Professor Benjamin Thierry is a Research Leader at the Future Industries Institute and the Head of the South Australia Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio and Nano Science and Technology (CBNS). He has received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from McGill University in 2004 and has since received prestigious awards, including two Career Development Award Fellowships from the NHMRC.
Prof Thierry leads the translational Bioengineering group which aims to develop and implement novel biodiagnostic and prognostic technologies and is currently involved in several clinical translation/commercialization activities. A significant outcome of his research has been the development of a patented cancer staging diagnostic technology that has received substantial commercial interest and investment through a spin-off company, Ferronova Pty Ltd. With the support of a NHHMRC Dev Grant, a clinical prototype is currently being developed and the pilot clinical trial is scheduled to start in September 2019, which will aim at demonstrating the feasibility and safety of this technology in early-stage oral cancer. A recent research focus has been on the development of biodiagnostic technologies to improve prenatal care. In close collaboration with industry partners and clinicians, he has established a comprehensive research program aimed at enabling better detection of pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and pre-term birth with a focus on remote/low resource settings. He has also developed and patented a technology aimed at enabling comprehensive non-invasive prenatal genetic testing, which is currently being developed through a spin-off company NIPDx.
Prof Thierry is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio and Nano Science and leads two major research programs of the Centre. The first of this program is focussed on the development of next-generation in vitro organ and disease models, including models based on “organs-on-chips” concept and 3D Bioprinting. With the support of an ARC Linkage grant, intestine-on-chip models developed in his group are being applied to yield better understanding of the intestinal uptake of particulate carriers orally administrated, including oral vaccines. He is also actively collaborating with several water management organisations to utilise these models to study intestinal infections by virus and pathogen. In parallel, cancer-on-chip models are being developed and implemented to assist in the development of better cancer therapeutics, including based on ionizing radiation and immunotherapy. His group has also strong expertise in the design and application of functional nanomaterials. This research theme includes nanoscale solid-state biosensor (supported by an ARC Discovery project in collaboration with Prof Andreas Offenhausser) and nanoparticulate imaging contrast agents (supported by an NHMRC Project grant in collaboration with Prof Eben Rosenthal at Stanford University).