In Summary

  • Co-funded biomaterials research strengthens Swinburne partnership with CSIRO
  • Professor Sally McArthur to build transdisciplinary team to develop 3D in vitro cell culture systems‌

Swinburne Innovation Precinct director Professor Sally McArthur has been awarded a joint appointment as an Office of the Chief Executive (OCE) Science Leader at CSIRO.

The joint appointment will see Professor McArthur lead a research team funded by both Swinburne and CSIRO as part of the Strategic Research Alliance announced in April 2016.

Centred on the development of 3D in vitro cell culture systems for applications in health and medical research, Professor McArthur’s research falls into one of the key focus areas of the partnership – biomaterials.

The aim is to investigate and validate the materials, sensors and construction principles required for reproducible, scalable and verifiable 3D in vitro cell- and tissue-based testing systems capable of testing both infection and inflammation responses.

Partners in research

Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic describes Swinburne and CSIRO’s co-investment in this research, and the joint appointment of Professor McArthur, as further evidence of the depth of collaboration between the two organisations.

“We’re committed to supporting Sally in her joint role with CSIRO as we work together to further build the capacity and impact of our research,” Professor Subic says.

Director of CSIRO Manufacturing Dr Keith McLean adds: “Sally’s work is a great example of turning lab theory into industry fact, which is at the core of CSIRO and Swinburne’s research.

“Her 3D modelling mimics living organisms; resulting in more accurate research and improved safety. It allows for better testing of a potential drug before trials begin.”

Connecting capabilities

Professor McArthur, who worked and completed her PhD at CSIRO in the late 1990s, says she plans to build a transdisciplinary team across CSIRO, Swinburne and a number of national and international academic and industry partners.

“Connecting CSIRO and Swinburne capabilities means that I have the opportunity to access a fantastic depth of knowledge that will be critical to developing these systems.

“It’s exciting to have that freedom, to connect people and find new ideas and approaches that will ultimately underpin new technology that could change the way we test and understand biological responses to materials, contribute to our fundamental understanding of those processes and, longer term, create new products and services for the medical and biotechnology sectors.”

The OCE position co-funding supports two postdoctoral researchers and two PHD students and Professor McArthur is also recruiting for an additional postdoctoral researcher supported by the CSIRO Future Science Platform.