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Dr Tan is a bioengineer with a multidisciplinary background in materials engineering, vascular biology and pathological inflammation.

Originally from the USA (San Francisco, CA), he completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA, USA) in 2008. He then came to Australia and completed a Masters of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales in 2010. From 2010–2015, he worked as a Research Assistant investigating pathological inflammation in neurodegenerative disease at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

In 2015, he started his PhD studies at The University of Sydney through the Heart Research Institute, working on bioengineered cardiovascular implants. He recently finished his PhD in 2019 and is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Officer with the HRI’s Applied Materials Group, developing next-generation immunomodulatory vascular materials.

Science gives you the power to turn your imagination into solutions that breathe life back into patients suffering from debilitating diseases.”

Prizes and awards

2018 Heart Research Institute, Student of the Year Award

2018 Australia-China Conference of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (ACCTERM), Best Oral Presentation Award

2018 Sydney Cardiovascular Symposium, Rising Star Award

2018 Sydney Cardiovascular Drug Discovery, Young Investigator Award

2018 Sydney University Dean’s Prize, Student Publication Commendation Award

2018 Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERMIS) World Congress, Young Investigator Award

2017 Heart Research Institute, Publication of the Year Award

2017 International Society for Heart Research, Student Publication Award

2017 Australian Society of Medical Research, Best Oral Presentation Award

2016 Heart Research Institute, International Presentation of the Year Award

2016 Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ), Student Finalist Award

2008 Georgia Institute of Technology, Presidential Undergraduate Research Award


Cardiovascular Initiative (The University of Sydney), Catalyst Grant, 2018

The University of Sydney, Postgraduate Research Support Scheme, 2016-2018

Heart Research Institute, Travel Grant, 2016

The University of Sydney, Merit Top-up Scholarship Award, 2015-2018

The University of Sydney, Australian Post-graduate Award, 2015-2018


Professor Marcela Bilek, Applied and Plasma Physics Research Group, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Martin Ng, Senior Staff Specialist, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Professor Yin Xiao, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology

Professor Peter Thorn, Chair of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Sanjay Patel, Cell Therapeutics, Heart Research Institute

Professor John Cooke, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Houston Methodist

Professor Bryce Vissel, Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, University of Technology Sydney

Dr. Jelena Rnjack-Kovacina, Faculty of Engineering, University of New South Wales


Tan, R.P., Santos, M., Hung J.C., Wise, S.G., “Plasma Polymer Nanoparticles Carrying Biologically Active Agents”, Australian Provisional Patent Application No. 2019185728, 11 February 2019

Media appearances

Out with the old and in with the new – Biosynthetic polymers to replace damaged body parts”, Australian Society for Medical Research, Media Release 6/6/2016

“Glowing Stem Cells Mend Broken Hearts”, The Daily Telegraph, 3/3/2017

Synthetic Arteries Bypass the Immune System to Mend Broken Hearts”, Australian Society for Medical Research, Media Release 2/6/2017

Heart Patch Helps Stem Cells Work Magic”, Channel 9 Evening News, 19/4/2019