events / personal journeys to translation Workshop 2020


Mon, 14 December 2020
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM AEDT


The personal journeys to translation Workshop 2020

About this Event


One of the key elements of the Australian Research Centre for Innovative BioEngineering (ARCTCIBE) is to provide the next generation of researchers with the interdisciplinary skills and mentorship to be leaders in the rapidly evolving, highly innovative field of bioengineering. The event is a significant step in this journey. We will hear from pioneers in the field, about their own personal journeys on the road to translation, taking devices out of the lab and into the world. For the young researchers in the Centre, it is an opportunity to learn from and be linked with mentors who are among the brightest minds in the Australian bioengineering landscape.


“Personal journeys along the road of translation’. Its aim is to inspire people to listen to stories of others’ journey along the road of successful translation.

Workshop Presentations

Welcome by Prof. Fiona Wood

Speaker: Prof.  Farshid Guilak
Topic: Discovery, deconstruction, design and delivery: a roadmap to translation

Speaker: Prof. Tony Weiss
Topic: Elastin confers elasticity and modulates biology

Speaker: Prof. Ranjeny Thomas
Topic: Innovative Immunotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis

Speaker: Dr. John Melki
Topic: Genetic Signatures

Speaker: Ms. Sarah Meibusch
Topic: Personal reflections from 20 years in the business of science and where I’ve landed now

Speakers: Dr. Michael Bonning
Topic: Building a novel AL device in a crowded field

Panel Q & A

Guest speakers

Professor Farshid Guilak

Dr. Farshid Guilak is the Mildred Simon Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University, Director of Research for the St. Louis Shriners Hospitals for Children, and co-director of the Washington University Center of Regenerative Medicine.  He also has appointments in the Departments of Developmental Biology and Biomedical Engineering.  His laboratory is pursuing a multidisciplinary approach for developing new translational therapies for musculoskeletal diseases, particularly osteoarthritis. He has published over 350 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has co-edited four books. He is the Past-president of the Orthopaedic Research Society.  Dr. Guilak is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biomechanics and Associate editor for Osteoarthritis & Cartilage.  He is the founder of Cytex Therapeutics, a startup company focusing on developing new regenerative medicine therapies for musculoskeletal conditions.


Professor Ranjeny Thomas

Professor Thomas is Professor of Rheumatology at University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, consultant rheumatologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital, fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She founded the Uniquest spin-off company Dendright. In the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours, she was awarded member of the Order of Australia.

Her research seeks to understand autoimmune disease and restoration of immune tolerance. Through this work, she developed dendritic cell-based antigen-specific immunotherapy in the first proof-of-concept trial in Rheumatoid Arthritis. She developed a liposome immunotherapy that targets dendritic cells to induce antigen-specific tolerance. The product, DEN181, was developed by Dendright, in partnership with Janssen-Biotech, the US pharmaceutical subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, and tested in a phase 1b clinical trial in RA. Her team recently partnered with CSL to develop immunotherapy for Sjogren’s syndrome. Thomas is progressing the development of liposome-based tolerance strategies in autoimmune diseases, as well as nanoparticle-based dendritic cell targeted cancer vaccines. She has contributed major insights into how the microbiome is involved in causing spondyloarthropathy, leading to the development of disease biomarkers and therapeutic strategies.

Professor Tony Weiss

Professor Weiss is the McCaughey Chair in Biochemistry, NHMRC Leadership Fellow, and Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biotechnology. He leads Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine in the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

Awards include Fulbright Scholar, NIH Fogarty International Fellow, NSW Premier’s Prize for Science & Engineering Leadership in Innovation, Eureka Prize for Innovation in Medical Research, Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering’s Clunies Ross Award, Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, Australasian Society for Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering’s Award for Research Excellence, Innovator of Influence Award, RACI’s Applied Research Medal, and the Order of Australia.

He is on 12 Editorial Boards, authored >300 publications, and is inventor on 108 awarded international patents in 20 patent families covering human tropoelastin, which gives tissue its elasticity and enhances the repair of scars and wounds.

He is President-Elect of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS), was elected Chair of TERMIS Asia Pacific and President of MBSANZ, and is Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Royal Society of NSW, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, Australian Institute of Company Directors, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, and Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

He founded the clinical stage company Elastagen Pty Ltd which was spun off from the University of Sydney to commercialize tropoelastin. Benefitting from a remarkable executive and board, Elastagen was acquired by Allergan plc, now part of AbbVie, in a transaction totaling US$260m. This is one of the largest transactions completed in the Australian life science sector.

Dr. John Melki

Dr John Melki who has broad laboratory and business management experience. Dr. Melki joined Genetic Signatures in 2003 and since then has commercialised numerous research and diagnostic products. His previous research includes DNA methylation, microarray technologies, Real-Time PCR and biological software evaluation and he is a previous recipient of the Sydney University Peter Bancroft prize.  Dr Melki has led the product development team of Genetic Signatures as Senior Principal Research Scientist since 2003 and now leads the company as Chief Executive Officer.

Ms. Sarah Meibusch

Prior to OneVentures, she was the Asian Business Development lead for Shire Pharmaceuticals (now Takeda), a global specialty pharmaceutical company. Sarah identified technologies and developed collaborations across Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan including playing a key role in sourcing the $300M Fibrotech deal announced in 2015.

Sarah has held senior management roles at Progen Pharmaceuticals, The University of Queensland’s QAAFI institute, Beef CRC and Pyxis Genomics. From 2011-2017 she led the development of the new UQ QAAFI research institute from 32 people to 450 people and a financially profitable position within 5 years. This included leading the negotiation of a complex $70+M staff transfer and research agreement for QAAFI between the University of Queensland and the Queensland Government. In 2012, Sarah spearheaded the IP asset assignment and company wind-up of 20 year $168M Beef Co-operative Research Centre, involving five universities across five state jurisdictions, MLA, CSIRO and Meat and Lamb NZ and pastoral companies. At Progen Pharmaceuticals, Sarah worked collaboratively with the CEO and CFO over several years to secure a total financing of ~$125M via five capital raisings for oncology drug development, and in 2008 led the $22M acquisition of an oncology drug discovery company.

Dr. Michael Bonning


Dr Michael Bonning is an experienced general practitioner who has worked in Australia, Great Britain and the United States. He received his medical and public health degrees from the University of Queensland and subsequently practiced in Sydney where he completed his Fellowship in General Practice while also deploying as a medical officer in the Royal Australian Navy. Michael has special interests in the following areas:

  • Musculoskeletal and sports medicine
  • Adolescent medicine
  • Paediatrics
  • Travel and diving medicine
  • Goal setting and peak performance
  • Healthcare for professionals and doctors

Michael loves the outdoors and when not at work he is often involved in group hikes around Sydney. He has also worked as a doctor helping teams to climb the highest mountains on four continents.

Tel: 0061 2 9114 4607



@2021 ARC Centre for Innovative BioEngineering

Level 4, J07
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
University of Sydney
Darlington NSW 2008