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Aussie OCT co-founder among country’s most distinguished scientists

Dr Simon Poole, a co-founder of Melbourne OCT company Cylite and entrepreneur in photonics, has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, joining an elite class of the nation’s scientists.

Poole is one of 24 new Fellows elected to the Academy this year. The honour is in recognition of his leading research and enterprising work in photonics, particularly in the development of the Erbium-Doped Fibre Amplifier, which is now a ubiquitous part of optical fibre networks that underpin the global internet.

He has also led the establishment of an export-competitive photonics industry in Australia.

“I am a delighted to be recognised by the academy in this way, and more than a little humbled to be part of such a distinguished group of Fellows.” Poole said.

“For science to maintain its place in society it must remain connected to the needs of society and I hope to be able to assist the academy in ensuring that this happens.”

Poole is a co-founder and vice-president of business development for Cylite, an Australian company that is now pursuing regulatory approval for its diagnostic OCT systems for ophthalmology and optometry.

His photonics expertise has contributed to the underlying technology of the instrument, which is said to differ from competing models by offering industry-leading A-scan speeds. It also captures volume data to provide accurate analytics for corneal and refractive specialists.

Dr Steve Frisken, CEO of Cylite, said the recent honour was a testament to Poole’s significant contributions to photonics within Australia over many ventures, both in academia and industry.

“Simon has proven to be one of the driving forces in establishing the hugely vibrant photonics industry in this country, in a career that spans some of the most successful commercial endeavours and which has impacted the careers of many students, researchers and colleagues,” he said.

“His combination of technical and scientific insight and business acumen will prove an asset to Australia’s Science Academy as it continues to provide a voice to promote scientific endeavours and create opportunities for Australia.”

The Australian Academy of Science was founded on 16 February 1954 by Australian Fellows of the Royal Society of London, with the distinguished physicist Sir Mark Oliphant as founding president.

Other new Fellows this year also included Professor Justin Marshall, a marine biologist from University of Queensland, whose pioneering research into the colour vision of animals has improved the performance of digital cameras.