2024-2028 Steering Committee Candidate:

Justin Cooper-White


Affiliation: The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Professor Cooper-White has made pioneering contributions to understanding the role of mechano-sensing and mechano-transduction in stem cell commitment and tissue genesis, in particular his discovery of the importance of ligand type, ligand spacing and matrix viscoelasticity on stem cell fate. His initial insights back in 2011 into biomaterial viscoelasticity as a novel material property for directing stem cell choice has led the creation of a new era in biomaterials science and engineering globally, that is now applied to investigating and generating all tissue types and even cancer and culminated in a review article in Nature (2020) co-authored by those who have joined him in this quest. He is renowned for applying this understanding to developing advanced biomaterials and scaffolds to replace or repair damaged or diseased tissues, principally in the musculo-skeletal system. He has significantly contributed to the development of new microfluidic microdevices and organ-on-a-chip microbioreactors to advance fundamental understanding of induced and adult stem cell biology, physiology and differentiation, especially in relation to optimization of media formulations and microenvironments for unlocking their potential applications in regenerative medicine and cell therapy.

Professor Cooper-White has over 250 scientific publications, including >230 journal articles, 11 invited reviews and 7 book chapters. His work has been cited >18,000 times (H index 70, m index 2.8). He has received numerous awards, including most recently Fellow of the IUSBSE (2020), CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive Science Leader Fellowship (2013-2018), AON Insurance and Life Sciences Queensland Regenerative Medicine Award (2015), NHMRC Marshall and Warren Award for Research Excellence (2015/6), Elected Fellow/Vice President, Queensland Academy of Arts and Science (2015-/2016-2019). He holds/has held significant discipline leadership roles, including President, Asian Biomaterials Federation (2015-2019); Australian Representative, IUSBSE Committee (2017-2019); President, Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (2006-2008); President, Australasian Society of Rheology (2002-2004).

He currently holds the positions of Head of School and Professor of Bioengineering, School of Chemical Engineering (UQ), Affiliate Professor, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (UQ), Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility -Queensland Node (ANFF-Q), Co-Director of both the UQ Centre in Stem Cell Ageing and Regenerative Engineering (UQ-StemCARE) and the Australian Organoid Facility (based at UQ), and Editor-in-Chief of APL Bioengineering, published by American Institute of Physics Publishing (New York).

Vision & Purpose:

I am very passionate about the potential of biomaterials to change the world of medicine in terms of the way in which we heal ourselves and improve our health span. With the globe ageing rapidly, we need to develop biomaterial-based solutions to address age-related diseases and enable people to live healthier lives, contributing and participating in their societies for longer. The Asia-pacific region represents one of the fastest ageing regions in the world, with some countries winning the unfortunate award of being hyperaged societies in the next 20-30 years.

As a member of the Steering committee, based in the Asia-Pacific region, I would commit to focusing on all of the core initiatives of the ICF-BSE on a global front, but principally focus on enhancing the mission of the ICF-BSE in:

1.) supporting biomaterials science and engineering in developing countries in the Asia-Pacific (especially Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam), through my significant standing, networks and linkages in these countries and leveraging my networks in Australia, Singapore, China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), Japan and Korea, to promote biomaterials research in healthy ageing and regenerative engineering;

2.) as a practiced engager with industry, public and government sectors, I would commit to proactively raising public awareness of BS&E and its potential to impact our ageing societies through the creation of large cross-nation consortia across academe, industry hospitals and government that leverage our successes, and most importantly, leads to new innovations in biomaterials and their clinical uptake;

3.) As an ever-present member on the international Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine conference circuits, I would continue to raise the awareness of the success of Biomaterials Science and Engineering in age-related diseases and the criticality of these research areas in promoting the betterment of humankind as we age;

4.) As past President and current member of the Asian Biomaterials Federation, I would initiate pathways to enhancing short term exchanges of students and ECRs interested in biomaterials-enabled solutions to age-related diseases between member societies across Asia-Pacific, in the first instance, and then for them to experience exchanges further abroad, including Europe and the Americas.

I have significant leadership experience on National and International Society Committees (as indicated in my Biography) and this experience and expertise in connecting people from across countries and continents holds me in good stead to achieve these goals, in collaboration with my committee colleagues, as a member of Steering Committee.

I agree to be nominated and I am willing to serve as a member of the Steering Committee 2024-2028.