Developing synthetic materials that are as dynamic as those found in nature, with reversibly changing properties and which could be used in manufacturing, recycling and other applications, is a strong focus for scientists.
Professor Sagadevan Mundree is working with his team in the QUT Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities to develop crops that will feed the world’s skyrocketing population.
“We believe the humble chickpea provides an answer,” said Professor Sagadevan Mundree.
“It's a staple food for millions of people. But disease and climate change threaten its huge potential as a sustainable source of protein.”
“We're developing chickpeas that can thrive in drought, resist disease, and deliver much-needed nutrition to developing countries.”
Already, the team has succeeded with enhancing the pro-vitamin A levels in bananas – now being grown in Africa and reducing the incidence of blindness and brain impairment caused by malnutrition.
Beyond securing the world's food supply, QUT research is also repairing bodies broken by trauma and disease.
The team at the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing, are behind the first ever 3D-printed shinbone implant.
“We're using 3D printing to help regenerate bone and tissue lost to disease,” said Dr Marie-Luise Wille, one of the researchers involved in this breathrough.
The 3D-printed shinbone was implanted in a young Gold Coast man, Reuben Lichter, to replace his shinbone lost through an infection. Without the implant, doctors would have had to amputate his lower leg.
Princess Alexandra Hospital Plastic Surgeon Dr Michael Wagels was part of the multi-disciplinary operating team involved in the surgery.
“We accurately recreated Reuben's shinbone - implanting a biodegradable scaffold, alongside his own tissue into the severely damaged limb. This solution allowed the bone cells and the entire structure to regenerate over time, almost like new.”
“It was by far, the largest, most ambitious bone biofabrication procedure the world has seen,” said Dr Wille.
QUT researchers are also working to save the world's greatest environmental treasure, the Great Barrier Reef.
Professor Matthew Dunbabin, from the Science and Engineering faculty, recently launched RangerBot – an autonomous marine vehicle that detects outbreaks of Crown of Thorns starfish that are destroying vast areas of coral.
“RangerBot is the world’s first underwater robotic system designed specifically for coral reef environments, using only robot-vision for real-time navigation, obstacle avoidance and complex science missions,” said Professor Dunbabin.
Robots like Rangerbot, and breakthroughs in robotic vision and artificial intelligence, are just some of the many innovations powering QUT's reef preservation program.
Breakthroughs possible thanks to the power of philanthropy
These breakthroughs are only made possible through the generosity of donors; those with a passion to see change in their lifetime and a drive to make it happen.
Find out more about how you can make a difference through giving to QUT research.
A QUT observational study of electric scooter riding in central Brisbane has found nearly half of shared e-scooters were being ridden illegally.