Size matters, in Medicine
Associate Professor, PI
Departement of Physics and Astronomy
University of Technology Sydney
Please explain your research in simple words
My passion and specific area of expertise include studying the implications nanotech has on medical devices and applications with particular emphasis on its capacity of identifying diseases at an early stage.
In my curation week, I want to share some fun interesting facts about nanotechnology together with serious discussions on the challenges around nanotechnology in medicine. I will share how nanotechnology impacts our lives and medicine/healthcare in particular. Also, I will talk about challenges in the translation of nanotech into clinics and the health industry.
What can the followers expect in your curation week?
How did you end up in your current research field?
Ever since starting my undergrad studies, I have been fascinated about nanotechnology. I like sci-fi movies and every time when I see the idea of “nanobots” - tiny devices that could be injected into a patient’s body and accomplish multiple functions- gets me excited. That idea is still confined to science fiction, but I hope that one day, I’ll be that person that will create the real nanobots.
In my research, nanoscale particles enable an innovative platform for capturing measure, and understanding information on molecular and biological processes. My research goal is to develop novel nanosensors that will enable superior biomedical functionality, including accurate imaging and non-invasive diagnosis of various diseases. I would like to improve the nanotechnology that would be directly translatable for application in diagnostics or therapy.
How and where does your research fall in the domain of materials/nano science?
Which research project are you most proud of and could you explain it in simple words in the section we call #InOtherwords?
I'm running multiple projects at the same time, and I am proud most of the. I would say that the project that I'd brag more is the project that came closest to a commecial product - easy and non-invasive detection of celiac disease. Basically, my team has developed a test that can screen individuals for celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerence, by just simply mixing their saliva and our nanoparticle-based solution in a small tube.
From my research point of view, I wish to see that novel nanoparticle technologies developed in our lab will be translated into real-life applications. As an example, I hope to see our development in nanoparticle-based diagnostics will be transformed into products that would be available over-the-counter from pharmacies in much the same way as a pregnancy test has been for decades. From the academic profession point-of-view, I wish other academics stop judging you based on academics metrics, such as the number of research papers or h-index. It is not number of papers you have published, but what your impact your work had on society. And the third wish, from personal point-of-view, is aa a beauty pageant contestant would say: “World peace and stop climate change!”
If you had 3 wishes to improve your research experience, what would you ask for (not promising anything here!)?
What are you most looking forward to in the next 3 months?
Holidays and sped some time with my family! It has been a very busy year, and I need time out to recharge.
In my opinion, there is a big challenge of nanobiotechnology translation into clinical and health practices as well as the potential hurdles for translational development and commercialisation. The current hurdles limiting the appearance of nanoparticles on the market include an understanding of biological interactions, large-scale manufacturing, biocompatibility and safety, intellectual property (IP) and government regulations.