5 February 2013

Research into repairing diseased tissues in Australia will be boosted by the addition of a visiting American scholar.

The research, to be conducted at Oschner Clinical School in the United States and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at The University of Queensland is at the crest of the next wave in healthcare in recruiting the body’s own cells and repair systems to heal injured or diseased tissue.

University of Colorado graduate Jason Ross has won the prestigious 2013 American Australian Association (AAA) fellowship to advance his research.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Dr Anna Ciccarelli said the fellowship was an example of the University’s commitment to encouraging and supporting research collaboration and commercialisation in the US, through fostering bi-lateral student mobility.

“This fellowship provides an overseas student or staff member the opportunity to advance their skills and knowledge at one of the world’s top 100 universities,” Dr Ciccarelli said.

“Ochsner Clinical School offers students an opportunity to be part of a global medical school experience.

“Through this program, students can experience a medical education from two world-class academic medical institutions: UQ School of Medicine and the Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“AIBN is one of our newer institutes that brings together the skills of world-class researchers in the areas of bioengineering and nanotechnology.

Mr Ross will continue his research into the production of biomaterials with tissue engineering application under the supervision of AIBN’s Professor Justin Cooper-White.

Professor Cooper-White’s work in regenerative medicine focuses on developing instructive scaffolds and cells that can repair damaged tissues in the human body.

“This project could lead to a new method of treatment for patients with tracheal injuries by using their own cells thus creating a tissue-engineered trachea for replacement,” Mr Ross said.

“The surgical management of tracheal pathology due to defects, injuries and disease is extremely problematic and treatments for these ailments are limited.”

Mr Ross graduated from the University of Colorado in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science.

Since graduating from college, he has been working in a Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the US.

The AAA program offers fellowships of up to AU$30,000 to American researchers or students wishing to undertake advanced research or study in Australia.

Through these Educational Fellowships, the Association encourages intellectual collaboration and innovation, building on the strong social and economic partnerships between Australia and the United States.

About AAA

Sir Keith Murdoch founded the AAA in 1948. The non-profit organisation is devoted to strengthening relations between Australia and America. The Association continues to build and promote ties across the Pacific through its corporate, education, and social and cultural programs. Headquartered in New York, the Association also has operations in New England and California, and is affiliated with the American Australian Association Ltd. in Sydney.

Media: Belinda Berry, Communications Officer, +61 7 3365 3439 or b.berry2@uq.edu.au