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Deciphering Immune Response to Bioengineered Meshes

Pelvic organ Prolapse (POP) is a debilitating urogynecological disorder arising from vaginal birth trauma that goes unrecognised, and culminates as a chronic diagnosis, decades later. POP affects 50% of post-menopausal parous women, and detrimentally impacts their physical, sexual, psychological and social well-being. Until recently, non degradable meshes made of polypropylene were commonly used to mitigate the high failure rates of native tissue repair. However, such meshes were banned in Australia in 2017 owing to the unacceptable rates of complications such as mesh erosion, exposure and pain. It is now understood that such adversities arise from disruption of microenvironment after meshes implantation, lack of biocompatibility and inferior mesh designs that trigger undesirable foreign body immune responses which ultimately lead to implant failure. However, the key mediators of the immunomodulatory response remain elusive. Thus, in order to develop the next generation of surgical meshes and cellular therapies for POP treatment, it is critical to understand the immunological considerations after implantation. This project aims to determine the key molecular players enabling foreign body response modulation to implanted biomaterials and regenerative stem cells. The study utilizes our established in vitro cell culture models, pre-clinical models, medical genomics and advanced imaging to understand how innovative bioengineering strategies can be harnessed to mitigate the undesirable post-surgical immune response in order to overcome the current hurdles in pelvic reconstructive surgery. Our team involves engineers, biomedical scientists, and surgeons. We welcome students from diverse academic backgrounds with an interest in immunology and women’s health to contribute to this multi-disciplinary project.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
women's health, surgery, maternal health, immunology, stem cells, nanotechnology, animal model, pelvic organ prolapse, birth trauma
School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health / Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Available options 
Masters by research
Short projects
Joint PhD/Exchange Program
Medical Education
Time commitment 
Top-up scholarship funding available 
Physical location 
Monash Health Translation Precinct (Monash Medical Centre)
Saeedeh Darzi
Caroline Gargett

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