New frontiers of science
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New frontiers of science

G’day, my name is Gerrard Eddy Jai Poinern and currently I am the Director/Project leader of a very exciting group of researchers and graduate students involved in generating new frontier science on a number of fronts in nanotechnology and nanoscience. I am very interested in direct applications of Nanotechnology, thus the name of the group, Murdoch Applied Nanotechnology Research Group which was created in 2005.
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/>I also teach several Nanotech units such as PEC 261 Applications of Nanotechnology and Nanotechnology Laboratory and in PEC 363 Nanotechnology Laboratory, students are taught a wide range of techniques that enable them to manufacture nanoparticles and use Nanotools to image the produced nanoparticles. Teaching is an enriching experience as it allows you to meet people from different cultural backgrounds and transfer knowledge to the next generation so that they can bring about positive changes in science for their nation.
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/>In a nutshell, Nanotechnology is the application and development of techniques and processes that involve matter which ranges in size from one to 100 billionth of a meter, one nanometer being 1 x 10-9m. This range in size is equivalent to placing two atoms side by side. It has only been in the last decade with the advent of nanotools (instrument capable of seeing atoms or assemblies of atoms) that nanotechnology and nanoscience research has really taken off.
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/>Currently, at Murdoch University I have several research projects on the go, each with an emphasis on the commercialization of nanotechnology. A recent example was the collaboration with the Royal Perth Hospital group headed by Professor Fiona Wood with Dr Mark Fear and my PhD student Mr. Leigh Parkinson, in which we pioneered/developed a biocompatible inorganic nanomembrane for skin regeneration for skin burns. The commercialization of this project resulted in a US Patent and the company Cellumina.
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/>Another exciting project we have developed at Murdoch University is the creation of nanohydroxyapatite, nanoHAP, a synthetic bone material. Natural bone is made up of little ceramic rods about 40mm long and organic materials such as collagen and gelatine. The aim of this project is to mimic nature first and then improve on it. To this end my PhD student, Mr. Ravi Brundavanam uses ultrasound/microwave techniques to make nanoHAP with different compositional shapes and size and then investigates its novel properties. Ravi started his research as an Honours student; and due to his diligence and hard work, he was rewarded with a First Class honours and a Royal Society Prize of Western Australia. Due to his efforts he was able to secure a PhD scholarship from the University to continue his research into the development nanoHAP.
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/>The impact of this research will be of great significance, especially if we consider that Australia has an aging population that is predicted to increase in the near future and coupled with large numbers of sport related injuries, the need for biocompatible materials, like nanoHAP, for bone replacement and implants will be of critical importance. The progress of this research has attracted both national and international media interest.
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/>Recently another PhD student of my group, Ms Ngoc Xuan Le won the Prime Minister’s 2009 Endeavour Award for her research into engineering a nanopolymer structure that contains a drug that can be used for the prevention of stroke. On the graduate side; my nanotechnology students, Mr. Tim Thomson, Mr. Paul Brockbank, Mr. Trent George-Kennedy and Mr. Jurek Malarecki have won the West Australia Premier’s Innovation Awards in Nanotechnology.
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/>At Murdoch University, students are an integral part of our research programs and we have a comprehensive graduate and post-graduate program that will put you in the forefront of current research in the field of nanotechnology. The Murdoch Applied Nanotechnology Research Group currently has several new exciting projects on offer.  If you are interested in finding out more about nanotechnology or science programs in general at Murdoch University, visit http://www.murdoch.edu.au.

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