Ten Sought-After Industry Fellowships Awarded to Boost Medical Research Commercialisation

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14 January 2022

MTPConnect is pleased to announce that ten high-skilled Australian researchers, clinicians and  professionals from the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector have been selected as the next fellows under the REDI Fellowship Program.

The new fellows, from South Australia, NSW, Victoria and Queensland, will be working with major companies from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.

The REDI (Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry) Fellowship program provides financial support to Australian, international and/or multinational medical technology and pharmaceutical companies to bring the best Australian talent in-house to work on priority research projects. It is helping Australian researchers, clinicians and MTP professionals gain real world experience and skills by being deployed into industry settings.

MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO, Dr Dan Grant, says this is the largest group of industry-led fellowships to be announced since the REDI program began, taking the total to 14 fellows.

“Our congratulations to these ten talented fellows - and to the companies who are sponsoring them,” Dr Grant said.

"It’s great to see so many major international companies in the sector getting behind this initiative and involving Australia’s talent base to spearhead global collaboration.”

Congratulations to:

Associate Professor Payal Mukherjee is Chair of RACS NSW and the Innovation Lead at the RPA Institute of Academic Surgery, Sydney and will undertake a 12-month project with Cochlear Ltd, a global leader in implantable hearing solutions based in Sydney. While acquiring industry skills in commercialisation and global deployment of Australian medical innovations, A/Prof Mukherjee will concurrently conduct a project evaluating the use of robot-assisted electrode insertion in minimising insertion trauma in Cochlear implant surgery.

Dr Long Nguyen is a Postdoctoral Research Associate from Renal Research Group at Kolling Institute, the University of Sydney who will undertake a 12-month project with Pharmaxis Ltd, a Sydney-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specialising in drug development for inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, where he will spend his time developing industry-related skills in drug development and translational research. Dr Nguyen will focus on testing and optimising kidney-specific activity of multiple drug candidates and preparing scientific reports for business and regulatory discussions.

Associate Professor Tony Velkov, a Laboratory Head of anti-infectives pharmacology from University of Melbourne, will undertake a 12-month project with Qpex Biopharma, Inc., a US company focused on the development of new antibiotics targeting bacterial resistance. While at Qpex, A/Prof Velkov will develop skills in clinical trials and drug approval processes, conducting Phase I and 2 clinical trials, IND-filing and GLP studies towards developing pneumonia novel antibiotics to combat increasing antibiotic resistance.

Dr Ali Dehghan-Manshadi is a Research Fellow from the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, University of Queensland and will undertake a 12-month project with US-based Stryker, one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, to strengthen understanding of the processes involved in advanced manufacturing of patient implants. Dr Dehghan-Manshadi will focus on manipulating the properties of metal powders that could ultimately deliver a “use as built” biomedical implant.

Dr Marie-Luise Wille is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow from Queensland University of Technology and Deputy Director of the ARC Training Centre for Multiscale 3D Imaging, Modelling and Manufacturing, working on patient-specific implant designs. Dr Wille will undertake a 12-month project with Stryker working to increase  commercial knowledge and skills while developing a new, standardised patient-centred workflow for the journey from imaging to implant that will significantly reduce time to treatment.

Professor Mark Taylor is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering from the Medical Device Research Institute College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, who will undertake a 14-month project with Synopsys Northern Europe, part of US-based Synopsys Inc., a world leader in electronic design software. Professor Taylor will work with the Synopsys Simpleware team to increase skills in orthopaedic product development and software commercialisation, primarily through an in silico clinical trials platform for improving patient safety and time-to-market efficiency.

Dr Gillian Clark is a Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at Deakin University who will undertake a 24-month part-time Fellowship with Melbourne-based TALi Health Pty Ltd, a world-first digital platform to assess and improve attention difficulties, working to develop skills in translational research on software as a medical device. Dr Clark will work in a multi-disciplinary team with involvement from clinicians to provide clinical evidence for performance-based tools in the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Associate Professor Jyotsna Batra is a Laboratory Head from Center for Genomics and Personalised Medicine, Translation Research Institute, Queensland University of Technology who will undertake an 18-month project (part-time) with TissueGnostics GmbH, an Austria-based solution provider for precision medicine/next-generation digital histo-pathology. A/Prof Batra will spend time in Vienna to increase experience commercialising biomakers in the medtech sector. A/Prof Batra will focus on developing a novel in situ tool for prostate cancer precision diagnostics in an ISO 13485 and in vitro Diagnostics industrial environment.

Dr Xumei Gao is a Postdoctoral Researcher from the ARC Training Centre for Personalised Therapeutics Technologies, University of Melbourne, who will undertake a 12-month project with Trajan Scientific & Medical. Dr Gao will be enhancing skills in product development and validation with Trajan, a Melbourne-based global leader in analytical technology commercialisation. Dr Gao will focus on evaluating the application and utility of pump technology in commercial settings to emulate tissue physiology in cell culture to improve prediction of drug efficacy.

Dr Matthew Bourne is a Senior Lecturer from the School of Health Sciences and Social Work and the Menzies Health Institute Queensland at Griffith University. Dr Bourne will undertake a 15-month project with Brisbane-based VALD, who deliver human-measurement technology, refining a final product and demonstrating its real-world application via engagement with end-users. Dr Bourne will focus on assessing how individuals move (i.e., movement biomechanics) which is critical for the prevention, management and rehabilitation of a range of musculoskeletal injuries.

The REDI Fellowship Program provides up to $250,000 per fellow, per annum. It offers the flexibility of full and part-time fellowships over a six-month to two-year period, and can support domestic and international fellowships.

Dr Grant says the fellowships provide a valuable opportunity to forge stronger ties between industry and academia.

“Supporting researchers, clinicians and sector professionals to connect with industry is critical for the growth and success of Australia’s MTP sector and our future skilled workforce,” he said.

“After their time with the company, the researcher or clinician must return to their home institution for a period at least equal to the term of their placement.

In this way, we’re ensuring they share their industry-ready experiences in the research sector. It also avoids the issue of ‘brain drain’ of researcher talent into companies.”

MTPConnect deploys the $32 million REDI initiative, supported by the Medical Research Future Fund. The four-year program is delivering system-wide improvements to skills development and training programs for the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector workforce.