Recognition for polymer chemist’s research excellence

hui peng

Synthetic polymer chemist Dr Hui Peng’s work to improve medical implants and combat infection has been given a boost, with a UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship for Women.

She will use more than $300,000 in funding to design polymer coatings for biomedical devices to control their interactions with the body’s cells, working in the lab of AIBN Professor Andrew Whittaker.

“My experience in surface coatings, gained mainly in China, will allow me to design polymers which have very targeted and defined properties to ensure exact and reproducible biological responses,” Dr Peng said.

The project will involve AIBN Associate Professor Idriss Blakey and researchers from UQ’s School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering; Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation; and the Queensland Institute for Medical Research.

“It is exciting to be given the opportunity to take my ideas to the next stage and try to make a difference with my science,” Dr Peng said.

Dr Peng is an expert in controlled radical polymerisation, a relatively new class of synthesis allowing complex structures to be made for the first time.

Her research can potentially apply to a wide variety of biomedical devices, including orthopaedic devices such as artificial hips or knees; screws and plates to hold fractured bones together as they heal; pacemakers; cochlear implants; and drug delivery devices such as stents.

“I believe my research is important both scientifically and socially. The biomedical device market is enormous.”

The fellowship will boost Dr Peng’s career following the birth of her daughter in 2011.

The fellowship assists eligible women to reestablish their academic research careers after a career break or interruption.

Source: AIBN Quarterly

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