Engineering involved in two new ARC Centres of Excellence

January 14 / 127

The Melbourne School of Engineering (MSE) is involved with two successful bids for ARC Centres of Excellence - in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology, and for Integrative Brain Function.

The new ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology comprises a multi-disciplinary team focused on research to understand and control the interface of materials with biological systems.

Professor Frank Caruso’s group (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) will look at nanoscale materials engineering and biological interactions; Professor Edmund Crampin (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) will examine computational approaches to model materials-biological interactions; and Professor Stephen Kent in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology will study the immunological responses from the engineered materials.

Nanomedicines are on the cusp of revolutionising diagnosis and therapy in many diseases, and the centre will be the focus of bio-nano research activity in Australia, uniting universities, research agencies, institutes and companies to create better diagnostic and therapeutic tools.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function will be the Australian hub for the international endeavor to understand how the activity of brain cells mediates the way people interact with the world.

Professor Stan Skafidas, Director of the Centre for Neural Engineering, leads the Mebourne School of Engineering's research in nanoelectronics. 

“The Centre will study three key integrative functions: attention, prediction, and decision.

“These functions are familiar to everyone; for example when crossing a street, your attention may be drawn to an oncoming car, your brain works to predictthe car’s path, and you decide whether to continue crossing or to retreat to the kerb.

“These integrative functions depend on collecting accurate sensory information, and weighing this up based on experience and memory. We will probe these functions non-invasively in humans and, in parallel, through experimental studies of other mammals," Professor Skafidas said.

Dr Steven Petrou, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) will help Prefossor Skafidas to develop new nanoscale electrophysical and bicohemical sensors with the aim of better understanding brain function.





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