Archive for the ‘Emerging Investigators’ Category

Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Michael Monaghan

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Michael Monaghan is Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing and Biomedical Engineering, Trinity College Dublin. Prior to this appointment he was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany, following a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology in Stuttgart Germany. His group at Trinity College Dublin focus on the reprogramming of stem cells in vitro using smart biomaterials, bioreactors and cardiomyogenenic extracellular matrices. His lab is also focused on the use of non-invasive microscopy to evaluate extracellular matrix and cell metabolic dynamics (metabolimaging). He can be found on Twitter @drmgmonaghan.

 

Read Michael’s Emerging Investigator article “Structural crystallisation of crosslinked 3D PEDOT:PSS anisotropic porous biomaterials to generate highly conductive platforms for tissue engineering applications” 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 always enjoy reading the work in this journal which is always timely and rigorously reviewed to ensure high standard pieces of work. I have often reviewed for the journal and found that the initial submissions sent on are of high quality. For me, the greatest strength of the journal is its editorial board and peer review policies.

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

The work I am most excited the higher-risk projects in the group that keep us questioning.  I have a great team of researchers and it is their innovation, curiosity and unexpected results that gets me most excited. I feel that we are always close to the pulse of the developments of our field, more now than ever due to social media (twitter etc.) and online events. The most challenging aspect is maintaining momentum through funding support and maintaining continuity in skills within the group.

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

I believe we need clever (not complicated!) solutions to advance healthcare and understand disease better. We need to learn from nature, but I also think we need to increase our awareness of nature and look to be more environmentally sustainable (and realistic) in our approaches.

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

This will sound cliché but do keep trying and always keep your options open (don’t close any doors). There are plenty of people that want you to succeed so do listen to their advice. And choose your battles.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Ciro Chiappini

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Dr Chiappini investigates the biointerface blending nanotechnology, bioengineering and cell biology to develop functional materials that direct cell behaviour. His research in this field focuses on regenerative medicine and molecular diagnostics. He has conceived porous silicon nanoneedles which he is developing into a platform capable intracellular interfacing for sensing and delivery. Dr. Chiappini is Senior Lecturer in Nanomaterials and Biointerfaces in the Deparment of Craniofacial Development and Stem Cell Biology. Following a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011, he joined Imperial College London as a Newton International Fellow and Marie Curie Fellow. He can be found on Twitter @altoCC.

 

Read Ciro’s Emerging Investigator article “Biomaterials-based approaches to model embryogenesis” 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 think it’s a great multidisciplinary journal. It has a broad scope, a strong profile thanks to a reputable publisher and association with a leading learned society and has a very accessible and friendly publication process. For my research, these qualities make Biomaterials Science most suitable to publishing high quality research that does not fit within the narrower scope of a nanotechnology or material science journal.

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 very excited by the ability to control cell behaviour at single-cell level, through a combination of high-precision delivery and sensing. I can see how this can be used to build accurate models of tissues and organs. Our research is always quite challenging because we try something not attempted before, and that’s the interesting part about it. The less interesting challenges are the increase in administration and bureaucratic burdens that take the focus away from research.

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

In exploring nanoneedles for delivery and sensing there are so many open, exciting questions that we are spoilt for choice. There are fundamental questions on how exactly these interfaces negotiate the cell membrane to grant intracellular access, and these are among the most interesting as they are quite unique to nanoneedles. There are more biological questions on the details of the biophysical interaction, and its implication for cell fate. And there are technological questions on how to design, manufacture and bring to market this exciting new technology.

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

Do something that you like for as long as you like, and when you stop liking it, move on to something else. There are so many opportunities to be grabbed that it is not worth spending time being miserable.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Eliza Fong

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Dr. Eliza Fong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the National University of Singapore with joint appointment at the N.1 Institute for Health. Through her Translational Tumor Engineering (TTE) program, Dr. Fong hopes to change the way cancer patients are currently treated. Most cancer patients do not receive individualized drug treatment regimes. Rather, they receive ‘standard-of-care’ regimens where they are treated with drugs that are known to ‘work’ for a general cohort of patients with the same cancer type. Using biomaterials engineering strategies, Dr. Fong develops platforms to grow patient tumor tissues (organoids and explants) outside the body, so that these engineered tumor tissues can be used to better test drugs and identify the best drug regimen for individual patients. Dr. Fong also looks at recapitulating stromal heterogeneity in these engineered models to enable the discovery of potential new targets in the tumor microenvironment. They can be found on Twitter @elizafongls.

 

Read Eliza’s Emerging Investigator article “Hydrogels to engineer tumor microenvironments in vitro” and check out all of the 2021 Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator articles here.

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Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigator – Clare Hoskins

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Dr Clare Hoskins is a Reader in the School of Pure and Applied Chemistry. She has published >50 peer reviewed articles and filed 1 patent. Her research has been supported with over £3M by national (e.g. EPSRC, BBSRC/FAPESP, Wellcome Trust) and international (e.g. Newton-Bhabha & British Council, Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research) research funding. Clare is the Elected Secretary to the Royal Society of Chemistry, Chemical Nanosciences and Nanotechnology Network, she is a committee member of the UK and Ireland Controlled Release Society and she sits on the British Council Grant Review Panel for Newton Grants. In 2019 Clare was awarded the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences ‘Emerging Scientist’ sponsored by Pfizer and also the North Staffordshire Medical Institute Researcher Award. Clare sits on the editorial board of numerous journals in her field, she leads a vibrant interdisciplinary research group within the theme of Bionanotechnology and Analytical Chemistry in the Technology Innovation Centre. The focus of her research is the development of a range of multifunctional nanoparticles and their translation into medical therapies and agricultural products. She can be found on Twitter @HoskinsLab.

 

Read Clare’s Emerging Investigator article “The regulation of nanomaterials and nanomedicines for clinical application: current and future perspectives” 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 am very pleased with the journal, time for response and standards and will be pleased to publish again here in the future. I think that it’s nice for the RSC to have an interdisciplinary journal like this.

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

Our review was really timely – without me knowing it. I have received quite a lot of correspondence due to the pandemic and the nano constituents of some of the vaccines. So I was pleased to see an immediate interest and impact from this. In terms of what is most exciting to me at the minute, it’s really pushing all the fundamental bench work we have as new therapeutics, further down the translational pipeline. Adhering to the regulations mentioned in my review article and finding new methods for safety evaluation of our technologies which are bespoke to nanomedicine and more suitable to application.

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

How can we effectively develop an approval pathway for nanomedicines which allow for expedited clinical use, allowing more rapid patient benefit, without compromising patient safety.

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

Don’t be put off by negative reviews for papers or funding. Remember these are only one person’s opinions. If you think your concepts or proposals are worthwhile, find a way to make them happen, use your networks to help.

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