2017 Selby Research Awards

  • The Selby Research Awards are granted annually by both the The University of Melbourne and The University of Sydney. The award is to assist an outstanding academic establish his or her research career. The Foundation congratulates:

    img Graeme Selby, Chairman of the Selby Scientific Foundation
  • Dr Daniel Heath

    Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
    University of Melbourne
    Awarded on 06/10/2017

    Design and synthesis of biodegradable materials with temporal control of drug release for coronary artery stent applications.

    Cardiovascular disease remains one of the largest causes of death worldwide. In many cases, this presents itself as coronary artery disease, where the vessels that feed blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked. If left untreated, this condition can lead to heart attack and death. A common clinical method for addressing this disease state is coronary artery stenting, where a small wire cage is inserted intravenously and expanded at the site of the narrowing. The stent acts to prop the vessel open, maintaining blood flow to the heart.

    The vessel heals itself within approximately 6 month to 1 year after the treatment, meaning that long term implantation of the stent is not required. Additionally, the permanent presence of the stent can lead to undesired side effect such as late stage thrombosis, a potentially life-threatening condition. Therefore, the next generation of cardiovascular stents will likely be biodegradable in nature. However, the development of biodegradable stents is currently limited by several technological challenges including the inability to image the stents, the inability to load the stents with therapeutic agents, and the inability to produce thin struts from the biodegradable materials. This work aims to synthesise novel polymeric materials for use in next generation coronary artery stent applications that address the above mentioned challenges.

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    img Dr Daniel Heath receiving his Award.
  • Dr Kathryn Stok

    Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
    University of Melbourne
    Awarded on 06/10/2017

    A contrast agent for molecular transport imaging with micro-computed tomography

    Accurately measuring the full complexity of living biological systems in action is critical to understanding processes fundamental to function. In biological joint systems, cartilage receives nutrients via underlying bone and vascular channels. The sieving effect of bone in delivering these nutrients is important. As joint health deteriorates, the capacity of cartilage to receive nutrients and expel waste is dependent on the molecular weight of the products being received/expelled and the quality of the bone matrix. To capture and measure this dynamic transport process, a non-toxic, repeat-dose, x-ray opaque contrast agent is required for use in micro-computed tomography (microCT) imaging. This aim of this proposal is the (i) development and synthesis of a chemical contrast agent which can be used for / with micro-computed tomography imaging. The contrast agent must fulfil specific imaging and physiological criteria: radioopaque, non-toxic, repeatable dosing, but also (ii) demonstrate appropriate chemical kinetics to capture molecular transport activity and describe the interstitial fluid flow through the system. Measurement of biochemical control systems directly affects our capacity to innovate functional solutions in biomedical engineering and bioscience, and is hampered by measurement modalities that capture only limited data. The contrast agent developed in this work would have future potential for preclinical and clinical use in exploring musculoskeletal health.

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    img Dr Kathryn Stok receiving her Award.
  • Dr Sergio Leon-Saval

    School of Physics
    University of Sydney
    Awarded on 20/11/2017

    Advanced Photonic Sensors for Agriculture

    The production of fresh produce, a major growth area of the Australian food market, has undergone dramatic evolution in recent years. Throughout the world, farming practices, shipping, cleaning and preparation, to the packaging and shelving of the goods have become increasingly sophisticated as the supply tries to keep up with demand. Independent farms are moving towards the vertical integration agribusiness model where companies manage the entire process “from paddock to plate” heading to the concept of Precision Agriculture. Suppliers must be able to demonstrate their adherence to food safety protocols as well as the quality of their crops. Moreover it is essential that contaminated produce and sterile soils can be identified and traced back to the source to prevent breaks in the supply chain. Advanced photonics sensors for Raman and Near-Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy could offer the opportunity to cheaply and rapidly detect deadly pathogenic bacteria as well as to access the quality and health of the soil, thereby protecting Australian vegetable growers from the risk of dangerous food safety outbreaks and/or devastating supply shortages.

    The proposed project will explore a new compact photonic technology for NIR spectroscopy to test the detection of nitrates and phosphates soil content. The technology was developed in the Sydney Astrophotonic Instrumentation Laboratories (SAIL) part of the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. The instrument will be integrated and tested in the lab before installation on a new farm robot under development at the Australian Centre of Field Robotics, also at the University of Sydney. This small project will deliver a comprehensive study of the spectral properties and needs of this new type of sensors focused on the farming industry.

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    img Dr Sergio Leon-Saval