A project is only as good as the people behind it. We have joined together marine biologists, neuroscientists, vascular engineers, comparative neuroanatomists, and mechanical engineers to bring bioimaging and 3D printing technology into the classroom. Meet our fantastic team of researchers at UWA who have joined their collective expertise to make this project possible!
Research Asst/Prof Kara E Yopak
Neuroecology Group, the UWA Oceans Institute, and the School of Animal Biology
Asst/Prof. Kara E. Yopak is a part of the Neuroecology Group, which resides within the UWA Oceans Institute and the School of Animal Biology. Her research focuses on the evolution of neural systems, particularly how brains have diversified within some of the earliest vertebrate groups, namely sharks, skates, rays, and chimaerids, a group collectively referred to as Chondrichthyans. She studies how the development of major brain areas vary between species in conjunction with the adaptive evolution of their sensory and motor systems. Kara has utilized a variety of traditional and novel techniques to explore questions related to brain evolution of fishes, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and, more recently, 3D printing. Her data suggest that brain organization and the relative development of major brain structures reflect an animal’s ecology, even in phylogenetically unrelated species that share certain lifestyle characteristics, a pattern similarly documented in other vertebrate groups. The incorporation of 3D printing into her research takes her vast collection of brains out of jars and into the classroom, allowing for various aspects of the central nervous system to be kinesthetically explored by students.
Research Associ/Prof Melinda Fitzgerald:
NHMRC Career Development Fellow, Experimental and Regenerative Neurosciences, School of Animal Biology
Associate Professor Lindy Fitzgerald is a neuroscience researcher at The University of Western Australia. She has 12 years’ post-doctoral experience and leads a team of 12 researchers and post-graduate students. Lindy’s research is focused around understanding and preventing the spread of damage following neurotrauma. She uses innovative techniques to quantify biochemical and structural changes in nerve surrounding the injury and is developing treatment strategies, including combinations of inhibitors, red light therapy and nanotechnology delivery systems. In her 13 post-doctoral years Lindy has published over 55 scientific research papers andhas been invited to speak at numerous local, national and international conferences on her research findings. Lindy currently holds a Career Development Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, and leads two Project Grants. She has been awarded a total of $6.5 million to support the salaries of herself and her staff, as well as the expenses of running her research program.
Lindy believes in the need for a vibrant research community and contributes to this by convening the annual Symposium of WA Neuroscience and the UWA neuroscience seminar series. She also serves on grant review panels, contributes extensively to reviewing, Chairs Departmental committees and is one of the founding coordinators of the Faculty of Science Women in Science group, incorporating a Faculty wide mentoring program. Lindy is committed to inspiring young potential scientists and making neuroscience accessible to the wider community. 3D printed brains from a wide range of species are helping her to explain the complexities of the nervous system and engage at a deeper level with children and adults interested in science.
Assoc/Prof Jennifer Rodger
NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Experimental and Regenerative Neurosciences, School of Animal Biology
She completed a BScHons in Biochemistry at the University of Bath, UK, followed by a PhD in Molecular Neuroscience at the University Pierre et Marie Curie, France. Dr Rodger subsequently moved to the University of Western Australia to work with Professors Lyn Beazley and Sarah Dunlop in the field of neural regeneration. She currently leads a research team investigating issues of brain plasticity relevant to brain disorders and employs various experimental models, especially the visual system, to ascertain how morphological and functional improvement can be achieved in the injured brain. Her most recent work focuses on the use of pulsed magnetic fields to promote neural circuit reorganisation and repair.
Dr Rodger has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers including key papers in the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience and FASEB Journal. She holds current funding from the NHMRC, ARC and Neurotrauma Research Program (WA).
Prof Shaun Collin
Winthrop Professor in the School of Animal Biology and Deputy Director of the Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia
Professor Collin, a former WA Research Fellow, is a world leader in how animals perceive and process their sensory world under different environmental conditions. He uses innovative techniques in anatomy, electrophysiology, bioimaging, molecular biology and behaviour to understand the evolution and mechanisms of neural processing for a range of senses including vision, hearing, olfaction and electroreception. Professor Collin’s research is being incorporated into shark mitigation technologies, improving aquaculture industries, identifying the effects of anthropogenic disturbances such as underwater noise and dredging activities, with the ultimate aim of informing management strategies to conserve West Australia’s unique biodiversity. The 3D printing of vertebrates is an excellent addition to his BIOL5505 Marine Neuroecology and Behaviour Course, which explores the evolution of the peripheral nervous system and the brain and the changes in the size and shape of the sensory brain regions in response to environmental cues.
Assoc/Prof Tim Sercombe
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
Assoc/Prof Tim Sercombe is an Associate Professor within the School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering. Tim has been working in the field of 3D printing since 1996 and my research interests are in the field of 3D printing of metals using Selective Laser Melting. His current projects include:
1. Low modulus titanium for orthopaedic applications
2. Selective laser melting of aluminium and aluminium matrix composites
3. Selective laser metal of metallic glasses
4. Design of high strength and stiffness to weight ratio structures
5. Antibacterial/antimicrobial materials.
6. Bioprinting – 3D printing of living cells. Towards a 3D printed organ
Tim is also leading the 3D Printing Network at the University of Western Australia, which brings together a wide range of researchers using 3D Printing in either their research or teaching activities. This group is developing an online resource to provide a centralised source of information regarding capabilities in the area of 3D Printing on campus.
Assoc/Prof Barry Doyle
NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Fellow, School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
Barry Doyle is Head of the Vascular Engineering Lab (VascLab), Senior Lecturer and NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Fellow at The University of Western Australia. Barry has a BEng (2005) and PhD (2009) in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Limerick, Ireland, and was a Marie Curie Fellow in the BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science at The University of Edinburgh, where he remains an Honorary Fellow.
His group’s research focusses primarily on cardiovascular health and disease, and applies cutting-edge engineering techniques to better understand vascular physiology and treat disease. To date, Barry has authored one book, edited three books, five book chapters, 38 journal articles, and over 80 conference publications. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Endovascular Therapy and a guest editor for two other journals; leads numerous national and international collaborations; has won over 25 different awards, and has attracted approximately $5.5 million in funding.
Student, School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
I’m Thomas Dean, mechanical engineering student and the Project Manager for the UWA Makers. We are a student run organisation based out of UWA that promotes innovation and collaboration. By teaming students up with industry professionals and research associates, we ignite ideas for several diverse and interesting projects. Our laboratory focuses heavily on 3D printing jobs, including manufacturing animal brains from MRI images.
Assistant Library Manager (Projects), University Library
Katie Mills is the Assistant Library Manager (Projects) within the Library at the University of Western Australia. Katie has held a variety of roles at UWA and was most recently the Associate Manager in the Barry J Marshall Library before her current role. Katie currently has a dual role working on communication and marketing initiatives for the Library as well as managing the University’s research publication collection. Katie’s expertise and professional interests include digital media, marketing and engagement and 3D printing.
Katie is coordinating the 3D printing trial for staff, students and community members in the Barry J Marshall Library which was made possible by the Alumni Annual Fund.