Meet our Members
Here we celebrate some of our fantastic members and the work that they are doing. A great chance to find out more about our community. If you would like to highlight your research or skills please get in touch.
Nathalie Bock, QUT
We talked to Nathalie about her research and skills in later 2020. This is what she had to say...
Q. What is your area of research?
" My current research is about developing biomimetic 3D cell culture model systems using advanced biomaterials and tissue engineering technologies, to study bone and cancer biology and bone metastases. Examples include mimicking bone marrow tissue using hydrogels and osteoblastic mineralized tissue using fibre-based scaffolds, which better recapitulates key bone signalling and functions than traditional 2D cultures. We then use those ‘bone-mimics’ to study interactions with breast and prostate cancer cells or tissues, also grown in 3D hydrogels."
Q. What technological skill sets do you have?
"I have a MSc in Materials Science and Engineering, with a specialty in Biomaterials, including chemical and process engineering among others. Throughout my PhD, I learned polymer microparticle fabrication to encapsulate drugs for controlled delivery and so I learned various characterisation techniques, including drug release, DSC, in vitro cell culture assays, ELISA etc. The core technology used for particle manufacturing was electrospraying, which is useful for other applications such as bioprinting. My skill set also includes additive manufacturing techniques such as solution electrospinning and melt electrowriting, quite useful in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. As I transitioned to cancer research for my postdoc, I learned further molecular analysis tools, such RT-qPCR, Western blots/protein arrays and the art of complex co-cultures and 3D cultures. I have also developed imaging and image analysis skills, including the use of various microscopy techniques (live epifluorescence, spinning disc confocal and Imaris software)."
Q. What career advice would you give your younger self?
"It is important to get as much exposure as possible outside the lab, including regularly going to conferences but also getting exposed early and continuously to clinicians. It is indeed very important to define what the medical needs are and work in that direction. This doesn’t preclude fundamental work, but at least it imprints itself within a real medical need and questions whether our research has the capacity to be actually translated. The same goes for industry; get involved early. Although developing a medical product may not be the goal of a PhD, getting acquainted to industry and their needs provides a reality check as to what biomaterials and tissue engineering can really achieve in that arena."