Stephen O’Leary holds the William Gibson Chair of Otolaryngology at The University of Melbourne. He obtained his PhD at The University of Melbourne under the mentorship of Professor Graeme Clark in 1994, and completed surgical training in Ear Nose and Throat- Head and Neck Surgery in 1998. Professor O’Leary has undertaken post-doctoral research at Oxford University, UK and the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. He has worked as both a surgeon and a medical researcher at The University of Melbourne and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, since 1999, and served the Hospital as Chairman of the Senior Medical Staff 2007-2009. Prof O’Leary holds an honorary appointment with the Bionic Ear Institute.
Professor O’Leary is recognized internationally for his clinical and research activities in ear disease, hearing and balance, and particularly for contributions to cochlear implantation. His primary translational research is the protection of the inner ear during cochlear implant surgery, which promises to enable implant recipients to maintain their hearing in the ear that receives the cochlear prosthesis. He has a track record in the aetiology and prevention of infection with cochlear implantation, and the use of neurotrophins to regenerate the auditory nerve after deafness. Professor O’Leary has led the development of a virtual reality simulator to train ear surgeons in collaboration with CSIRO, and this system has recently been licensed for commercial development to an Australian company, Medic Vision. He was elected to the Collegium Otorhinolaryngologicum Amitciae Sacrum in 2006 in recognition of his contributions to Otolaryngology, and was recipient of the 2009 John Mitchell Crouch Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for excellence in surgical research.