Keith M McLean

Affiliated Society: Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
Country of Residence: Australia
Current Position: Director, CSIRO Manufacturing



Keith M. McLean B.Sc. (Hons); PhD; C.Chem; FBSE

Keith McLean has a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland where he developed expertise in oilfield microbiology, biofouling and bacterial surface interactions. Following spells in industry and postdoctoral fellowships in New Zealand and Australia he joined the surface chemistry group at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 1996 working on surface modification and characterisation for ophthalmic and other polymeric biomaterials applications. He was a team member (1996 – 2008) and project leader (from 2003 to 2005) of the implantable contact lens project in the VisionCRC. This team designed a polymer, surface and surgical methods for an implantable contact lens application and entered a phase 1 clinical trial and was being commercialised by Adventus Technologies. This team won the 2004 Royal Societies of Australia Eureka Award for Interdisciplinary Research and the 2009 CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement. He became the Research Leader for Biomedical Materials and Devices in CSIRO from 2004 to 2014 leading a 75 member team of polymer and surface chemists and biologists developing biomaterials for tissue engineering, stem cell propagation and implantable devices. In this role McLean had responsibility for the initiation, planning, development and management of multidisciplinary research projects in biomaterials within CSIRO and with external collaborators and clients. These include Cooperative Research CentreŠ—Ès, universities and companies both nationally and internationally. Members of the CSIRO Biomaterials team delivered significant commercial impact through, for example, the development of a second-generation extended wear contact lens and the launch of several spin-off companies (eg. PolyNovo Biomaterials; Polyactiva and Adventus Technologies).  He was also the Program Leader for Biopolymers in the Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers and Project Leader of the Biomanufacturing Project the aim of which was to develop novel materials for stem cell proliferation (2008-2012).

In July 2014 McLean became Director of CSIRO Manufacturing where has is responsible for >400 Staff and >300 Students and Affiliates and a budget in excess of $100m. McLean has responsibility for all aspects of the Manufacturing Business Unit Strategy including Science; Industry Engagement; Financial Performance; People and Culture and Health and Safety.

McLean has been Secretary (2005-2007); Vice-President (2007-08 and 2010-11) and President (2008-10) of the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Inc. and was a member of the Scientific Committee of the 7th World Biomaterials Congress. He is currently Secretary of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering (2012-16) having been an Australian Delegate since 2008. He was elected a Fellow Biomaterials Science and Engineering in 2016.

Areas of research interest:

Surface Modification:

Method of immobilisation of carboxymethyl-dextran affects resistance to tissue colonisation. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 18, 221 (2000)

Surface-MALDI mass spectrometry in biomaterials research.  Biomaterials, 25, 4861 (2004)

Biological responses of human osteoblasts and osteoclasts to flame sprayed coatings of hydroxyapatite and fluorapatite blends, Acta Biomaterialia, 6, 1575 (2010).

One step multifunctional micropatterning of surfaces using asymmetric glow discharge plasma polymerisation. Chem. Comm, (2012), 48, 1907

Ophthalmic Biomaterials

The development of a synthetic onlay for the correction of refractive error. Biomaterials, 22, 3319 (2001)

Characterisation of in vivo fouling on HEMA-based contact lenses by XPS and surface-MALDI-MS: short term wear studies Biomaterials, 22, 3295 (2001)

Approaches to improving the biocompatibility of porous perfluoropolyethers for ophthalmic applications. Biomaterials, 27, 1287.

Two-year preclinical testing of perfluoropolyether polymer as a corneal inlay. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci, (2006), 47, 574.

Low Fouling Surfaces

Effect of the Structure of Polysaccharide Coatings on Protein Adsorption. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 17: 37 (2000)

Scanning probe nanolithography and protein patterning of low-fouling plasma polymer multi-layer films. Adv Mats, 18, 3079 (2006).

A one-step method for generating PEG-like plasma polymer gradients: Chemical characterisation and analysis of protein interactions. Langmuir, 2010, 26, 13987 (2010)

Photoinitiated Alkyne-Azide Click and Radical Cross-Linking Reactions for the Patterning of PEG Hydrogels, Biomacromolecules, 13, 889 (2012)

Emerging rules for effective antimicrobial coatings Trends in Biotech, 32, 82 (2014)

Self-assembling Materials

Enzymatic formation of a stable, self-assembling, peptide/protein hybrid biomaterial suitable for in-vivo applications, Biomaterials, 32, (2011) 5304

Self-assembly of ciprofloxacin and a tripeptide into an antimicrobial nanostructured hydrogel. Biomaterials, 34, 3678

Size and Phase Control of Cubic Lyotropic Liquid Crystal Nanoparticles J. Phys. Chem B,118, 7430 (2014)

Physicochemical and cytotoxicity analysis of glycerol monoolein-based nanoparticles RSC Advances, 5, 26543(2015)

Drug Delivery

The Effect of RAFT-derived cationic block copolymer structure on gene silencing. Biomats 33: 7631 (2012)

Bone regeneration using photocrosslinked hydrogel incorporating rhBMP-2 loaded 2-N, 6-O-sulfated chitosan nanoparticles Biomats, 35, 2730(2014)

Amphiphilic core cross-linked star polymers as water-soluble, biocompatible and biodegradable unimolecular carriers for hydrophobic drugs. Polym Chem, 6, 6475 (2015)


Cryogels for biomedical applications, J Mat Chem B, 1, 2682 (2013)

Formation and characterisation of a modifiable soft macro-porous hyaluronic acid cryogel platform  J of Biomats Sci Š—– Polym Ed, 26, 881 (2015)

Research keywords:

Drug Delivery