Despite a tremendously competitive field, the Kolling Institute’s Dylan Ashton has won the 2021 Cooperative Research Australia Early Career Research competition.
Dylan is part of the team investigating the effectiveness of kangaroo tendons to treat ACL injuries. He has worked on the project for several years and has welcomed the announcement.
“I am extremely thankful for Cooperative Research Australia’s efforts to link universities and industry to drive innovation and stimulate research and development,” he said.
“I have always been passionate about translatable research, and I think universities and industry have a lot to offer each other.
“I’m very grateful to have been able to compete in this year’s early career research competition and delighted to have won. This however, has always been a team effort and I could not have achieved anything without the ongoing support, encouragement and wisdom of my supervisors A/Professor Elizabeth Clarke, Professor Christopher Little and Dr Carina Blaker.
As the Director of the Murray Maxwell Biomechanics Laboratory, A/Professor Clarke said Dylan’s award represents a significant achievement.
“This prestigious award is a great opportunity to recognise the research achievements of our rising stars and to highlight the fantastic, industry-linked, translational musculoskeletal research underway at the Kolling Institute,” she said.
The award will also highlight the research assessing the suitability of kangaroo tendons to treat ACL injuries.
“As a sport loving country, Australia is seeing a consistent rise in the number of ACL injuries, particularly in children between 5 and 14 years, and a rise in surgical reconstructions,” Dylan said.
“If you were to rupture your ACL today, your surgeon would source a tendon from either your own leg or a tissue donor. However, each has inherent limitations which has driven research into alternative graft sources. Off-the-shelf synthetic grafts aim to address these issues but release synthetic particles which can lead to spontaneous failure.
“Our team is working with orthopaedic company Bone Ligament Tendon to develop a natural graft using kangaroo tendon which is superior, environmentally sustainable and uniquely Australian.
“We have welcomed the opportunity to discuss this important program of research.”