Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Mark Allenby
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (AQF)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Pascal Buenzli
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Matthew Simpson
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Mia Woodruff
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Hospital departments are adopting medical imaging, modelling, and 3D printing to automate personalised implant manufacture and avoid malpractice related to surgical handcrafting. Although several 3D printed implants are approved for medical use, their therapeutic value remains limited as acellular devices with coarse resolution. The ability to print scaffold implants with cell microenvironment precision has been achieved using melt electrowriting (MEW), an emerging technique frequently applied to produce cell culture scaffolds.

In contemporary MEW studies, the effect of materials or pore sizes are evaluated to optimise cell growth into tissue. Few papers have probed the effect of microscale geometric features on cell fate using quantitative microscopy techniques. These biophysical relationships will describe scaffold design equations which control tissue formation and morphology within model systems and implants.

In collaboration with Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital surgical departments, we will probe the effect of MEW scaffold design on multicellular fate using single-cell imaging and spatiotemporal metrics to parameterise and validate optimisation models for cell therapies.

Read the initial study on the bioRxiv website

Research activities

This project will develop your skills in experimental and computational technologies. These skills are useful in a wide breadth of healthcare and manufacturing industries.

You'll be involved in:

  • a literature review of current pathology, surgical treatment and research approaches
  • computer aided-design and 3D printing technologies
  • cell culture techniques using model cell lines as well as primary patient biopsies
  • microscopy techniques and the development of computational algorithms to analyse images
  • mathematical modelling of cell culture dynamics and tissue biophysics.

Your supervisor/s can work with you to tailor the research project to your study level (PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours or VRES).

You'll work with a talented team across the Biofabrication and Tissue Morphology group and Herston Biofabrication Institute. This team includes physicists, engineers, mathematicians, biologists and the clinicians who are operating on the patients.

You'll attend surgeries and consultations and will be expected to attend lab group meetings once per week alongside full time research.


Traditional tissue engineering follows ad hoc experimentation despite complex and low-fidelity parameter spaces and recent computational approaches fail to capture microenvironmental biophysics which underpin large cell systems relevant for implant or therapeutic biomanufacture.

Our multiscale approach identifies interactions and uncertainty between process parameters and model output to exert implant-wide process control throughout scaffold pore microenvironments.

We propose the integration of mechanistic modelling with experimental characterisation for the development of robust additive tissue manufacturing processes. We aim to build an engineering-driven framework allowing systematic design and manufacturing for personalised tissue engineering.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, you must have completed or be completing a degree in one of the following disciplines:

  • life sciences
  • engineering
  • computational.

Relevant experimental experience (e.g. 3D printing or cell culture) or computational experience (e.g. AutoCAD, MATLAB, R, or Python) is useful, but not required


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.