Associate Professor Leah Heiss
Leah Heiss is a Melbourne-based designer and Monash University academic working at the nexus of design, health and technology. Her process is deeply collaborative, and she works with experts from nanotechnology through to manufacturing. She is dedicated to the idea that design can radically improve the development of wearable health technologies, systems and services.
Through collaborative projects Leah has brought human centred design to technologies for hearing loss, diabetes and pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gut disease and loneliness. Her wearable technologies include jewellery to administer insulin, cardiac monitoring jewellery, swallowable devices to detect disease and emergency jewellery for times of medical crisis. She is currently designing applications for stretchable sensors for heart health and post-operative monitoring.
Leah’s design work has been recognised with five Australian Good Design Awards including the 2018 Australian Good Design Award of the Year, and four Best in Class Good Design Awards. In 2018 Facett, that she designed for Blamey Saunders Hears, was awarded the Good Design Award of the Year, the CSIRO Design Innovation Award and the Premier’s Design Award (Product Design Category Winner). Projects Leah has led have been presented to the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Health and informed the creation of Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Guidelines.
Her design work is part of the Museums Victoria heritage collection and has been exhibited in Australia, Europe and Asia to audiences of over 650,000 people at venues including the Melbourne Museum, the Museum of Arts and Sciences and the Gallery of Modern Art.
In her role as the Eva and Marc Besen International Research Chair in Design, Leah strengthens Monash design capability in interdisciplinary projects across the University, nationally and internationally. She highlights the need to scaffold design around major shifts in healthcare towards digitisation, datafication and personalisation of healthcare systems, and robotics and AI in the care sector.