The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), led by ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor Gordon Wallace—and the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) have forged a powerful partnership that is catapulting fundamental research into practical and useful structures and devices.

ACES, administered by the University of Wollongong, undertakes fundamental research to understand material cellular interactions and discover how these interactions can influence biological processes. ANFF—established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy—links eight university-based nodes to provide researchers and industry with access to state-of-the-art fabrication facilities.

Their partnership is bringing together scientists, engineers and clinicians to undertake interdisciplinary research that is enabling existing industries to explore new opportunities and is creating new manufacturing industries. Recent research outcomes include:

  • Cartilage Regeneration: printing of cartilage regeneration biomaterials that can be implanted into patients suffering from conditions like arthritis
  • Islet Cell Transplantation: the development of an ink containing biomaterials that protect islet cells during the 3D printing process to help treat type 1 diabetes
  • AquaHydrex: new materials that facilitate the breakdown of water into important fuels—hydrogen and oxygen.

By coupling world-class research expertise with quality facilities and equipment, the ACES-ANFF partnership has positioned itself as an outstanding commercial researcher partner. For example, Aquahydrex Pty Ltd, a start-up company based on fundamental research from ACES, extensively utilised the fabrication capabilities of ANFF.

The ACES team expects other new commercial opportunities in 3D bioprinting to emerge in the near future.

Professor Gordon Wallace, an Australian Laureate Fellow and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at the University of Wollongong, received the CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science.

Image: Bio Pen, used for cartilage regeneration.
Image courtesy: ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science.