Novel silk-based biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine

RESEARCHER PROFILE  (Filmed April 2024)
Associate Professor Jelena Rnjak-Kovacina
Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering
UNSW Sydney, Australia

Dr Jelena Rnjak-Kovacina is a Scientia Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow leading a multidisciplinary group at the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, UNSW Sydney in Australia.

She completed her doctoral degree in Anthony Weiss’ lab at the University of Sydney and her postdoctoral training in David Kaplan’s group at Tufts University in Boston. She joined UNSW in 2014 where her research has been supported by funding from the Australian Research Council, the National Heart Foundation, the National Health & Medical Research Council, and NSW Health. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including most recently, the NSW Ministerial Award for Rising Stars in Cardiovascular Research and the Early Career Researcher of the Year (Physical Sciences) in the NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering.

Her research interests are at the interface of biology and engineering, focusing on the development of biomimetic materials that direct cellular interactions for enhanced vascularisation and for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. In particular, she develops novel silk-based biomaterials and investigates how biomaterial properties translate to biological outcomes.

She is actively involved in the Australasian MedTech sector, including as Vice President of the Australasian Society for Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering (ASBTE), board member of the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) Bioengineering flagship, Fellow of the Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society, and through editorial roles for multiple journals. She is passionate about research training and communication.

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