Monash BDI scientist to play key role in new training centre

Professor Gail Risbridger.
Professor Gail Risbridger.

Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researcher Professor Gail Risbridger is to co-head a key part of the newly launched Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre for Cell and Tissues Engineering Technologies at Monash University.

The $5 million centre will fund new research and train a highly-skilled workforce for the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine sector, which will lead to progressive new treatments for disease and better medical outcomes for patients. It will be led by Professor Laurence Meagher of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

The training centre will have three themes: processing engineering efficiencies, advanced materials manufacturing, and tissue engineering technologies. Professor Risbridger will co-lead the latter area with Dr Laura Bray of Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Centre in Regenerative Medicine, who has been appointed as the ARC centre’s Deputy Director. Queensland University of Technology is a significant partner in the new initiative.

Professor Risbridger said the interdisciplinary centre would allow cell biologists such as herself to work closely with bioengineers and others to advance patient care.

“Research discovery is fundamental to improving patient health. You can modify patient care and quality of care but discovery science is fundamental to driving innovation and this is the sort of innovation you will see at this centre,” Professor Risbridger said.

“We will be training a workforce of next-generation researchers to be of that mindset, to use discovery science to impact on patient outcomes,” she said.

One of Australia’s leading prostate cancer researchers, Professor Risbridger has long worked with multi-disciplinary teams including clinicians and bioengineering students. She said the new centre was for her a logical progression – and formalisation – of such work. She will also conduct a project at the centre.

Professor Meagher said the centre would foster Australian research performance and innovation through fundamental and applied research carried out in industry-led PhD projects. The Monash BDI’s Professor Mibel Aguilar, a bioanalytical and biophysical chemist, and Associate Professor Tracy Heng will be Chief Investigators on such projects.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to broaden our stem cell and immunology research towards a more translational focus,” Associate Professor Heng said.

“We are excited about expanding the development of our biomaterials in clinical applications at the centre," Professor Aguilar said.

The Australian branch of Cell Mogrify, co-founded by the Monash BDI’s Professor José Polo, is one of the industry partners.

The ARC centre will work with 26 organisations with contributions from Monash University’s faculties of Engineering; Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Business and Economics.

Located within the Monash Innovation Precinct, research staff will collaborate with nearby CSIRO Manufacturing, the Melbourne Centre for Fabrication, the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI), the Monash Health Translational Precinct and other key Monash Technology Platforms. The centre will also have strong international links with several centres and institutes, as well as many Australian and international companies.

This is based on an article originally published by the Faculty of Engineering.

About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.