Advancing science to develop next-generation biomedical devices that meet the needs of patients and health care professionals is the bold vision of the new Institute for Biomedical Materials and Devices (IBMD) at the University of Technology Sydney.
Institute Director Professor Dayong Jin will spearhead an international effort to transform diagnostic medicine: integrating technologies to develop small, stable, inexpensive devices for disease diagnosis that are as easy-to-use as smartphones are today.
“We’ve created molecular probes and microscopes to watch the inner workings of our immune system and find one cancer cell among millions of healthy cells. We’ve developed new tools to see how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics,” Professor Jin said.
“Now is the time to take the next step, to turn these scientific discoveries into technologies and devices, to channel our research into industry and to create new job opportunities.”
Representing a large network of leading research institutes currently collaborating with IBMD researchers, three UTS distinguished visiting scholars, Nobel Laureate Professor Steven Chu, eminent Swiss chemist Professor Jean-Claude Bunzli and Korean nanobiotechnologist Dr Yung Doug Suh, spoke at the launch and highlighted the collaborative reach and interdisciplinary nature of the institute’s research.
Professor Chu, who served as US energy secretary in the Obama administration, said “the development of photostable, non-blinking probes for biological applications is very exciting”.
Professor Jin said Chu’s contribution “to the study of single molecules and cells” was a big factor in the application of nanotechnology and photonics technologies to solving global health issues, which is the signature of IBMD.
“Steven empowered us to create inexpensive devices for medical diagnosis and through global collaborations we’ve shown we can create new technologies to watch molecules at work,” Professor Jin said.
The new institute includes a team of mid-career research leaders – Professors Igor Aharonovich and Milos Toth and Drs Olga Shimoni and Majid Ebrahimi Warkiani – and is well placed to nurture scientists for better international, interdisciplinary and industry collaborations.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs told guests at the launch that healthcare was a key concern for Australians and the new institute would “play a crucial role in transforming advances in photonics and materials into revolutionary biomedical technologies to help address some of the world’s biggest health issues”.
“Professor Jin has a powerful vision for how physics, engineering, biology and medicine can come together to transform diagnosis and biological testing and I am certain that this new institute will provide both the academic and intellectual platforms required to make this vision a reality.”
The institute launch was the highlight of IBMD Research Week, which included a forum hosted by Professor Jin with 10 of his fellow nominees for the 2017 APEC Science Prize for Innovation Research and Education, and the launch of the Sydney editorial office for the Springer Nature journal, Light: Science and Applications, for which Professor Jin will be the manager.
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