The University of Melbourne
Professor Andrea O’Connor has been awarded a 12-month Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program grant for her project titled…
Multidimensional biomaterials for tissue repair
International Partner: University of Bayreuth, Germany
The University of Melbourne has an excellent track record of world-leading engineering research covering a breadth of areas including nanomaterials, biomaterials, tissue engineering, biomechanics, and mechanobiology. They have strong national and international linkages with industry, hospitals, research institutes, and universities. The University of Bayreuth is renowned for expertise in biomaterials research and places a high value on promoting interdisciplinary research crossing the conventional boundaries of academic disciplines.
Designing new biocompatible materials to repair damaged nerve tissues
- Developing nerve guidance conduits made from chitosan and recombinant spider silk
- Current peripheral nerve repair methods involve taking tissue from the patient, and can have clinical drawbacks
- Innovative materials may lead to improved surgical procedures, enhanced clinical outcomes and advances in neuroprosthetic limbs
Learn more about the other researchers who have also been awarded a Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program grant in 2021.
Loss of motor, sensory, or autonomic nerve functions can occur due to injury and a range of medical conditions and have serious impacts on patients’ independence and quality of life. This collaboration between The University of Melbourne and University of Bayreuth aims to design new biomaterials technology that will help repair and regenerate peripheral nerves.
The University of Melbourne has strong national and international linkages with industry, hospitals, research institutes, and universities, including as a major founding partner in the new Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery (ACMD) at St Vincent’s Hospital. Lead researcher, Professor Andrea O’Connor, is the inaugural Shanahan Chair in Frontier Medical Solutions and a recognised leader in tissue engineering and biomaterials research.
The University of Bayreuth is renowned for expertise in biomaterials research, led by Professor Thomas Scheibel, whose research led to the formation of the company AMSilk, the world’s first industrial supplier of synthetic silk biopolymers. Victorian institutions – Monash University, Swinburne University of Technology and CSIRO – will also be involved in the performance assessment phase of this project.
Together they will develop a new kind of nerve guidance conduit, made of biocompatible and biodegradable materials – chitosan and recombinant spider silk. The approach is based on tailoring biomaterials at multiple dimensions – from molecular design to hierarchical 3D structures to support cell and tissue growth. This development of new biomaterials engineering knowledge will enable the creation of more sophisticated and personalised biomaterials solutions, leading to improved surgical procedures, advances in neuroprosthetic limbs, and enhanced clinical outcomes.
This project will strengthen the collaborations of Victorian research institutions with the University of Bayreuth, growing the profile of Victorian research and the potential to recruit international researchers and PhD students to Melbourne.