In an exciting development for the HRI, the talented Dr Steven Wise has been promoted to lead the newly formed Applied Materials Group.
As evidence of the nurturing environment at the HRI, Steven has grown from a promising postdoctoral fellow to now leading his own team of scientists.
The Applied Materials Group will focus on developing and evaluating new types of materials for tissue repair and replacement.
Along the way, they will be developing new models that more closely mimic the clinical environment. The team of four PhD and one Honours student work together over long hours to realise these goals.
The greater purpose of the group is to one day provide better materials for clinicians to use in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The materials currently available are fundamentally incompatible with the tissues they seek to repair. Metal alloys like stainless steel, and the same plastics used in Goretex jackets and drinking straws are in wide use, relying on technology that has not evolved considerably for several decades. The group aims to provide better platform materials to improve the treatment of all cardiovascular diseases.
Asked about his current cutting edge work, Steven explains:
“We are developing new blood vessels made from silkworm silk, and from degradable polymers that encourage the body to regrow native tissue.
"In addition, we are characterising a new class of nanoparticles, which could be used for better medical imaging and drug delivery.”
Steven is excited by his continued partnership with Associate Professor Martin Ng, head of the Translational Research and Bioengineering Group, in the ongoing development of an improved vascular stent coating.
Steven explains, “This work is now seeing some very exciting pre-clinical results after nearly a decade of development, so it’s reaching a very important stage.”
Martin and Steven are currently presenting their latest findings at EuroPCR in Paris, France – the largest European interventional cardiology meeting.
Steven is looking ahead to an exciting future, “My aim for 2015 is to establish a solid foundation for the new group, get the team working together well and publish some high quality papers.” His dedication arises from his steadfast commitment to a greater purpose, “I love coming to work every day. Our research is constantly geared towards making a clinical difference, so every experiment brings us closer to that goal. I meet lots of people with cardiovascular disease, including in my own family, and I feel like we can really make a difference.”