MTPConnect Announces 16 REDI Fellowships in Sought After Industry Roles

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15 November 2022

MTPConnect is pleased to announce that 16 highly skilled Australian researchers, clinicians and professionals from the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector have secured sought-after industry placements under the REDI (Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry) Fellowship program.

The new fellows selected from the July 2022 round are from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia and will be working for up to 13 months with SMEs and international companies based in Australia, the US, the UK and Europe.

The REDI Fellowship program provides financial support to Australian and/or multinational medtech and pharma companies to bring the best Australian talent in-house to work on priority research projects.

MTPConnect CEO Stuart Dignam says connecting researchers, clinicians and sector professionals with industry is critical for the growth of Australia’s medical products sector.

“Our congratulations to these 16 new fellows who are doing crucial work in our sector for patients – and to the companies at home and abroad who are sponsoring them,” Mr Dignam said.

“We are delighted that so many companies, from CSL, Astra Zeneca, Stryker and Penumbra to GE Healthcare Australia, Seer Medical and SpeeDx, have seized the opportunities provided by our highly regarded REDI Fellowship program.

“The fellowships are industry focused, providing research intensive companies with the opportunity to access academics and clinicians for distinct projects involving discovery, translation and commercialisation and, in doing so, driving greater collaboration between industry and research.

“With these new fellows selected, the REDI Fellowship program has seen total funding of $8.15 million awarded to 47 Fellows, exceeding our expectations – a fantastic and game-changing result for the MTP sector in Australia.

“To add to this, the focus on gender diversity means 54 per cent of the total REDI fellowships have been secured by women”, he said.

Congratulations to the following REDI Fellows:

Dr Laith Alzubaidi is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) who will undertake an eight-month project with Akunah Medical Technology Pty Ltd, a Brisbane-based company that provides personalised solutions for healthcare needs. Using Akunah’s extensive clinical dataset, Dr Alzubaidi will apply his skills in machine learning to develop a tool supporting surgeons in deciding which health intervention is best for a patient. The Fellowship will help him to understand the needs, requirements and processes in industrial R&D.

Associate Professor Melinda Coughlan is a Laboratory Head from Monash University’s Central Clinical School who will undertake a six-month project with AstraZeneca, a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company in Cambridge, UK. She will work with the Renal R&D team developing industry-related skills and increasing commercial knowledge. A/Prof Coughlan will focus on targeting mitochondria therapeutically to suppress the development of or reversal of kidney disease in diabetes and other chronic kidney diseases.

Dr Sam Harley is a Business Development Associate from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute who will undertake a 12-month project with CSL, a global biotechnology company. Dr Harley will join CSL’s global Research External Innovation (REI) team where he will identify, evaluate and support investment decision making of early stage, external research opportunities to build CSL’s pre-clinical R&D pipeline. Working closely with CSL’s European REI team, Dr Harley will learn which translation models are being successfully applied by large tech transfer organisations, universities and VCs, and ultimately bring this knowledge back to Australia.

Associate Professor Matthew Ritchie is a Laboratory Head at WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research) who will undertake a 12-month project within the R&D Data Science team at CSL. The project will involve A/Prof Ritchie evaluating cutting-edge genomic technologies, with a view to fast-tracking their deployment in CSL’s pre-clinical research programs to accelerate target validation, biomarker discovery and drug development.

Dr Sarah Turpin-Nolan is a Senior Research Fellow from Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, who will undertake a 12-month project with CSL. Dr Turpin-Nolan will work with CSL’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Research Therapeutic Area team to grow cross-functional knowledge in the drug development process from early pre-clinical through to late phase trials.

Professor Grant Brinkworth is a Senior Principal Research Scientist from CSIRO who will undertake a 12-month project with DDM Health Ltd, a UK company delivering scalable digital health solutions to provide precision care to healthcare services and partners, with a focus on minimising health care inequalities. Working virtually from Australia, Professor Brinkworth will cultivate knowledge and skills in the development, translation, and commercialisation of evidence-based digital health technology, with a focus on using Artificial Intelligence powered algorithms to identify and inform personalised strategies for disease management using precision health approaches.

Dr Ivan Lee is a Senior Lecturer in software, operating systems, tool chains, smart sensors and data analytics from the University of South Australia. He will undertake a 12-month project with Ellex Medical, an Adelaide-based designer and manufacturer of Ophthalmology devices. Dr Lee will contribute to the development of a novel optical coherence tomography (OCT) guided transscleral selective laser trabeculoplasty (TSLT) device for glaucoma treatment.

Dr Steven Duhig is a Lecturer in sports medicine and exercise from Griffith University who will undertake a 13.5-month project with GE Healthcare Australia Pty Ltd, where he will develop the application of musculoskeletal ultrasound for quick and valid measures to enhance user experience across all skill levels (novice to advanced). The project aims to provide a simple technique with user-friendly technology for a broader range of healthcare practitioners with a basic skillset of ultrasonography imaging, e.g., exercise physiologist and scientist, sports trainers, physiotherapists, soft-tissue therapists, and fitness coaches.

Dr Elham Hosseini-Beheshti is a medical scientist and team leader (Extracellular Vesicles Biology Lab) from the University of Sydney. She will undertake a 12-month project with intellectual property commercialisation company IP Group Australia, to gain a wealth of experience and insight into commercialising academic research. Dr Hosseini-Behesti looks forward to being embedded in a team of investment managers, assessing real opportunities from top research institutions in Australia, and supporting creation and development of spin-out companies.

Associate Professor Gaetano Gargiulo is an Associate Research Professor from Western Sydney University who will undertake a 12-month project with Mobius Medical Pty Ltd, where he will expand his skills in clinical trial design and medical device regulatory affairs. This project is a collaboration between Mobius Medical, Medical Monitoring Solutions and a large global medtech company. Mobius Medical has been engaged to manage a multi-site clinical trial of a new sensor technology for the early detection of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.

Dr Aroosha Safari is a surgeon from South Metropolitan Health Service who will undertake an 11-month project with OncoRes Medical, a Perth-based medical device company, where she will use her clinical and technical expertise to assist the multidisciplinary team in developing a novel diagnostic imaging system used to achieve complete surgical clearance of cancer in breast-conserving surgery. In turn, this fellowship will expand her skills and networks in clinical research, medical technology development and product commercialisation; with the aim of using these assets to champion a culture of research, innovation, industry collaboration and entrepreneurship in medicine and in surgery.

Associate Professor Belinda Lange is Research Lead for Technology from the Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University who will undertake a 12-month project with Penumbra Inc., a California-based global healthcare company focused on innovative therapies, where she will be embedded in the immersive healthcare team to gain hands-on skills and experience in the design and development lifecycle of the REAL System, a comprehensive virtual reality-based healthcare platform.

Dr Cathal O’Connell is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow from RMIT University who will undertake a 12-month project with Seer Medical, a device company pioneering new technologies for diagnosis and management of neurological conditions. Dr O’Connell will improve his skills in product development, regulation and commercialisation, while developing an advanced, conductive material for adhering electrodes to the patient’s head. This project will simplify the process for monitoring the brain’s electrical activity, a crucial step in diagnosis of epilepsy.

Associate Professor Nham Tran is a Program Leader and Research Fellow from the University of Technology Sydney who will undertake a 12-month project with SpeeDx Pty Ltd, which specialises in molecular diagnostic solutions for improved patient management. A/Prof Tran’s research will focus on bringing the InSignia® test for detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, from research developed assay, into the product development lifecycle for future commercialisation. This test has the potential to transform STI patient management and will help in the efforts to minimise the overuse of antibiotics.

Dr Nataliya Perevoshchikova is a Research Fellow from Griffith University who will undertake a six-month project with Stryker, one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, to help improve platform technologies used in surgical planning. Alongside Stryker engineers, Dr Perevoshchikova will develop a realistic simulation for the range of motion in abnormally shaped hips due to Femoroacetabular Impingement syndrome. This information will ultimately enable more accurate planning of surgical procedures and will also provide her with an appreciation of research translation within a highly regulated commercial setting.

Dr Edmund Pickering is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow from Queensland University of Technology who will undertake a 12-month project with Stryker, the global market leader in robotic joint replacement. Mako robotic arm-assisted surgery has transformed total hip, partial knee and total knee arthroplasty. This Fellowship provides Dr Pickering with a unique opportunity to apply and grow his research expertise in robotics developing the next generation of Mako SmartRobotics™ alongside Stryker engineers and orthopaedic surgeons at the Stryker R&D Lab in Brisbane.