This event was a make-up site tour after the planned trip to Mercer was cancelled due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Thanks to Zahra Shahbazian for the idea and for facilitating introductions.
TRICEP (Translational Research Initiative for Cell Engineering and Printing), is a UOW-owned facility that works with research institutions and industry to develop innovative technologies using 3D bioprinting. After watching the 30-minute online site tour we were joined by Associate Professor Stephen Beirne for a Q&A ...
Tell us about your leadership journey?
Stephen celebrates his 10 year anniversary of working at TRICEP this week and has seen many changes and advances in technology in that time. Now he heads up a team of engineers and clinicians to find innovative product solutions for medtech manufacturers.
Working collaboratively with UOW, how do we [the Illawarra] promote the incredible skills base we have here?
Speaking as an Illawarra 'native' who came from elsewhere, Stephen sees this as a regional mentality that needs to change - the region, and specifically Wollongong needs to see itself as more than a 'steel town', because it has so much more to offer.
How do you find and recruit engineers for TRICEP?
TRICEP recruits on a project basis and use our collaborative networks at UOW. It's common for staff to move on to other projects elsewhere after 2(ish) years, and this is encouraged, in order for the young professionals to get broader experience. They inevitably stay in touch and may return, or become collaborators on future projects. However, the operations at TRICEP are expanding and they are considering extending the 2-year rule, in order to retain their investment in knowledge and training.
How far away from the market are the products we saw in the tour?
[Laughs knowingly, as this question inevitably comes up] If you are asking how long before we can print human organs [yes that's exactly what we're asking] then no sooner than 50 years in the future. Some of the titanium and ceramic implants are commercially available now, and the bioinks (not the hydrogels), but we are still a long way off from complex organs.
Vote of thanks by Raychel Davis.
Posted by Beth.
Blog posts written by the Leadership Illawarra Program Cohort.