 2002, Simon has been with IPRI as a post-doctoral researcher (post doc). First he worked in the area of conducting polymer dispersion synthesis. This research focussed on the formation of organic conducting polymer (OCP) nanodispersions. The OCP nanodispersions then were used as “inks” in IPRI’s first foray into inkjet printing of conducting polymers. The aim was to print ‘inks’ onto substrates to be used as glucose sensors - a collaboration with researchers at Dublin City University.
Towards the end of this first post doc Simon started working on a project with Prof Graeme Clark and the Bionic Ear Institute. This project involved the delivery of neurotrophins to the inner ear for the preservation and regeneration of damaged auditory nerves and was one of the early projects in the ACES Bionics program.
Simon has received over $3.6 million in competitive grant funding and published a book on Organic Bionics (2012) as well as 52 journal articles in international journals such as Science, Advanced Materials and Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. Currently Simon supervises 7 PhD students and oversees research projects in drug delivery for epilepsy control, as well as materials development for muscle, nerve and bone regeneration.
Interested in the ACES Bionics Program? Contact Simon.