Dr Steven Wise

PhD, BSc (Hons I), University Medal
“I love coming to work everyday. Our research is constantly geared towards making a clinical difference, so every experiment brings us closer to that goal.”

Dr Steven Wise, BSc (Hons 1, University Medal, UWS 2001), PhD (USyd 2006) is Leader of the Applied Materials Group at the Heart Research Institute and Conjoint Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Central Clinical School of the University of Sydney. His research is focused on developing improved implantable scaffolds and devices, specialising in vascular implants, their blood compatibility and interactions with vascular cells. He completed a PhD on elastin structure and function at the University of Sydney, studying with Professor Anthony Weiss. Over the past 10 years, Dr Wise has made significant advancements in the development of new biomaterials and improved device surfaces for vascular applications, such as stents and grafts. 

Current Appointments

Applied Materials Group Unit Leader

Heart Research Institute

Conjoint Clinical Senior Lecturer, Sydney Medical School

University of Sydney

Honorary Associate, School of Molecular Bioscience

University of Sydney

Peer-reviewer

Acta Biomaterialia; Biofabrication

Journal of Biomaterials Science: Polymer Edition

Atherosclerosis, PLOSOne and Molecule

Professional Memberships

The Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (ASBTE)

The Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)

Dr Steven Wise leads group:
Research covers areas of:
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More about Dr Steven Wise

Research Project Opportunities
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Developing next generation silk vascular biomaterials

Silk fibroin is a versatile natural polymer with remarkable mechanical properties. Widely used as a suture material, purified silk is extremely well tolerated in the body. The biodegradability of silk can also be controlled during scaffold manufacture, making it a widely used biomaterial. We recently demonstrated that silk can be blended with other natural polymers to generate highly functional tissue replacements. We aim to further develop novel biomaterial platforms that mimic the native vasculature, functionalising silk materials with unique extracellular matrix proteins to control and guide cell interactions. A recent long-term in vivo study, published in JACC: Basic to Translational Science has demonstrated that silk grafts do better the longer they remain in place. Over time they integrate with the native tissue and cells, remodelling so that they become more like the host over several months. They are very well tolerated and show significantly improved signs of healing compared to the Gore-Tex controls. This project is in collaboration with key national and international colleagues Dr Jelena Rnjak-Kovacina (Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, UNSW) and Prof Cay Kielty (University of Manchester). 

Anti-inflammation biomaterials 

The development of more effective biomaterials for tissue repair aims to minimise the foreign body response by modulating immune cell function. We have developed a novel bioactive device coating for local and lasting modulation of the inflammatory response to implants, which overcomes the deficiencies of previous work. We employ a plasma ion surface activation technique which facilitates the covalent attachment of biomolecules while preserving their bioactivity. Further, we have identified key regulators of macrophage recruitment and polarisation for bioactive surface functionalisation. Bioactive signalling chemokines have not previously been immobilised on materials surfaces, representing a fundamentally new approach to local inflammation regulation. This project is in collaboration with A/Prof Bob Bao (University of Sydney) and Prof Marcela Bilek (School of Physics, University of Sydney).

A new class of nanoparticles 

Dr Miguel Santos of the Applied Materials Group has discovered a new class of nanoparticle. Made of plasma – the same substance that makes up lightning, our galaxy and the sun – they are so tiny that up to a billion can fit on the head of a pin. Nanoparticles can be used as carriers for drugs, genes and other biological agents, which can then be targeted at specific cells for treatment of patients. But progress in this highly promising field has stalled due to limitations of the current commercially available products. Our patented nanoparticles (Australian Provisional Patent no. 2016905306) overcome many of the limitations of current products. They come fully formed out of plasma reactors, in a cheap, scalable manufacturing process. They are easy to load with bioactive substances – just 5-minute incubation in water is all that is required. We have shown high doses to be safe in human cell culture and in biosafety studies in mice. Our first paper describing the platform has been accepted in ACS Applied Nano Materials and represents an important milestone in the technology development. As a platform, it could be customised to deliver treatment for any health condition, from heart disease to cancer and beyond. The work is a collaboration with Prof Marcela Bilek (School of Physics, University of Sydney).

Featured Publication
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Santos, M.#, Michael, P.L.#, Filipe, E., Chan, A.H.P., Hung, J., Tan, R.P., Lee, B. S-L., Huynh, M., Hawkins, C., Waterhouse, A., Bilek, M.M.M.† and Wise, S.G.† Plasma synthesis of nanocarriers for linker-free, spontaneous immobilization of bioactive cargo. ACS Applied Nano Materials. Accepted for publication 5th January, 2018. 
Filipe, E., Santos, M., Hung, J., Lee, B.S.L., Yang, N., Chan, A.H.P., Ng, M.K.C., Rnjak-Kovacina, J. and Wise, S.G. Rapid endothelialization of off-the-shelf small diameter silk vascular grafts. JACC: Basic to Translational. Accepted for publication 15th December, 2017.
Awards for Research
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2014     Sydney Medical School Early Career Researcher Overseas Travel Grant 
2013     Australia-China Young Researchers Exchange Program Fellow
2011     RPAH Cardiologist’s Award for the Best Clinical Publication
2010     SuTEN Early Career Researcher Prize
2017     Medical Device Commercialisation Training Program – Ignition Health
2000     B. Science (Advanced Program, Chemistry), University of Western Sydney
2001     Honours in Inorganic Chemistry (University Medal), University of Western Sydney, ‘The Synthesis and Characterisation of Ruthenium (II) Binuclear Complexes’
2006     PhD. in Biochemistry, University of Sydney, ‘A Mass Spectrometry Approach to Understanding Elastin Assembly’
Santos M, Filipe E, Michael P.L., Bilek M.M., Wise S.G., Nanoparticles. Australian Provisional Patent no. 2016905306. Original filing December 22nd, 2016.