Engineering exceptional outcomes through collaboration

Professor Neil Cameron Credit: Monash Institute of Medical Engineering

As a joint professor of the Monash Warwick Alliance, Professor Neil Cameron is both an excellent example and strong advocate of the value of collaboration in research.

Joining the Alliance as Professor of Polymer Materials in 2014, Professor Cameron’s research is increasingly focussing on the use of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.

Professor Cameron describes additive manufacturing as a kind of reverse sculpting. Rather than chipping away at an unshaped material to create the desired object, additive manufacturing builds the object layer by layer from the bottom up, allowing for structures with complex internal architectures to be produced.

If we view additive manufacturing as a form of art, then the potential applications could arguably be deemed masterpieces.

Professor Cameron said the possible outcomes of biomedical engineering research, particularly tissue engineering, could dramatically improve health outcomes around the world.

“Tissue engineering could eventually make it possible to create human organs, specifically engineered for individual recipients,” Professor Cameron said.

“Additive manufacturing allows us to build intricate channels and precise dimensions in materials, from the inside out, giving the material the ability to function as a tissue.”

This remarkable research has been enriched through the open sharing of resources, ideas and people between Monash University and the University of Warwick. Biomedical engineering is a multi-disciplinary field that reaches across faculties and research specialties, making collaboration a significant advantage.

“The Monash Warwick Alliance demonstrates the value of collaboration in research, not only between individual researchers, but between institutions. Alliance funding schemes make it possible to workshop potential new research areas with international peers.”

Through the Alliance funding scheme, Professor Cameron is currently working with the University of Warwick’s Dr Simon Leigh, on building a joint platform for additive manufacturing with soft, functional materials. The Monash Warwick Alliance second funding round for 2016 is now open.

Some of Professor Cameron’s previous research, conducted during his time at Durham University, was recently published in Nature Scientific Reports.

Formed in early 2012, the Monash Warwick Alliance represents an innovation in higher education and research and aims to accelerate the exchange of people, ideas and information between Monash and Warwick Universities.