ARC funding for food safety and in vitro blood vessel model

14 January 2019
New sensors to detect contaminated food and in vitro development of human blood vessels are projects that have received funding through the federal government's ARC Linkage Project scheme.

Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced more than $5 million in national ARC Linkage Project grants, including over $800,000 for University of Sydney engineering and medical research.

The Linkage Projects scheme supports research that brings researchers and other innovative businesses together to conduct critical research collaborations that address issues affecting our communities.

“This announcement is further confirmation of the outstanding innovations our researchers are contributing to engineering, health and medicine,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison.

“We want to help our researchers translate our world-class research into outcomes that will bring extraordinary benefits to the Australian community.

"I am delighted the ARC will support the work of Fariba, Steve and their industry partners through these new Linkage grants and we will continue to invest in providing the very best infrastructure and support we can.”

Gloved hands holding lab samples

© Stefanie Zingsheim

Technology to reduce food waste

Professor Fariba Dehghani from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies and her team will receive $300,512 for their project, ‘Flexible and Printable Sensors for Early Detection of Food Spoilage’.

"This is a great opportunity for our researchers in the Centre for Advanced Food Enginomics to work with ARC Centro Ricerche Applicate s.r.l. in Padova, Italy, to develop a technological platform for the fabrication of flexible sensors that enable the detection of food spoilage and life threatening microbial contamination," explained Professor Dehghani.

"The flexible sensors will respond to gases and volatile compounds generated from food deterioration and spoilage, microbial pathogen, temperature and pH, hence providing real-time measurements."

The project will enable us to design efficient data-driven decision-making tools along the food supply chain to promote food safety and reduce food waste.
Professor Fariba Dehghani

A major challenge facing the global food industry is the food safety to reduce the risk of foodborne diseases and minimizing food waste. It will enable food industries and consumers to monitor food quality and safety along the farm-to-table continuum to reduce the risk of illnesses, hospitalisations, death, food product recalls and food waste. Advances made in this project will facilitate effective monitoring of food quality continuously and support agri-food, pharmaceutical and packaging industries.

Building blood vessels outside the body

Dr Steven Wise from the Faculty of Medicine and Health and his team have secured $520,000 to engineer a physiologically-relevant blood vessel in vitro with partner organisation Codex Research.

Blood vessels.

They will develop an in vitro blood vessel model that will mimic arterial conditions by incorporating vascular cells and silk conduits as scaffolds, for the first time. 

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Codex Research to build a lab-based blood vessel model,” said Dr Wise.

“This is an important new tool that will allow us to better replicate conditions in human arteries, leading to improved study of drugs and devices, and in the long-term the capacity to generate tissue replacements”

The project uniquely brings together industry expertise in control systems and electronics with the significant experience of our research team in biomaterials engineering and vascular biology to drive a fundamental advancement of in vitro blood vessel modelling.

The benefits will be felt across biomaterials, tissue engineering and vascular biology fields, as well as contributing to Australia's place as a leader in these areas.

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