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Del Borgo Lab research

CollaborationsStudent research projects | Publications

About Dr Mark Del Borgo

Dr Mark Del Borgo received his PhD in pharmacology in 2005 from the University of Melbourne and immediately became a research fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Queensland (2005-2007). He then took up a teaching position in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas (2007-2008). Since 2009, he has been a research fellow within the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Monash University. He was the first person to demonstrate that peptides derived from β-amino acids are able to self-assemble into a wide range of fibrous materials (published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.). These materials form a platform technology with many applications in regenerative medicine, bioengineering and drug delivery. In late 2019, Dr Del Borgo was appointed as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology where he now runs the Macro Therapeutics Lab.


Our research

Current projects

Within the Macro Therapeutics Group, we use synthetic and peptide chemistry, pharmacology and materials science to deliver tailored materials that can be used in clinical settings. We have a number of projects available that cross many disciplines that focus on three main areas:

  1. The development of tailored materials to deliver drugs, stem cells and stem cell products
  2. Peptide-based drug development
  3. Creating bioelectronic nanofibers and materials

Visit Dr Del Borgo’s Supervisor Connect for a full list of current projects available for students.

You can also visit Professor Mibel Aguilar’s Lab website (Biomaterials and drug design) for a listing of projects understanding the structure of these materials.

Visit Dr Del Borgo’s Monash research profile to see a full listing of current projects.

Research activities

The ability of peptides to self-assemble through non-covalent interactions spontaneously or in response to specific triggers has been the focus of researchers to build materials that can be applied to a range of applications. This allows for the tailoring of materials through the chemical modification of the peptide building blocks. Six years ago, Dr Del Borgo discovered that peptides comprised entirely of β3-amino acids self-assemble to form fibrous structures. Since then, the lab has worked tirelessly to further investigate, optimise and control this phenomenon to yield biomaterials that could one day prove useful in a real-world setting.We now have a wide number of ligands that can be attached to the peptide building blocks that will enable fine tuning of physiological function and material characteristics that is crucial for cell signalling, tissue integration and drug delivery.

We are a multi-disciplinary lab that are involved in a number of activities. A few examples are:

  • STED imaging of our fluorescently labelled hydrogels (Figure 1),
  • SEM analysis of our hydrogels encapsulated with stem cells (Figure 2) and
  • high-resolution atomic force microscopy of a self-assembled fibre mesh (Figure 3)

Figure 1: STED imaging of a fluorescent hydrogel

Figure 2: An SEM image of a hydrogel encapsulated with MSC’s

Figure 3: An AFM image of a self-assembled fibre mesh

Techniques/expertise

  • Organic and peptide chemistry
  • Analytical chemistry
  • AFM
  • TEM/SEM
  • In vitro and in vivo pharmacology
  • Fluorescence microscopy

Disease models

Our collaborations enable us to introduce our students to a number of disease models including:

  • Ischemic stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Spinal cord injury

Collaborations

We collaborate with many scientists and research organisations around the world. Some of our more significant national and international collaborators are listed below. Click on the map to see the details for each of these collaborators (dive into specific publications and outputs by clicking on the dots).

Professor Rob Widdop
Professor Sharon Ricardo

Professor Helena Parkington
Dr Brad Broughton
Dr Jan Kaslin
Professor John Forsythe
Professor Neil Cameron
Professor Caroline Gargett
Professor Mibel Aguilar


Student research projects

The Del Borgo Lab offers a variety of Honours, Masters and PhD projects for students interested in joining our group. There are also a number of short term research opportunities available.

Please visit Supervisor Connect to explore the projects currently available in our Lab.