MSE Research Project Database

Tissue engineering of soft tissues

Project Leader: Andrea O'Connor
Staff: Daniel Heath
Student: Dhee Biswas, Javad Jafari, Imogen Milne, Tao Huang
Collaborators: Wayne Morrison (O'Brien Institute), Jason Palmer (O'Brien Institute), Keith McLean (CSIRO), David Haylock (CSIRO),
Primary Contact: Andrea O'Connor (
Keywords: biomaterials; scaffolds; tissue engineering
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering,Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Domains: Convergence of engineering and IT with the life sciences
Research Centre: Particulate Fluids Processing Centre (PFPC)

The Tissue Engineering Group which is part of the Particulate Fluids Processing Centre at the University of Melbourne conducts research into tissue engineering and biomaterials, with a particular focus on techniques for growth of three-dimensional soft tissues. We have developed techniques for the production of biodegradable polymer constructs including hydrogels, porous scaffolds with tailored morphology for cell growth and microspheres for bioactive molecule delivery. We have expertise in fabrication, surface modification and physicochemical characterisation of biological tissues and biomaterials, encapsulation and release of biomolecules and in vitro testing of biomaterials. Our research involves collaborations with engineers, surgeons, cell biologists and mathematicians and includes both in vitro and in vivo studies of the developed biomaterial constructs. We have well-established collaborations with biology and clinical researchers.

Future directions for our research include:

  • development of tailored biomaterials for 3-D cell culture and stem cell differentiation;
  • optimising biomaterial construct design for soft tissue engineering;
  • quantifying the mechanics of soft tissues and exploring the potential of mechanotransduction in their regeneration.

Further information:

Porous scaffolds made from soft materials support cell and tissue growth
Cells migrating through a porous scaffold