Profile: Dr Afsaneh Khansari. Developing seaweed-based materials

April 27, 2023

Dr Afsaneh Khansari is a synthetic chemist working at the forefront of molecular engineering, developing new seaweed-based biomaterials.

“Our research could have a big impact on many different types of surgical procedures, ranging from cartilage repair to prosthesis and even wound healing,” says Khansari.

She is part of a collaboration between the University of Wollongong’s TRICEP (Translational Research Initiative for Cell Engineering and Printing) centre and Australian seaweed producer Venus Shell. She’s currently working on seaweed bio-inks, which can be used with a form of 3D printing to mimic the molecular composition and structure of human skin.

“Seaweed is a rich source of natural substances and biologically active polysaccharides, making it an ideal candidate for medical implants and tissue engineering,” explains Khansari, adding that certain substances extracted from seaweed have mechanical and biological properties compatible with a range of human tissue.

It’s cutting-edge science such as this project that drew Dr Khansari from her native Iran eight years ago, when she enrolled in a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Wollongong.

“The university is a great platform for this type of work as it supports the knowledge transfer from research to clinic,” she says. “The combination of world-class facilities and a focus on translation allows for great things to happen.”

– Brendan Fitzpatrick

Afsaneh’s path:

> BSc, University of Kashan

> MSc, University of Guilan

> PhD, University of Wollongong

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