PhD student at the University of Queensland
Recipient of University of Queensland International and Research scholarship
Upon graduation from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Xiaoli went on to work in Bioprocessing Technology Institute (A*STAR), Singapore as a research assistant under the Stem Cell Group. My project then entailed culturing of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) in different platforms and media, characterization of these cells through gene and protein expression studies and tracking their metabolism.
Her experience with stem cell research piqued her interest in pursuing a PhD and she was awarded the University of Queensland International and Research scholarship to work with Prof. Peter Gray and team from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in University of Queensland. Apart from Prof Peter Gray, her supervisory team comprises of Prof Michael Monteiro, Dr Andrew Prowse and Dr Trent Munro.
The overall purpose of her project is to better understand the interactions between cell surface integrins and extracellular matrices. In order to do this, it will be first necessary to develop a culture platform that is reproducible, defined and maintains the integrity of cell surface integrins. As such, working together with Prof Monteiro who has expertise in the area of novel nanomaterials and polymer synthesis for biomedical applications, her current work largely involves optimisation of culture conditions so as to develop a method of enzyme-free propagation of hESCs in a chemically-defined, scalable 3-dimensional culture system based on protein-functionalized thermoresponsive polymer scaffolds.