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Understanding and exploiting the phenomenal properties of collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and, as one of its principal building blocks, plays a dominant role in the function of many tissues. As such, the structure-property-function relationships in collagen are central to understanding health and disease, and developing materials-based strategies for regenerative medicine. A better understanding of these relationships further provides a biomimetic target for high-performance, multifunctional fibre-based materials in applications outside of biomedicine. The defining feature of collagen is an elegant structural motif …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Surgery with rockets

Self-propelled nano/microscale rockets have been developed that consume locally supplied chemical fuels to generate thrust, analogous to how large rocket engines ignite onboard propellants. Such rockets offer tremendous advantages as nano/microdevices. They can be designed for low or high velocities (up to 1000 body lengths/sec), can tow large loads, have remarkable design flexibility, and allow surface functionalisation with nanomaterials and biomolecules.1,2Unlike their macroscale counterparts, these rockets have the advantage of harvesting their chemical fuel directly from their surrounding environment. In …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Encapsulation of adsorbents in polymeric beads

Not all adsorbent materials synthesised have the ideal physical properties for water treatment applications. Therefore, this research will investigate the performance of adsorbents encapsulated in polymeric beads and methods for improving capacity.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Retaining and regaining hydrogel mechanical properties

Hydrogels have great potential in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, where they serve as an artificial extracellular matrix. However, they typically have poor mechanical properties, which limits their applications.  Double network hydrogels can overcome some of these limitations, with substantially improved stiffness and toughness compared to traditional single network hydrogels.  Nonetheless, double network hydrogels can lose these properties over time and with repeated loading.

Study level
Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Secondary aerosol formation from engine exhaust emissions

In Oct 2013 WHO and their International Agency for Research on Cancer classified particulate matter and outdoor atmospheric pollution as carcinogenic to humans. The main contributor to high atmospheric pollution episodes in urban environments are secondary organic aerosols (SOA), or photochemical smog, generated in the atmosphere through oxidation of reactive volatile gasses, primarily coming from traffic.Estimates point out that diesel vehicles are responsible for 65% to 90% of the secondary pollution formed from vehicle emissions. The origin of 75% of …

Study level
PhD, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Biorefinery process modelling and economics

Worldwide transportation fuel production is currently circa 100 million barrels per day with the vast majority from fossil fuel sources. Pyrolysis and liquefaction are potential promising thermochemical technologies for producing renewable fuels and chemicals from biomass, however, the resultant biocrude/bio-oil has many complex properties inherited from the characteristics of the original feedstock, which make it a generally low-grade fuel alternative. Upgrading of the bio-oils are necessary to produce higher quality products and challenges exist to cost-effectively achieve this target. There …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Industrial water treatment

Our research group has a strong focus on solving problems related to water treatment.Research topics in this area included but are not limited to:coal seam gasshale oil and gasmunicipal wastewateracid mine drainagemining waterfood and beverage manufacturingagriculturedesalinationammonia and phosphate nutrient recoverymetal recoveryThe majority of projects involve collaboration with industry. …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Assessment of the probiotic potential of Bacillus strains

Sugarcane bagasse is the residual material left after the stems have been crushed for sugar and is one of the most abundant agricultural wastes around the world. In Australia, it is usually incinerated to generate electricity at the mill or for the grid but excess bagasse is left outside for months in giant (usually uncovered) piles. These develop into a unique ecological niche, with interacting/competing populations of bacteria, yeast and filamentous fungi thriving in the lignocellulose-rich environment. It is also …

Study level
Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Preclinical irradiation setup optimisation for immunotherapy-radiotherapy combination treatment in triple negative breast cancer

Although effective treatment options are available for the majority of breast cancer patients, major unmet needs remain for treatment of metastatic disease and for treatments to prevent metastases in patients with the highly aggressive 'triple negative' breast cancer (TNBC) subtype.It has recently become appreciated that immuno-suppression within the tumour microenvironment plays an important role in modulating tumour progression and metastasis. Capitalising on this new understanding, novel classes of immunotherapeutic drugs have been developed which show promise to dramatically improve treatment …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

3D Printing composite scaffolds for ear cartilage

Depending on your background, we will develop a specific project aim that relates to components of this larger project. Your research activities could involve one or more of the following:3D modelling of scaffolds using participant scans3D printing scaffolds using our in-house 3D printersMechanical testing of scaffoldsIn-vitro cell culture work

Study level
Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

Understanding the relationships between immune cells and stem cells for bone regenerative medicine

The skeletal system in human body undergoes a constant life-long process of adaptation, which consists of osteoblast-driven formation and osteoclast-driven resorption. The regenerative power of endogenous cells is required for bone development, repair and regeneration. This is controlled by various cell types that secrete a wide spectrum cytokines that temporally and spatially dictate stem cell commitment and modulate the bone microenvironment. Increasing evidence has shown that among the various types of cells that mediate bone formation and regeneration, macrophages play …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

One coating to rule them all: preventing infections to medical devices

Infections to medical devices are still a major complication. This project investigates a new antimicrobial coating that could be readily applied on all surfaces to prevent bacterial attachment and growth. The project is in collaborations with leading device R&D companies and manufacturers both in Australia and overseas and thus would give students opportunities for industry exposure.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Lead unit
School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering

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