Javad Naderi, PhD student and IMNIS Mentee in the 2017 MedTech-Pharma program – University of South Australia (SA) [Image: Hanieh Safizadeh Shirazi]

“I think the most important aspect of [IMNIS] is having access to … a mentor who is engaged with the industry and knows how things work from the inside.”

My name is Javad Naderi, PhD student at University of South Australia. Currently I am a part of the IMNIS MedTech-Pharma program in South Australia. I got my Bachelor’s degree in Material Engineering (Industrial Metallurgy) from Iran and then moved to Malaysia to get Master’s in Manufacturing Engineering. I was employed for six months as a research assistant at University of Malaya in Malaysia during my study. My master thesis title was “Improve the Surface Hardness of the Carbon Steel by Electrodeposited Nickel-Phosphorous (Ni-P) Coating for Automobile Application”.

After getting my Master’s degree in 2014, I applied for PhD in Australia and awarded full scholarship from University of South Australia in 2015.

My PhD project is focused on “Mechanism for Combating Fungal Biofilms on Biomaterial surfaces”. In this research I am creating different biocompatible polymer coatings by plasma polymerization which is a simple, easy technique to produce thin layer coating on any type of surfaces for reversible and irreversible attachment of known antifungal compounds. Adhesion of fungal cells onto biomaterial surfaces is a first step for biofilm formation. Hence, this initial attachment should be prevented, which can be done with two different approaches for long and short time usage of implanted devices.

Long-time usage:

My first strategy to combat fungal biofilms is preparing ethanol or propionic acid plasma polymer coatings with covalently bound selective antifungal agents. These antifungal coatings can be used for long-lasting effects on biomaterial surfaces like tooth, hip, knee and contact lens implants in contact with fungal cells.

Short-time usage:

My second strategy is to encapsulate and release low molecular weight antifungal agents. As a carrier coating for releasing these agents, heptylamine plasma polymer is a good option as it has good absorption/loading property while supporting mammalian cell attachment during temporary usage of biomedical devices including urinary catheters and wound dressing.

 Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?

This would be a great chance for me to know more about working in industry and I am really keen to know more people in that area. I am also interested to expand my skills by making collaboration between academia and industry to increase my employability.

What is the most important aspect of this professional relationship for you?

I think the most important aspect of this program is having access to someone as a mentor who is engaged with the industry and knows how things work from the inside and how to make myself more attractive to people who enjoy innovation as much as I do.

What do you hope your mentor can help you achieve and what is the best piece of advice you have received so far?

I hope my mentor can assist me to make myself a valuable member of a compatible team to solve the problems and overcome obstacles not only as a normal employee. The best advice I have received until now was to be more engaged in industrial networking and to know more people who are related to my research area.

What are the top 3 key things you hope to learn through the IMNIS program?

  • How to make myself an attractive asset for like-minded people
  • How to pitch my ideas to these people in an interesting and engaging way
  • How to improve my networking skills

What has been the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you so far?

Having better idea about commercializing an IP.