Dr Alessandra Sutti discusses how the Institute for Frontier Materials is contributing to short fibres research and how their discoveries could impact the textile and medical industries.
3D scaffolds for haematopoietic stem cell research
We are addressing the major challenge in the field of haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) biology by developing systems that support HSC self renewal and controlled differentiation in vitro.
We are developing integrated bioreactors and 3D scaffolds with high biomimicry for HSC selection from umbilical cord blood and expansion in vitro. These scaffolds will allow greater levels of control over cell fate, enable large volume processing and expansion of HSC and can be tailored to other stem cell applications.
Biocompatible and bioactive surfaces
Our research in this area focuses on understanding the interaction of the surface of metallic biomaterials with biological cells. We also focus on developing micro and nano surface modifications on metallic biomaterials to enhance their biocompatibility and bioactivity.
Biodegradable magnesium alloys
Magnesium alloys are receiving increasing attention as new biodegradable implant materials for orthopaedic applications. However, challenges due to poor mechanical performance and low corrosion resistance mean we need to develop new Mg alloys using strengthening alloying elements.
IFM is leading the development of a new class of nanomaterials known as short nanofibres. Our research is focused on:
- developing a new method for large-scale, low-cost production of short nanofibres
- building a pilot plant for large-scale short nanofibre production
- establishing and demonstrating novel applications for short nanofibres with a focus on areas such as high-level filtration of small particulates, tissue engineering and enzymes.
Titanium and its alloy scaffolds
Titanium and some of its alloys are widely accepted by human bone tissue as load-bearing implants. However, their stiffness is a problem that leads to eventual failure. We are developing new, more flexible titanium alloys using biocompatible titanium in a porous structure.
Dr Jin Zhang is a materials scientist with extensive expertise in fibre-reinforced composites, polymer matrix nano-composites and biological composite materials. She completed her PhD in 2007 and, most recently, has been working on an Australian Research Council (ARC)-funded discovery project aimed at gaining a better understanding of the composite structures of silkworm cocoons. Dr Zhang’s research explores the intriguing composite structure of the cocoons, which have evolved over millions of years. A better understanding of this material will provide a solid knowledge base for bio-mimicking this structure in areas like thermal insulation and lightweight protection garments.
Senior Research Fellow
Dr Alessandra Sutti
+61 3 5227 1156
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