Dr Kiara Bruggeman

PhD (Eng - Biomedical), Hons (Eng - Nanotechnology), Hons (Sci - Chemistry)
ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics

Areas of expertise

  • Biomaterials 090301

Research interests

Biomaterials and drug delivery systems for tissue engineering/regenreative medicine, with a focus on brain tissue


Originally from the snowy land of Canada, Kiara followed the sun--and her passion for biomaterials--to Australia to join the Laboratory of Advanced Biomaterials at ANU, where she completed her PhD developing drug delivery systems within hydrogel materials used to help repair/regenerate damaged brain tissue. With Honours degrees in Nanotechnology Engineering and Chemistry (from the University of Waterloo in Canada), as well as industry experience doing R&D at a nanotechnology start-up, geochemistry research for mine waste management at a government laboratory, and working with the management team in a large nuclear power plant, she has diverse experience to draw on when solving and teaching complex engineering problems.


Researcher's projects

Multilayer Nanofibre Delivery Vehicles

This project aims to combine several tissue engineering materials and strategies for best effect. Hydrogels, including the nanofibrous self-assembling peptide (SAP) hydrogels used in the Laboratory of Advanced Biomaterials, and electrospun polymers are two well explored and promising tissue engineering materials that support and promote cell growth. Meanwhile, multilayered design is a promising approach to achieve controlled drug delivery in nanoparticles. This project intends to use multi-layered electrospun nanofibres, cut into short fibres and mixed into SAP hydrogels to act as nanoparticle-like drug delivery vehicles. Compared to nanoparticles, these fibres provide more structural support and locational resilience (i.e.: they stay in place, which is ideal for implanted tissue engineering material applications, unlike the systemic delivery application for which nanoparticles are often designed).  

The initial work on this project has been published in Nanoscale 9 (36), 13661-13669


Reverse UV Controlled Drug Delivery

Stimuli responsive drug delivery systems usually follow the pattern of releasing drugs in response to the stimulus (light, heat, biological signal, etc.). This project aims to do the reverse, to use UV stimulus as a trigger to stop or reduce the delivery. When nanoparticles diffuse out of our self-assembling peptide (SAP) hydrogels, the release rate increases over time, so the ability to partially halt delivery could allow us to keep the delivered dose within the therapeutic window (high enough to be effective right away, but not increasing to the point of causing toxic side effects). Achieving this relies on the demonstrated ability of our SAP hydrogels to retain the drugs we’re using within their nanofibrous structure. Drugs bound to nanoparticles diffuse out with the nanoparticles, and the UV stimulus is used to break the bond between drug and nanoparticle, allowing the drugs to attach instead to the SAP hydrogel and thereby reducing the amount of drugs leaving on the nanoparticles.

The initial work on this project has been presented at the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering (ASBTE) 2017 Conference


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Updated:  03 March 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers