The symposium took place in March 2022 and was the highlight of the multi-disciplinary research work and the collaborations between labs across UNSW campus that support materials research for biomedical application.

B&H is one of the research themes in the school of MSE, along with 4 other themes that explore materials for wide range of applications in transportation, communication, energy and environment. Led by Professor Kris Kilian, the Biomedical & Health theme was established to bring together the diverse biomedical and health-based research conducted in the school; in order to establish a centralised structure that would provide regular interactions among members, disseminate opportunities to the theme through emails, and connect materials science students and staff to biomedical colleagues across all faculties.

Unlike the conventional materials research, the B&H theme represents the natural progression of knowledge where design and discovery of new materials serve as the tools to study the life sciences including medicine, biology, chemistry, tissue engineering.

The first symposium was a platform for the school B&H community to learn about the key research from the group leaders. The groups that are part of the Biomedical & Health theme are as follows:

  • Laboratory for Advanced Biomaterials & Matrix Engineering (LAB&ME) – led by A/Prof. Kris Kilian
  • Polymer Research in Therapeutics (PRinT) group – led by Dr. Damia Mawad
  • Novel Engineered Materials for Conventional and Advanced Technologies (NEMCAT) group – led by Prof. Charles Sorrell
  • Laboratory for Advanced Porous Nano-Biomaterials – led by Dr. Tushar Kumeria
  • Electron Imaging for Advanced materials (EIAM) group – led by A/Prof. Shery Chang
  • Computational Granular materials (CGM) group - led by A/Prof. Runyu yang

As early 2022 marked the return to normal with lively campus activities and relaxed restrictions due to pandemic, the theme leaders initiated the mini symposium as an optimal step to disseminate research across the research groups. With suggestion from Dr. Kumeria, the theme leaders selected a group of trainees to form the B&H Symposium Committee. The following theme members took on this responsibility in planning and coordinating the event: Ganesh Kokil (Kumeria lab), Vina Putra (Kilian lab), Stephanie Nemec (Kilian lab), Kochurani Johnson (Sorrell lab), and Qixuan Zhu (Yang lab). From developing the program to running the event on the day, the B&H Symposium Committee did an outstanding job, and they took pride from having the experience at first hand.

The inaugural B&H Mini Symposium was held from 10am-4pm on Wednesday 23 March 2022 and was a spectacular success. The event was opened by Head of School, Prof. Michael Ferry, followed by seminars from each B&H research group leader. After a catered lunch the seminars continued, and there was a student run poster session at the end of the day for networking amongst students and staff.  The organising committee sponsored a “Best poster award” and “Favourite poster award”–the winners were: Kochurani Johnson (Judges’ vote for best poster) and Ashley Nguyen (Attendees’ vote for their favourite poster).

Other theme related activities include a regular newsletter to notify theme members of workshops, seminars and related activities. Planning is underway for the next mini symposium which is being planned for early 2023. 

Vina Putra
Vina Putra