Research Impact


Masterful partnership

Biofabrication research training program goes global

An international partnership providing students with the skills to take a lead role in innovative biofabrication projects is cultivating the next generation of industry leaders.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) headquartered at UOW joined forces with three leading research universities to offer the Masters degree in Biofabrication from 2015.

Graduates emerging from the program have established an international network, a track-record of collaboration with world-leading bionics, fabrication and bio-ethics experts, and an appreciation of all the processes involved in translating fundamental research into a
commercial reality.

Biofabrication – a process of regrowing human tissue using 3D printing techniques – will transform medicine in the future by enabling health professionals to offer patients improved, personalised treatments.

The institutions offering this cutting-edge program are the University of Wollongong and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands, and Germany’s University of Würzburg.

The degree includes a component of study and research at other participating universities, awarding graduate qualifications in both Australia and Europe.

Student exchanges currently in place include two UOW students on exchange at the University of Utrecht, one of whom is working to fabricate liver constructs and another to 3D print cardiac muscle.

Meanwhile UOW is currently hosting two University of Utrecht research students. One is working on 3D printing structures for wound healing (in conjunction with researchers at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne), the other is developing 3D printing protocols to be used to enhance isolated cell transplantation to treat diabetes (in conjunction with researchers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital).

Each institution involved has a track record in key areas of biofabrication, which include polymer chemistry, cell biology, clinical implants and the process of fabrication.

ACES scientists have expertise in forming printable bio-inks, stem cell biology, and developing custom bioprinting and 3D printing hardware. This expertise has led to many innovations in materials and delivery: formulations that allow living cells to be delivered as part of the 3D printing process and tools such as the BioPen to deliver the cell material.

Partner organisations

Queensland University of Technology
University Medical Center Utrecht
University of Wurzburg

UOW participants

Distinguished Prof. Gordon Wallace, A/Prof. Michael Higgins, Dr Zhilian Yue