16th September 2016

Key QUT researchers have been awarded nearly $3.4 million from the State Government to advance research into 3D printed breasts for reconstructive surgery, new nutritional food products and animal feed supplements, and robotic underground mining vehicles.  

The funding has been made under the Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program.

Professor Dietmar Hutmacher will receive $705,000 to develop world-first 3D technology around breast scaffolds for reconstructive surgery.

A world leader in the field, Professor Hutmacher will partner with the Translational Research Centre, Biofabrication Design Solutions, 3D Industries, and 3D Space Labs to develop the new technology.

The partnership aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of engineers, material scientists and surgeons to herald a paradigm shift in the field of Advanced Biomanufacturing and breast reconstructive surgery by developing a novel highly porous scaffolds that are biodegradable by the body and augment the growth of natural tissue.

Director of QUT’s Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities Professor Sagadevan Mundree is partnering with industry to develop new nutritionally-rich foods based on tropical pulses, such as lentils, chickpeas and mungbeans.

The project has attracted $750,000 funding and involves pulse exporter Blue Ribbon Roasting Trading and Blue Ribbon Grains & Pulse aims to develop new low-allergen, gluten-free food products, potentially leading to an expansion of the pulse industry.

Professor Mundree’s existing pulse research involves the development of disease resistant, nutritiously-rich, drought-tolerant pulses.

Associate Professor Robert Speight is leading project that has been awarded $894,704 to establish Australia’s first biomanufacturing platform to develop animal feed supplements. Industry partners include Ridley AgriProducts, Kennedy Creek Lime, and Bioproton.

The platform will enable new technology surrounding the development of animal feed supplements to be taken from the research lab and developed to a commercial scale.

Professor Ken Beagley is working with The University of Queensland and Dreamworld on a $1.8 million project that aims to enhance the genetic diversity of local koala populations by producing disease-free koalas for release into the wild.

The project combines proven koala breeding technologies with  analyses of wild and captive Queensland koala population genetics, and chlamydia-vaccination to deliver a “living koala genome bank”.

Roboticist, Associate Professor Michael Milford will lead a project that focuses on the automation of underground mining vehicles, aiming to overcome the difficulties of navigating through a maze of tunnels in tough terrain.

The project has received has received $428,240 funding and the industry partner is international mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc.

The researchers will develop a cost-effective, reliable camera-based positioning system for locating and tracking underground mining vehicles within one metre of accuracy as well as a sophisticated, multi-sensor system that provides centimetre-accurate positioning.

The Innovation Partnerships program, part of the $405 million Advance Queensland initiative, aims to support collaborative research and development projects involving both research organisations and industry to address industry and society issues in priority areas such as agriculture, engineering, climate change, clean energy, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

Media contact: Rose Trapnell, QUT media team leader, 07 3138 2361 or 0407 585 901 rose.trapnell@qut.edu.au

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