Bio Materials



Biomaterials research and development work in CSIRO has been conducted in a significant way since the mid 1980’s. Initially, work in biological and synthetic polymers and their biocompatibility was carried out in Melbourne and Sydney in the laboratories of John Ramshaw, Jerome Werkmeister, Hans Griesser, Gordon Meijs and Jack Steele. CSIRO’s research, being mission directed, has in collaboration with Universities, CRC’s and companies, resulted in the development of Ciba Vision’s extended wear contact lenses (Focus Night and DayTM and O2OPTIXTM) as well as the spin-out companies AorTech Biomaterials; PolyNovo Biomaterials; Adventus Technology Inc and Polyactiva Ltd. Biomaterials research in CSIRO is, today, conducted through the Biomedical Materials Research Theme which has a goal to develop technologies with economic and positive health benefits to Australia by the development and application of novel biomedical materials for use in tissue repair, replacement and regeneration. Currently, around 75 research staff and students with skills in molecular modelling; polymer synthesis and fabrication; surface modification; natural biopolymers; molecular biology; cell biology (including stem cells); materials characterisation; biocompatibility and small animal studies work with collaborators, both nationally and internationally, to achieve this goal. CSIRO’s research is underpinned by access to excellent infrastructure and a wide range of capabilities (Photographs). Current research includes projects directed towards: the development of novel ophthalmic devices; smart polymers and surfaces for biomanufacturing including the expansion of stem cells; and novel polymeric and biological scaffolds for: prolapse repair, islet cell encapsulation for Type 1 diabetes, regenerative medicine, drug delivery and tissue sealants. Examples of two of these projects are described below. In the area of tissue sealants CSIRO has developed a novel proprietary light-activated gelatin-based tissue sealant for lead applications in gastro-intestinal, lung and dura sealing. The elastic properties, strength, thermal stability, speed of in-situ curing and biocompatibility offer