Invited Speakers

Plenary Speakers


Hala Zreiqat (2018 NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year) is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Sydney, Director: ARC Training Center for Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative BioEngineering; Head Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Research Uni; 2016-2017 Radcliffe-Harvard Fellow; National Health and Medical Research Senior Research Fellow; Honorary Professor Shanghai JaioTong University and Adjunct Professor Drexel University. She received her PhD from the Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney in 1998. Upon joining the University of Sydney in 2006, she established the Tissue Engineering & Biomaterials Research Unit, which she continues to direct. Her lab works on the development of novel engineered materials and 3D printed platforms for regenerative medicine, particularly in the fields of orthopaedics, dental and maxillofacial applications. Her pioneering development of innovative biomaterials for tissue regeneration has led to one awarded (US) and 6 provisional patents, 5 as a lead inventor, and several collaborations with inter/national industry partners.  She is the Founder and Chair of the Alliance for Design and Application in Tissue Engineering (ADATE), (2006-present). She is an Advisor of the World Orthopaedic Alliance (WOA) (October 2012–present); member of the National Health and Medical Research Senior Research grant review panel and the Australian Research Council Expert College and German Research Foundation.

  Scientia Professor Justin Gooding is currently an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, the co-director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine and the co-director of the New South Wales Smart Sensing Network. He became a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2016 and the International Society of Electrochemistry. He is also editor-in-chief of the journal ACS Sensors. He graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) from Melbourne University before obtaining a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford and received post-doctoral training at the Institute of Biotechnology in Cambridge University.  He returned to Australia in 1997 as a Vice-Chancellor’s Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).  He was promoted to full professor in 2006.  He was one of the recipients of a 2004 NSW Young Tall Poppy award, a 2005 Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, the 2007 RACI Lloyd Smythe Medal for Analytical Chemistry, the 2009 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, a 2010 ARC Australian Professorial Fellow, the RACI 2011 H.G. Smith Medal for contributions to chemistry, the 2012 RACI R.H. Stokes Medal for electrochemical research, the 2012 Royal Society of Chemistry Australasian Lecturer, the 2013 NSW Science and Engineering Award for Emerging Research, the 2016 Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry Electrochemistry Division, the 2016 Biosensors and Bioelectronics Award and the 2016 Walter Burfitt Prize for Science and Archibald Liversidge Medal for Chemistry both of the Royal Society of New South Wales, the 2017 Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers and the 2017 Katsumi Niki Prize in Bioelectrochemistry from the International Society of Electrochemistry. He leads a research team of over 40 researchers interested in surface modification and nanotechnology for biosensors, biomaterials, electron transfer and medical applicatio
  Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon specialising in the field of  burn care, trauma and scar reconstruction. As Director of the WA Burns Service of Western Australia she is consultant  at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and Fiona Stanley Hospital. As director of burns research she leads an interdisciplinary team with broad collaboration focused on translation to improve clinical outcomes. She has been the recipient of the 2003 Australian Medical Association‘Contribution to Medicine’ Award and an Order of Australia Medal for work with Bali bombing victims. As a National Living Treasure and Australian Citizen of the Year in 2004. she received the honour of being named Australian of the Year in 2005. Fiona and Marie Stoner, co-founders of Clinical Cell Culture,  now Avitamedical, won the 2005 Clunies Ross Award for their contributions to Medical Science in Australia
  Professor Rob Parton studied biochemistry in the UK before moving to the EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany. He received Royal Society and EMBO postdoctoral fellowships before becoming a junior group leader in 1990 studying endocytosis. In 1996, he moved to the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He is currently a group leader in the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Deputy Director of the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis. His research centres on the microdomains of the plasma membrane, with a particular focus on caveolae and caveolins. He is using a number of experimental systems (including cultured cells, zebrafish, and mice) to understand how caveolae form, to dissect the structure of caveolae and caveolins, and to investigate the role of caveolae in health and in disease. He is currently a Chief Editor of Traffic and Associate Editor for Molecular Biology of the Cell and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.


Keynote Speakers

Professor Wenlong Cheng is a full professor and director of research in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University, Australia. He is also the Ambassador Technology Fellow in Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication. He earned his PhD from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2005 and his BS from Jilin University, China in 1999. He held positions in the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics and the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering of Cornell University before joining the Monash University in 2010. His research interest lies at the Nano-Bio Interface, particularly addressing plasmonic nanomaterials, DNA nanotechnology, nanoparticle anticancer theranostics and electronic skins. He has published ~100 papers including 3 in Nature Nanotech, 1 in Nature Mater and 1 in Nature Comm.

Professor Cuie Wen joined RMIT University as Professor of Biomaterials Engineering in 2014 and she has been appointed Distinguished Professor and has also been appointed ARC College of Experts in 2015. She was Professor of Surface Engineering at Swinburne University of Technology from 2010 to 2014. She joined Deakin University as a Research Fellow in 2003, and was promoted to Senior Research Fellow in 2007 and to Associate Professor in 2010. Cuie’s Nano-Bio-Materials team at RMIT focuses on exciting research projects funded by ARC, NHMRC, AISRF and industrial agencies. Cuie has published more than 270 peer reviewed journal articles. She has supervised 10 postdoctoral research projects and 26 postgraduate students to completion. She is an editorial board member for the journals of Acta Biomaterialia, and Bioactive Materials. Her research interests include new biocompatible titanium, magnesium, zinc, iron and their alloys and scaffolds for biomedical applications, surface modification, nanostructured metals, alloys and composites, metal foams and nanolaminates.

Associate Profesoor Kristofer Thurecht graduated from the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2005 with a PhD in polymer chemistry. In 2007, Assoc. Prof. Thurecht was simultaneously awarded a Ramsay Centenary Fellowship and 1851 Research Fellowship in the UK, and has since held both an ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008) and an ARC Future Fellowship (2012). In 2015 Assoc. Prof. Thurecht was awarded the RACI David Sangster Polymer Science and Technology Award from the Polymer Division. Assoc. Prof. Thurecht is currently a group leader within the Centre for Advanced Imaging (CAI) and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at the University of Queensland where he currently holds an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (CDF2). His research focusses on the development of polymer and nanoparticle-based devices for nanomedicine. His team works across the boundaries of chemistry and materials, biology and imaging science to probe how nanomaterial properties affect their function in living animals. He is a CI in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology, and CI/theme leader in the ARC Training Centre for Innovation in Biomedical Imaging and Technology.

Livia Hool completed her PhD at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney in 1995. She then undertook 2 years postdoctoral research as recipient of an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. In 1998 she was awarded a Peter Doherty Fellowship from NHMRC and relocated to The University of Western Australia where she established the Cardiovascular Electrophysiology Laboratory.  Following this she was also awarded  an ARC Future Fellowship. She is currently a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, President International Society for Heart Research (Australasian Section) and  Faculty-at-Large Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Sydney. Her research interests include the study of the regulation of cardiac ion channels by hypoxia and oxidative stress, in particular the L-type Ca2+ channel including redox modification of the channel protein.

Boris Martinac is an experimental biophysicist, who majored in physics from the RWTH Aachen University (Rheinish–Wesphälische Technische Hochschule Aachen) in Germany where he received his PhD degree in biophysics as well. After three years of postdoctoral study of electrophysiology of ciliates at the Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany he moved to Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, United States where he studied microbial ion channels by the patch clamp. In 1993 he became Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor in 1999 and full Professor in 2004. From 2005 to 2009 he was Foundation Professor of Biophysics at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. As an Australian Professorial Fellow of the Australian Research Council, in 2009 he moved to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI) in Sydney, Australia to dedicate all his time to research as Head of Mechanosensory Biophysics Laboratory.

Dr Megan O’Mara is a computational biophysicist whose research focuses on the dynamics of biological molecules. In particular, she is interested in the dynamic properties regulating the interaction of proteins with phospholipid membranes, and the spontaneous self-assembly of biomolecular and bio-inspired systems. Her most significant contributions to the field focus on understanding membrane transport protein function and structural dynamics using molecular dynamics simulations. Dr O’Mara is currently the Rita Cornforth Fellow and senior lecturer at Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University, where she has been since 2015. She was awarded of her PhD (Physical Sciences) in 2005 from the Australian National University and has held fellowships from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The University of Queensland, and an ARC DECRA. 

Dr. Michael Whittaker is a Senior Researcher at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) and Research Leader within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science & Technology (CBNS). Previously he was senior researcher within the Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD) and Australian Centre of Nanomedicine (ACN). His current work examines the translation of biological-like control of macromolecular synthesis to wholly synthetic polymer systems, therapeutic bioconjugates and the use of stimuli-responsive “smart” soft matter for nanomedicines . Applications include novel antibacterial materials, soft matter nanoparticles that communicate with cells to give improved therapeutic outcomes, nanomaterials for improved theranostics and “smart” nanomaterials which enable sub-cellular targeting.

Professor Amanda Ellis graduated with a Ph.D (Applied Chemistry) from the University of Technology, Sydney in 2003. She has undertaken two Postdocs in the USA and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in New Zealand at Industrial Research Ltd (now Callaghan Innovations). In 2006 Amanda commenced at Flinders University of South Australia as a teaching/research lecturer in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, and in 2014 became a Full Professor. She commenced at the University Melbourne in the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering in 2017. Her research involves novel polymer coatings, functionalised carbon nanotubes and graphene, membrane technologies, microfluidics, genotyping and DNA nanotechnology. She has over 140 publications with over 3,300 citations and has secured over $20 M in funding. Currently, she is an Australian Research Council’s professorial Future Fellow (2014-2018), a Board Member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and the President of the Membrane Society of Australasia.

Professor Paul Dalton is currently a Professor at the University of Würzburg, Germany with over 20 years’ of interdisciplinary experience in biomedical materials, including polymer processing, surgery, nanotechnology and hydrogels. Originally from Perth, Australia, and trained as a materials scientist, he was part of a successful team in the 1990s taking an artificial cornea from concept to the clinic at the Lions Eye Institute. Paul post-docced with Molly Shoichet at the University of Toronto, Canada, on neural tissue engineering topics and then with Martin Möller at RWTH Aachen, Germany, applying nanotechnology to life science applications. As a researcher at the University of Southampton, he performed experimental spinal cord surgery on rodents, while initiating melt electrowriting (MEW) research as a “hobby” on the side. The impressive capability of this direct writing approach led him to split his time between the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China until 2014 when he joined the University of Würzburg as the first professor in biofabrication in Germany. MEW is now recognized as a distinct class of additive manufacturing for the manufacture of biomedical materials. Paul has published over 80 research articles in journals including Advanced Materials, Progress in Polymer Science and Nature Materials.

Professor Xungai Wang is Director of the ARC Research Hub for Future Fibres, Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), Deakin University. He has served as the Director of IFM (Dec 2014 – Nov 2017), moving on to serve as the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Future Fibres) at Deakin from December 2017. Professor Wang holds a PhD in Fibre Science and Technology and a Graduate Diploma in Higher Education from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). In 2005 Professor Wang was awarded the US based Fiber Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award. In 2006, he was named Alfred Deakin Professor, the highest Honour that Deakin can bestow on a member of staff. Between 2008 and 2010, he served on the ARC College of Experts. In 2015, he served as the President of the Fiber Society. Professor Wang’s research is primarily in fibre science and technology, including biomedical related applications of fibrous materials. He has published over 350 research articles. He is a member of the editorial advisory board of several key journals in the field of fibres and textiles.


Deirdre Coombe PhD, BSc Hons (University of Adelaide) is a Professor of Biomedical Sciences, at Curtin University, Western Australia. She has an international reputation for her work with carbohydrates in the extracellular matrix and in particular with carbohydrate-protein interactions and the therapeutic applications of carbohydrate-based drugs. She also has a keen interest in the extracellular matrix and its contribution to cell and tissue differentiation as well as to cancer cell migration and invasion. She obtained her PhD and undergraduate degree from the University of Adelaide. She has worked at the Australian National University; Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London; National Institute for Medical Research, London; Glycobiology Institute and Sir William Dunn School of Pathology both of Oxford University. Upon returning Australia she established her own research lab at the Institute for Child Health Research (now Telethon Kids Institute) in Perth, Western Australia before joining Curtin University in 2000. She has had continuous research funding for 27 years and has raised in excess of AU$8.5 million in research grants and contracts. She has published over 55 research articles and numerous conference abstracts, 4 book chapters and has edited an eBook. She is an inventor on 7 patent families, 5 of these patent families are either in the national phase or granted. In 2006 she co-founded Glycan Biosciences Pty Ltd to commercialise one of her research projects. This company, now Glycan Biosciences LLC, has its headquarters in Philadelphia USA. Her experience straddles academia and business and she has a keen interest in the translation of academic, biomedical research into the clinic.


Professor Ming-Hao Zheng graduated as Bachelor of Medicine at Shantou University in 1983, Master of Medicine at Sun Yet Sen University of Medical Science in 1987, PhD in 1993, Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 2000 at the University of Western Australia. He undertook histopathology training in China and Australia and has admitted as fellow at the Royal College of Pathologists, UK and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Professor Zheng is currently the Associate Dean (International affairs), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Professor and Director of Centre for Translational Orthopaedic Research at the University of Western Australia. He is the founder and Consultant Chief Scientific Officer of Orthocell Ltd (ASX:OCC) in Australia; Executive of the Scientific Committee of Pluslife, Perth; and Chung Kong Lecturing Professor at Zhejiang University, China and visiting Professor at numbers of universities in China. He is currently member of Faculty 1000 Prime and Associate Editor of Stem Cell Research and Therapy. He has published over 180 papers and holds 7 patents and has been awarded for Vice Chancellor Senior Research award and Western Australia Innovation award in 2016.