Lab members


James Carthew James Carthew

James obtained his PhD from the University of Durham in 2016 which focused on exploring the roles of the LINC complex network in breast cancer metastasis and mechano-transduction. His PhD provided an insight into the roles of Nesprins in cellular migration and provided a proof of concept that nuclear deformability constitutes a rate limiting step in cellular migration through 3D culture environments, which could provide a novel target for cancer therapies in the near future.

In 2016, he joined the Frith lab at Monash University to explore the roles of target miRNAs and environmental influence on stem cell differentiation. His research interests cover the area of LINC complex derived mechano-transduction, mesenchymal stem cells, cancer metastasis, the cytoskeleton, extracellular matrix, materials engineering and tissue engineering.


Luis Malaver

Luis Fernando is a Medical Scientist from Bogota, Colombia.  He finished his PhD studies at Monash University where he investigated the phenomenon of cellular reprogramming and germ cell differentiation. Since then he has been working in the development of genetically tailored cell lines for various applications; from monitoring cellular behaviour to investigate the interface between materials and tissue, to modulating homeostatic responses to increase production in animal cell technology-based industries.

In a collaboration with Prof Nico Voelcker and Dr Victor Cadarso, he joined Jess’ group in 2018 as a research fellow to investigate the application of micronano topographies in order to tailor tissue-material interactions during the development of intelligent surfaces for the improvement of vascular and orthopaedic implants.




PhD Students

Surakshya Shrestha

“A microRNA delivery system to induce bone repair by mesenchymal stem cells”

Co-supervisors: John Forsythe

Ilze Donderwinkel

“Tissue-engineering the enthesis”

Co-supervisors: Rocky Tuan (CUHK) and Neil Cameron

Photo for website_IlzeIlze received her M.Sc. in Molecular Life Sciences from Radboud University, Nijmegen, in 2017. During her studies, she investigated the role of drug transporters in proximal tubule epithelial cells in the excretion of uremic toxins under supervision of dr. Jitske Jansen and Prof.dr. Roos Masereeuw (RIMLS, Nijmegen), and worked on a polymer-based artificial antigen-presenting cell in the group of Jan van Hest (Radboud University), and on polymeric antibiotic delivery vehicles in the group of Prof.dr. Neil Cameron (Monash University).

At the end of 2017, she joined the Frith lab at Monash University as a PhD student working on hydrogel scaffolds for enthesis repair. The enthesis is the attachment site of a tendon, ligament or joint capsule to bone. The bone-tendon interface transfers stress to the tendon or bone, and is therefore subject to wear and tear. Common and well-known injuries of the bone-tendon interface are the tennis elbow and jumper’s knee. As the enthesis does not restore to its natural anatomy after injury, there is an increase chance of re-injury and prolonged disability. The anatomy of the enthesis is complex, consisting of four zones within a length of 1 mm. The overarching goal of this project therefore, will be to develop a tissue engineered enthesis mimicking this complex native biochemical, biomechanical, and cellular properties of the different zones of the enthesis.

Maria del Rocio Garcia Cruz

Tissue bio-printed muscle patch for repair following heart attack”

Co-supervisors: Laurence Meagher (primary)

Maria Garcia

She received her Bachelor degree in Biochemistry from University of Seville (Spain) in 2012, and MSc in Biochemistry, Molecular biology and Biomedicine from Univerity Complutense of Madrid (Spain) in 2014. During her MSc she  investigated the function of the telomeric RNA and the Sirtuins 1&6 on telomere length regulation in lung cancer, for the use of these elements as possible prognostic markers.

Maria was accepted as a PhD student at Monash University in 2016, under the supervision of Laurence Meagher and Jess Frith. She is currently working in the field of cardiac tissue engineering, aiming to improve cardiac regeneration after heart attack by developing a 3D bio-printed scaffold with similar properties as the myocardium based on the extrusion of designed biomaterials with encapsulated cardiac progenitors.

Her research interests include stem cell biology, tissue engineering, biomedical and genetic engineering as well as 3D bio-printing.

Kaushik Rangarajan

“Biomechanics of stem cells growing on synthetic, chemically defined polymer coatings”

Co-supervisors: Laurence Meagher

Erin Brodie

“Development of 3D Printed, Tuned Materials for Maxillofacial Reconstructive Surgery”

Erin Brodie

Co-supervisors: Andrey Molotnikov (primary)

Erin graduated from a double degree of Bachelor of Materials Engineering (Hons)/Bachelor of Arts (German) from Monash University in 2016. A curiosity for how metals bond to bone led her to begin a PhD in 2017 focusing on developing new additively manufactured materials for facial implants. Throughout this research she is working closely with head and neck surgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Sigston, intent on developing an implant to improve the quality of life of patients.

Her research is directed toward metallic alloy development using Selective Laser Melting (SLM) processing and she is working with the Frith laboratory to assess which alloy is most suited for bone implant applications. The additively manufactured alloys are assessed for both their mechanical properties and biological response, through direct contact with MSCs.