30 April 2012
A Monash University researcher who is designing the next generation of medical implants using nanotechnology has been awarded a prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Award for the second time.
Professor Yuri Estrin, who leads the University’s Centre for Advanced Hybrid Materials (CAHM), will use his award to travel to the well-regarded RWTH Aachen University to collaborate on improving the stability of the nanomaterials he is developing.
Professor Estrin received his first Humboldt Award in 1999, which he also used to do research at RWTH. Recipients of this highly competitive award must be nominated by an established academic in Germany.
The Awards are granted to "academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future.”
Professor Estrin said he was very pleased to have been honoured by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for the second time.
"I have been collaborating closely with my colleagues at RWTH for many years and being able to visit and work side-by-side with them is invaluable for driving the research forward," Professor Estrin said.
CAHM is currently working on developing nanomaterials to enhance the mechanical strength and biocompatibility of medical implants, such as bone and dental implants and vascular stents.
“By manipulating the structure of these materials on the nanoscale level, we can make them stronger, more resistant to corrosion and less toxic to the body," Professor Estrin said.
The group at CAHM is also developing novel hybrid materials with complex inner architecture. Such materials will have tunable properties, which can be changed on demand for use in responsive structures.
"For example, the stiffness of a protective coating on a material can be changed - much in the same way a sea turtle stiffens the otherwise flexible suture underneath its shell in response to load impact," Professor Estrin said.
Professor Estrin said industry was becoming increasingly interested in the potential of structural nanomaterials. He has received two Australian Research Council Linkage grants, which require an industry partner, to develop his work in this field.