AIBN Director Professor Alan Rowan awarded prestigious ARC Laureate Fellowship

6 May 2016

Research new to the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at The University of Queensland focusing on the fundamental understanding of how materials found in the body actually work and can be synthetically constructed has attracted nearly $3 million in funding from the ARC Laureate Fellowships scheme.

The Australian Research Council today announced Professor Alan Rowan, Director of the AIBN, as an Australian Laureate Fellow.  This prestigious award comes just three months after Professor Rowan took up the post as director of the institute, and will support his goal to establish a world-class research initiative centred on the interaction of cells with nanostructured materials and surfaces.  

“I am delighted by the award of an ARC Laureate. This is a fantastic reward for the hard work of my group in recent years,” Professor Rowan said. 

“This funding will allow me to establish a new research group at the AIBN focussed on biomimetic materials and their numerous applications.”

At the core of Professor Rowan’s research is the application of fundamental science to benefit society.  His Laureate program aims to understand how soft materials in the human body can be precisely modelled to produce sophisticated and responsive materials, and then translate this knowledge into products for use in diverse applications such as tissue engineering, wound healing, and immunology through to responsive soft matter and robotics. 

This Fellowship program will push the boundaries of materials development in the biological and life sciences.  With teams of world-class researchers working at the interface of biological, chemical and physical sciences, the AIBN provides an unrivalled environment of multidisciplinary scale and capacity to support the program goals.  This critical mass of researchers combined with a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship provides the springboard for translation of the science.  

“The AIBN is the ideal place to carry out this research and in combination with UniQuest, the commercialisation arm of UQ, I am convinced that the proposed fundamental research will be translated into real solutions for some of society’s problems,” said Professor Rowan.

With this Laureate Fellowship, Professor Rowan will build a team of next-generation materials scientists at the AIBN and create a core of excellence in the field of novel biomimetic and dynamic materials, positioning the AIBN and UQ at the forefront of this important field.

“The funding will allow me not only to carry out ground breaking science but to train and motivate a new generation of young materials scientists, who will carry the baton of innovation into the future,” Professor Rowan said.

In further ARC funding success, the AIBN will lead an Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation, led by Associate Professor Stephen Mahler. In this $5.7m initiative, UQ will partner with CSL Limited, GE Healthcare, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and Patheon Biologics Australia to transform Australia’s growing biopharmaceutical industry.