Archive for the ‘Emerging Investigators’ Category

Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator- Nghia Truong Phuoc

 

Dr Truong is an ARC DECRA Fellow and a group leader at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Australia. Dr Truong received his PhD in 2013 from the University of Queensland, Australia. After that, he took up a postdoctoral position working with Prof Thomas Davis at Monash University. Dr Truong’s work uniquely spans across multiple research fields (polymer chemistry, nanotechnology, materials, biology, immunology, medical imaging and pharmaceutical sciences), allowing him to solve complex challenges in both fundamental synthesis and biomedical applications. Currently, his group focuses on making advanced polymers and nanomaterials for delivering drugs and vaccines to the right targeted tissues/cells and exploiting these newly developed platforms to address global health challenges including pandemics, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and antibiotics resistance. He can be found on Twitter @Nghia_P_Truong.

Visit the group website to find out more about Nghia Truong’s research: https://www.monash.edu/pharm/research/themes/drug-delivery-disposition-and-dynamics/research-groups/truong-group

 

Check out Nghia Truong’s Emerging Investigator article, ‘In vivo delivery of plasmid DNA by lipid nanoparticles: the influence of ionizable cationic lipids on organ-selective gene expression’ and read all of the 2022 Emerging Investigators articles in the collection here.

 

Read our interview below with Nghia Truong:

 

1. How do you feel about Biomaterials Science as a place to publish research on this topic?

Biomaterials Science is among the best journals to publish my research on this topic. The journal has not only an excellent reputation and a high impact factor but also a broad readership, ensuring the visibility of my research.

2. What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

I am really excited to work on lipid nanoparticles because they really save lives. Without lipid nanoparticles, we could not develop mRNA vaccines for combating COVID-19. The challenge lies in how to improve the lipid nanoparticles even further as the current vaccines are not perfect and there is still a long list of other diseases we can cure using lipid nanoparticles and gene technology.

3. In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

I think the most important question in my field is how to improve the delivery efficiency of lipid nanoparticles while reducing unwanted side effects as the answer will certainly help us make better vaccines and more effective drugs. This is also the question my group is trying to answer by leveraging our strength in multiple research fields (polymer chemistry, nanotechnology, materials, biology, immunology, medical imaging and pharmaceutical sciences).

4. Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

If possible early career scientists should carefully choose and focus on research topics we love and we are good at. With love and talent, we can solve real-life problems while also enjoying our challenging academic careers.

 

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Introducing the Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigators Series

For many years Biomaterials Science has showcased special collections dedicated to work carried out by researchers in the earlier stages of their research careers in our Emerging Investigator collections, most recently in our 2021 Emerging Investigators collection.

We hope that the biomaterials community has found these issues to be valuable, both in the high quality of the articles and in drawing attention to newer voices in the community. The journal editors and Editorial Board consider these to have been highly successful.

In light of disruption to research programmes worldwide, we have taken the opportunity to reassess the format of this initiative, and we are now excited to announce the launch of the Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigators Series.

 

What is changing?

In place of a dedicated journal issue, Emerging Investigators papers will be published throughout the year. We anticipate the following benefits to this change:

  • No fixed submission deadlines allowing more flexibility for authors
  • Continual exposure of exciting work from early-career members of the community
  • Greater emphasis and focus on individual authors and research groups

We hope for this to offer a better service to our authors and readers well into the future.

 

What is not changing?

While we will no longer dedicate a specific journal issue to our Emerging Investigators, all other aspects of this initiative will remain the same. This includes:

  • Eligibility criteria (see below)
  • A dedicated web page for published articles alongside our other collections
  • Rigour and speed in peer review
  • An overall objective to showcase the full diversity of cutting-edge research carried out from biomaterials scientists in the early stages of their independent careers worldwide

 

What happens now?

The Biomaterials Science Editorial Office will contact nominated Emerging Investigators throughout the year.

Regarding eligibility, contributors must:

  • Publish research within the journal scope
  • Currently be an independent research leader
  • Have not been featured as an Emerging Investigator in a previous Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigators article
  • Have either no more than 12 years of post-PhD research experience in the year of submission when taking into account any career breaks

 

Do you fit the criteria above, and wish to be featured as an Emerging Investigator in the journal? Get in touch with us at biomaterialsscience-rsc@rsc.org

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Arghya Paul

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Arghya Paul is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair Tier II in Advanced Cell-Instructive Materials and Biotherapeutics at the University of Western Ontario. Professor Paul received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from McGill University in 2012 and postdoctoral training at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, prior to starting his independent research career in 2014. His research program has been recognized by several awards including Province of Ontario’s Early Research Award (ERA), Wolfe-Western Fellowship, Canada Research Chair, Young Innovator Award from Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (BMES), Fred Kurata Memorial Professorship. Paul’s Biointel Laboratory at Western focuses on design and development new bioactive materials originating from patient’s own cells, genes, proteins and tissues for diverse biomedical applications, including materials-driven tissue repair and regeneration. He can be found on Twitter @arghya_biointel.

 

Read Arghya’s Emerging Investigator article “Exploiting the role of nanoparticles for use in hydrogel-based bioprinting applications: concept, design, and recent advances” and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

 

How do you feel about Biomaterials Science as a place to publish research on this topic?

Excellent place to publish high quality papers in the area on biomaterials research that offers high visibility.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Be bold to take strategic risks. Such risks, new opportunities and experiences will help you grow in new directions that your current roles do not offer.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Tianyue Jiang

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Tianyue Jiang obtained her Ph.D. degree in Pharmaceutics under the guidance of Prof. Jianping Zhou in the College of Pharmacy at China Pharmaceutical University. From 2012-2014, she was a visiting scholar in Prof. Zhen Gu’s research group in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. She is currently an associate Professor in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Nanjing Tech University. Her group studies controlled drug delivery, bio-inspired materials and nanobiotechnology.

 

Read Tianyue’s Emerging Investigator article “Topical delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs using nano-hybrid hydrogels to inhibit post-surgical tumour recurrence” and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

 

How do you feel about Biomaterials Science as a place to publish research on this topic?

The journal is based on the design, function, interaction with the body and related scientific principles of biomaterials, covering the fields of chemistry, biology, pharmacy and materials science, and aims to explore new concepts, designs, functions and applications of biomaterials. I am honored to share my research works.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

My work focuses on the investigation and development of drug delivery systems based on peptide-based materials. Through the arrangement and combination of 20 kinds of natural amino acids and the introduction of exogenous functional groups, we can provide hundreds of millions of peptide molecules. The challenge lies in how to customize peptides with specific functions in a vast array of combinations.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

In my opinion, the most important question is how to effectively solve some interdisciplinary problems and technical bottlenecks in my research field of drug delivery.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Maintain enthusiasm and curiosity for scientific research.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Thomas Werfel

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Thomas Werfel is Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Joint Assistant Professor of BioMolecular Sciences, and Affiliate Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at The University of Mississippi (UM). Dr. Werfel received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2017, after which he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. In 2018, he joined the Biomedical Engineering Program at the University of Mississippi and is an inaugural faculty member of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UM – founded in 2019. As a graduate student, Dr. Werfel was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship. His tenure as a postdoctoral researcher was supported by the NIH F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship. His research has been published in cross-disciplinary journals from Biomaterials and Advanced Materials to PNAS and Cancer Research, and he was recently recognized as a Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator in 2021. His research group at UM works at the interface of bioengineering, materials science, and molecular biology to engineer the medicines of the future. He can be found on Twitter @OleMiss_iNBS.

 

Read Thomas’ Emerging Investigator article “Immunostimulatory biomaterials to boost tumor immunogenicity” and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

 

How do you feel about Biomaterials Science as a place to publish research on this topic?

Biomaterials Science is without doubt a premier worldwide journal to publish broad areas of interdisciplinary research that leverages biomaterials.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

We are most excited about our work to leverage newly-discovered and/or recently characterized immunological processes to boost tumor immunogenicity using targeted, biomaterials-based strategies.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

Follow the immunology!! As we continue elucidating the function of the immune system, how can materials be used to modulate these processes toward therapeutic ends?

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Establish balance! You always come back refreshed and reinvigorated when you step away for a while – whether a day, a weekend, or a longer vacation.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Evelyn Yim

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Evelyn Yim began her education at the University of Toronto, where she earned her BASc in Engineering Science and MASc in Chemical Engineering, under the supervision of Professor Michael Sefton. She pursued her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University before conducting her post-doctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and, under Professor Kam Leong, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. Between 2007 and 2015 Evelyn worked in Singapore, where she held a joint appointment from the National University of Singapore, as faculty in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery, and the Mechanobiology Institute Singapore, a Research Center of Excellence supported by the National Research Foundation Singapore, as a principle investigator studying how chemical and biomechanical cues influence stem cell behavior. Evelyn Yim joined the University of Waterloo as an Associate Professor in 2016. Evelyn and her Regenerative Nanomedicine Lab group are interested to apply the knowledge biomaterial-stem cell interaction to direct stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration for neural, vascular and corneal tissue engineering.

 

Read Evelyn’s Emerging Investigator article “Enhanced efficiency of nonviral direct neuronal reprogramming on topographical patterns” and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

 

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

Excited: the field is moving very fast with a lot of new analytical technologies available

Challenging: getting funding.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

I think the mechanism of cell-materials interaction, including immune response and mechanobiology, is very important.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Try your best! But remember to keep a good work-life balance.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Sidi Bencherif

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Sidi A. Bencherif received two Master’s degrees in Physical Sciences (2000) and then in Materials Science and Engineering (2002) from the University of Montpellier in France. In 2002, he worked for 3 years as a guest researcher at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In 2009, he received a Master’s degree in Polymer Science and a PhD degree in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University. In 2009, he joined as a postdoctoral fellow the laboratory of David Mooney at Harvard University and has been appointed as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University since 2016. He can be found on Twitter @bencheriflab.

 

Read Sidi’s Emerging Investigator article “Engineering a macroporous fibrin-based sequential interpenetrating polymer network for dermal tissue engineering” which was featured on the front cover, and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

 

How do you feel about Biomaterials Science as a place to publish research on this topic?

I feel that Biomaterials Science is an outstanding journal to read about the latest advances in biomaterials research and to publish our work. Biomaterials Science is among one of the few journals where I find the most interdisciplinary and interesting work on biomaterials, tissue engineering, immunoengineering, and beyond.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

Currently, I am most excited about engineering advanced biomaterials to manipulate the fate of mammalian cells, especially immune cells. A challenge in this work is to control the extent of immunostimulation while achieving a beneficial outcome in a safe but also sustained and consistent fashion.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early-career scientists?

One piece of advice I have for other early career scientists is to not be afraid of failure. Many things you try won’t work, but that’s ok. We learn more from failure than from getting something right on the first try. Don’t be discouraged but rather learn from those mistakes, keep working as hard as you can, and everything is going to be all right.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Anna Waterhouse

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Dr Anna Waterhouse leads the Cardiovascular Medical Devices Group in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, Australia. Anna is an affiliated Group Leader at the Heart Research Institute and a member of the Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney Nano. She received her PhD from the University of Sydney and conducted her postdoctoral research at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. In 2016, she received a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council and established her multidisciplinary group, focusing on biological interactions at material interfaces combined with cardiovascular medical device engineering, specializing in material thrombosis and bioinspired approaches to improve and design new medical devices and diagnostics. She can be found on Twitter @DrAnnaW_lab.

 

Read Anna’s Emerging Investigator article “Evaluating medical device and material thrombosis under flow: current and emerging technologies” and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

 

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

One of the most important unanswered questions is how we can fully understand material thrombosis and harness advances in biomaterial development to create medical devices that cause minimal thrombosis, so anti-thrombotic drug use and severe bleeding can be reduced clinically.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Find something you’re passionate about to work on, so when the going gets tough, you’re still doing something you ultimately enjoy.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Hua Wei

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Dr. Hua Wei has been a professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of South China since 2019. He is currently the Director of Hunan Province Cooperative Innovation Center for Molecular Target New Drug Study and the distinguished professor of Furong scholars in Hunan Province. He received B.S. and Ph.D. from Wuhan University. He later joined the University of Sydney as a postdoctoral fellow in 2010, and moved to the University of Washington in 2011 and worked with Prof. Suzie H. Pun for three years. He was a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Lanzhou University from 2014-2018. He is currently serving as an Editorial Advisory Board member for ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, a guest editor of Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology and Molecules, and has been selected as International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM) Fellow. He has thus far published over 100 peer-reviewed papers with a total citation over 4000.

 

Read Hua’s Emerging Investigator article “Synthesis of cyclic graft polymeric prodrugs with heterogeneous grafts of hydrophilic OEG and reducibly conjugated CPT for controlled release” and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

 

How do you feel about Biomaterials Science as a place to publish research on this topic?

It is a great honour to publish a research paper on this topic in the esteemed leading journal, Biomaterials Science, considering the high reputation and quality of the journal in the field of biomaterials science and engineering.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

I am most excited about the excellent property and performance of cyclic topology-based materials for drug delivery applications, which may inspire more upcoming interesting studies. The most challenging I find about my research is the purification of target cyclic graft copolymers and improvement of the yield.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

The most important questions to be answered in the field of cyclic polymer-based biomaterials, in my opinion, lie in the precise synthesis and modulation of various cyclic topology-derived polymer architectures.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Thoughtful consideration is a prerequisite for scientific research.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – João Conde

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João Conde is an Assistant Professor and Group Leader at NOVA Medical School of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, ToxOmics, CEDOC. He received his PhD in Biology, specialty in NanoBiotechnology from the NOVA University and Universidad de Zaragoza in 2014, under the FP7 European Consortium NanoScieE+ – NANOTRUCK for the development of multifunctional gold nanoparticles for gene silencing. After, he was a Marie Curie Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard-MIT Division for Health Sciences and Technology and in School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London. From 2017 to 2019 he was a Junior Investigator at Instituto de Medicina Molecular. In 2019, he won an ERC Starting Grant to build a genetic biobarcode to profile breast cancer heterogeneity. He is also co-founder of the biotech company TargTex, Targeted Therapeutics for Glioblastoma Multiforme. Since 2020, he is also part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Consortium from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington. The main aspects related to the recognition and diffusion of his early contributions are: nearly 80 articles in journals of Cancer Therapy, Oncology, Nanotechnology/Materials Science and Biomedicine (Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, PNAS, Accounts of Chemical Research, Progress in Materials Science, ACS Nano, Advanced Materials, JACS, Angewandte Chemie, Advanced Functional Materials, Trends in Cancer, Trends in Biotech., Biomaterials, etc.), more than 30 articles are as 1st author and more than 30 articles as corresponding author and cited nearly 4900 times (h-index 36). Several of them have been selected as cover page of journals such as Nature Nanotechnology (COVID-19 Special Issue), Adv. Functional Materials, Trends in Cancer, JACS, Angewandte Chemie, ACS Central Science, ACS Sensors, Biomaterials Science, ACS Applied Bio Mat, Adv. Healthcare Materials, Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry and BioTechniques. Moreover, 6 international patents were submitted and approved, all with relevant developments in nanomaterials-based platforms for cancer therapy and diagnosis. He was also awarded with several international awards, including the Nanomaterials 2020 Young Investigator Award, the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator, the Top 2% Most cited in Nanoscience/Nanotechnology from PLOS Biology, the Wellcome Image Awards 2017, the Nano-Micro Letters Researcher Award, and the National Cancer Institute Image award. He can be found on Twitter @CNanoLab.

 

Read João’s Emerging Investigator article “Revisiting gene delivery to the brain: silencing and editing” and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

 

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.” – Richard P. Feynman

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