UTS Science to lead Australia’s first biomedical devices hub
UTS Science has secured almost $4.6 million in funding for research projects from the Australian Research Council (ARC), including the establishment of an Industrial Transformation Research Hub aimed at creating technologies for early diagnosis of disease in humans and animals.
The latest round of ARC grants were announced on Friday 6 May 2016, with a focus on collaboration and innovation aimed at solving real-world problems.
Professor Dayong Jin, from UTS Science’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, will lead a new $3.7 million Research Hub in collaboration with the University of South Australia and six biotechnology industry partners. The ARC Research Hub for Integrated Device for End-user Analysis at Low-levels aims to create diagnostic and drug testing technologies that will make Australian biotechnology, diagnostics, veterinary, agribusiness and manufacturing firms globally competitive.
“We have a coherent vision of conducting research that will solve real issues,” Professor Jin said. “We are the type of researchers that are very keen to solve real-world problems so industry will play a very central role in this research hub.”
The Research Hub will apply the latest developments in nanotechnology, photonics and molecular biology into the next generation of point-of-care detection and diagnostic devices that will enable patients to be tested out of hospital.
“Currently there are very simple diagnostic tests that can be carried out at home, like pregnancy tests, but it’s a very limited area,” Professor Jin said. “This area needs to be expanded in order to really solve the hospital overloading problem—we want to bring the hospital to the patient.”
Professor Jin, who has just marked his one year anniversary with UTS, said the UTS Science team will work closely with their industry partners and the research team at the University of South Australia, which will be led by Professor Emily Hilder.
“No single technology can solve the problem; we have to use multiple technologies together, and that means people working together as well. It’s fantastic that we have a very solid foundation with the University of South Australia.”
The Centre for Forensic Science secured $890,000 worth of grants under the ARC Linkage Programme. It funds three projects including the improved detection of illicit drugs and a nanotechnology-based fingermark detection technique.
Professor Claude Roux will lead a team of UTS scientists on a $235,000 joint project with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and NSW Health Pathology. The project aims to develop an optimised methodology that uses illicit drug profiling for operational intelligence. This methodology, which uses forensic science proactively for intelligence rather than reactively for courts, is expected to make the fight against organised crime more effective.
Professor Roux will also lead a second $380,000 project that aims to develop a nanotechnology-based fingermark detection technique applicable in standard police laboratories and crime scenes.
“There is a whole suite of technology we can now use to identify more criminals,” Professor Roux said. “We are working with the AFP and Police Victoria, and most importantly the world leader in forensic light sources, Rofin Australia—so our research involves all the main actors from instrument manufacturers to end-users, allowing us to have a tangible impact on policing and communities.”
Professor Shari Forbes will lead a $275,000 project that aims to develop a novel biosensor prototype, based on Cybernose technology, to rapidly identify volatile traces of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals in concealed environments. She will lead the UTS Science team, who will also work with the CSIRO, AFP, NSW Health Pathology, the Victorian Police Department and Grey Innovation.
“The grant is a great opportunity for us to work with CSIRO to redevelop Cybernose to detect illicit drugs, to be used in Border Security and also to rapidly screen clandestine drug laboratories for toxic substances,” Professor Forbes said.
Professor Barbara Stuart, also from the Centre for Forensic Science, will contribute to another Linkage project with the University of Melbourne. The $280,000 collaborative project includes three universities, four museums and an art gallery, and aims to find methods to better preserve plastic or polymer-based materials.
Associate Professor Martina Doblin from UTS Science’s Plant Functional & Climate Change Research Strength will work on a $213,445 Linkage project with Macquarie University. This joint project aims to understand the effects of climate change on marine food webs. By integrating data on oceanographic conditions and fish distribution with the foraging patterns and breeding success of seabirds, the team will analyse processes ranging from plankton production to predation by iconic marine fauna.
Read further information on UTS’s ARC grant success in the UTS Newsroom.
This research is funded by the Australian Research Council (opens an external site).