Led by Professor Simon Moulton, the bioengineering solutions program focuses on aligning our capabilities in key bioengineering areas — such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and physics — to deliver innovative solutions to health market needs, with an emphasis on sensor and therapeutic devices. 

At the Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute, we collaborate with partners to develop further bioengineering technologies to meet market demands, such as matching nanotechnology research with point-of-care diagnostics. We’ve partnered with public and private hospitals, research groups and MedTech companies within Melbourne and further afield.

Our projects

In collaboration with the Baker Institute and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, this project aims to develop thermal-sensitive hydrogels for peptide and drug delivery. The technology we’ve developed provides a new and optimal approach to the controlled delivery of therapeutic agents and is currently being used for the delivery of anti-cancer drugs and therapeutics to treat unstable plaques.  

In collaboration with Universal Biosensors, this project aims to develop, translate and commercialise a Tn Antigen (Tn) biosensor used for the detection, staging and monitoring of cancer. Tn Antigen is linked to the first mutation process of a healthy human cell as it becomes a cancer cell. Tn Antigen is an O-glycan which is rarely detected in human healthy tissues and is almost exclusively expressed in many, but not all cancers. Clinical research proves Tn Antigen expression correlates with identifying then measuring cancer progression and metastatic potential.

This project aims to improve our understanding of the brain networks involved in movement control and how electrical stimulation of the brain can improve motor task outcomes and enhance neural signal decoding. Only a few people around the world use a brain-computer interface (BCI), partly due to limited understanding about which brain signals provide optimal potential for decoding. Our research will aid the development of new brain-computer interfaces that have recording and stimulation capabilities, improving quality of life for people with loss of limb function. 

Led by Dr Evie Kendal, this research group is focused on extending the boundaries of science, technology and design in socially responsible ways by considering the ethico-legal ramifications of emerging technologies and urban design while they are still in development. This includes recognising the interdependence of scientific and technological development with social and economic change. Having experts in both the technical and ethical aspects of emerging technologies publishing together, represents a unique opportunity to integrate cutting-edge technologies into society and industry that have already undergone rigorous ethical evaluation.

In this project funded by the Australian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC), we address the high incidence of infections associated with CVADs (central venous access devices). The incidents of CVAD-associated infections are significantly high in hospitalised patients resulting in increased length of hospital stay and mortality related outcomes. Decontamination of needleless connectors is critical in preventing CVAD-associated infections and improving patient safety.

We’re working on multiple research projects in collaboration with the University of Woollongong, the Burnet Institute and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, developing next-generation hydrogel and polymer materials for use in contraceptive, oncology and surgical applications. These technologies provide a means to develop materials possessing improved properties suitable for interfacing with human tissue and improved therapeutic delivery. 

Our academics from the fields of design, manufacturing, health and medical regulations are working together on Project Geldom, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a NSW Medical Devices Fund grant, to develop a new and innovative concept for condoms. 

Partnering with the Baker Institute, optical physicists at Swinburne are assisting in the development of a novel approach to imaging unstable plaques in blood vessels. This imaging technique provides additional biological information to surgeons that will help in establishing a more detailed diagnosis and support more effective treatment of plaques in blood vessels — a major cause of coronary disease worldwide. 

Our ergonomic investigation in collaboration with Healthe Care Australia is focused on developing robotically-assisted surgery to overcome the limitations of pre-existing minimally invasive surgical procedures. This project uses motion capture technologies in simulated environments to model, analyse and compare a surgeon’s ergonomics during both robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery and traditional laparoscopic surgery.

The findings can be used to quantify ergonomic benefits and set guidelines for improving the ergonomics of both procedures, as well as to investigate the possibility of completely digitising an entire surgical procedure for use in virtual reality applications for teaching, marketing and further ergonomic analysis.

With funding from the Medical Research Future Fund and led by the Burnet Institute, the EVE-M (Enhancing the Vaginal Environment and Microbiome) Initiative that we’re involved in is among the first to recognise the potential importance of the microbes that colonise the human vagina. We believe that by targeting these, we have the potential to influence a range of health outcomes that could see revolutionary improvements made to female sexual and reproductive health. Advances in analytical technologies are providing increasing evidence that the ‘microbiome’ — micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi — that live on or within our body are important in maintaining our health. 

Bioengineering solutions news

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Contact the Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute

If your organisation is dealing with a complex problem that you’d like to collaborate on with us, or you simply want to contact our team, get in touch by calling +61 3 9214 8180 or emailing ihi@swinburne.edu.au.

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