Biotechnology and Biomolecular Engineering

Tissue engineering is an emerging science that consists of growing living cells into 3D scaffolds to form whole tissues capable of normal biological functions.

A number of challenges remain in fabricating and applying off-the-shelf tissue engineering organs. These include:

  • the need for a renewable source of functional cells that are immunologically compatible with patients;
  • the need for biomaterials with desired mechanical, chemical, and biological properties for scaffold fabrication;
  • the generation of 3D scaffolds with desired porosity and pore interconnectivity for cell differentiation and proliferation and
  • the generation of large vascularised tissues.

The production of nano and microparticles with narrow particle size distribution is playing an increasingly important role in the medical diagnosis, prevention and cure of diseases. It has been estimated that in 10 to 15 years time, half of the world’s pharmaceutical production will depend on nanotechnology, with a market value of more than A$300 billion a year. Smaller particles provide an avenue for novel drug delivery, improve bioavailability and minimise the doses and side effects.

This area of research concentrates on developing advanced technology for engineering fine particles and nano carriers such as stable stimuli responsive micelles for targeted delivery of drugs, specifically an anticancer. Nanodrug delivery will enable drugs to permeate cell walls, which will be critical to the expected growth of genetic medicine over the next few years.