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Thas Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas

Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Deputy Dean Research at Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, The University of Melbourne

Thas Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas is a Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He is also the Deputy Dean (Research) at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the same university and provides academic leadership for the Wireless Innovation Lab.

Prof Nirmalathas obtained his BEng and PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Melbourne in 1993 and 1998 respectively. Between 2000 and 2004, he was the Director of Photonics Research Laboratory (Melbourne Node of Australian Photonics CRC) and also the Program Leader of Telecommunications Technologies Program. From 2004 to 2006, he was the Program Leader for the Network Technologies Research Program in NICTA. He was also the acting Lab Director of VRL in 2007. Between 2006 and 2008, He was the Research Group Manager of the Networked Systems Group of Victoria Research Laboratory (VRL) at the National ICT Australia (NICTA), a premier Australian research centre of excellence in ICT. Between 2010 and 2012, he was the Head, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne. In 2012, he co-founded the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) which supports entrepreneurial activities of the University Community through business acceleration models. He was the Director of MAP between 2012 and 2014 and he remained as its academic lead till August 2017. In 2015-2016, he played a key role in the development of the Translation Research Accelerator at Melbourne (TRaM) program to foster research translation capacity building. Between 2015 and 2019, he was the Director of the Melbourne Networked Society Institute, an interdisciplinary institute focused on connectivity between people, places and things and its role in shaping the future of our society. From 2017 to 2020, he was also the Group Head of Electronic and Photonic Systems Group.

He has written more than 450 technical articles. His research interests include microwave photonics, optical-wireless network integration, broadband networks, and scalability of telecom and Internet services.

He has serviced as chair of steering committees of Asia Pacific Microwave Photonics and IEEE Topical Meeting on Microwave Photonics Conference series in 2008/2009. He is also a member of the Steering Committee for the International Conference on Optical Internet (COIN). He was also Guest Editor for Special Issue on Opto-Electronics and Communications of the IEICE Transactions in Communications. He was the General Co-Chair of 2008 IEEE Topical Meeting on Microwave Photonics/ Asia Pacific Microwave Photonics 2008. Between 2007 to 2012, he was an Associate Editor of the IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology and on the editorial board of Photonic Network Communications Journal from 2012 to 2018. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, a Senior Member of Optical Society of America, and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia. He is the Deputy Chair of the National Steering Committee for Information and Communication Sciences at the Australian Academy of Sciences. He is also a member of the IEEE Future Networks Tech Focus Editorial Board and the co-chair of the Optics Working Group. He is also Chair of IEEE Photonics Society's Emerging Technologies Taskforce.


  • –present
    Director, Melbourne Accelerator Programs
  • –present
    Associate Director, Institute for the Broadband-Enabled Society


  • 1998 
    University of Melbourne, PhD