RMIT’s new Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence Nanophotonics will enable the University to play a leading role in national and international brain research.
The laboratory was opened by RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE.
He was joined by Frank McGuire, the Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research in the Victorian Government, Jian Zhao, Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Melbourne, and Professor Andrew Holmes, President of the Australian Academy of Science.
Martin said the laboratory had been developed to support its Director, Distinguished Professor Min Gu, Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship, who joined RMIT last year.
“Min is an exceptional researcher, with many publications and honours to his name – Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and ARC Laureate Fellow, among others.
“He was also recently awarded the 2016 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation for his outstanding contributions to significant nanophotonic discovery and innovation.”
The laboratory is being equipped with world-class laser facilities and aims to become the world-first photonics group in artificial intelligence-driven optical devices at nanoscale.
It will allow researchers to investigate artificial neural networks at the same length scale as those in nature.
Martin said: “This is exciting because it opens the way to develop the science and technology involved in the 3D nano-printing of artificial ‘minds’, which will impact significantly on mental health and care.
“Mental illness is increasingly being recognised as a pressing public health issue.
“In Australia, we spend $8 billion a year on mental health services and the human toll is, of course, incalculable.
“Better understanding of the human brain can help to diagnose and cure mental disorders.”
The new laboratory will allow RMIT researchers to contribute to international research, such as the European Commission’s Human Brain Project, Japan’s Brain/MINDS Project, the US BRAIN Initiative and the China Brain Project.
RMIT’s researchers have a great deal to offer in this space, including:
- Neural science research in the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences
- Bio informatics research being carried out through the Enabling Capability Platform for Information and Systems
- Work being undertaking in the Enabling Capability Platform for Biomedical and Health Innovation
- The Centre for Nanoscale Biophotonics in the School of Science
- Electronic memory research in the School of Engineering
- Nano fabrication capability in the Micro/Nano Research Facility
RMIT is already participating in the Australian Brain Alliance, set up by the Academy of Science to establish an advanced neurotechnology industry sector, develop treatments for debilitating brain disorders and harness the plasticity of the brain to improve teaching and learning.
Story: David Glanz