• Biomedical engineering
  • Cardiology
  • Immunology
  • Respiratory and Thoracic
  • Trauma and Critical care

Location: Prince Charles Hospital

Type of student: PhD or MPhil only

Type of work: 

  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Systematic review
  • Wet lab work

Critical Care Research Group

The CCRG is based at the Australia’s largest cardiothoracic hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital, and utilized the huge potential of integrating technology and biology in combating cardiovascular disease. The group is a multi-disciplinary team consists of clinicians, scientists and engineers. It aims to improve understanding and better technologies to improve the outcomes of transplanted organs and mechanical assist devices (MADs), used by clinicians in the management and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Since its establishment by Prof. John Fraser in 2004, the CCRG has attracted more than $28 million in grants and industry funding, published over 300 papers, and was awarded the first NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence for MADs. The CCRG also has active, ongoing collaboration with The Alfred Hospital and St Vincent Hospital, the three major cardiac hospital in Australia. In addition, the group belongs to multiple national and international research network, including ECMOnet, EuroELSO, APELSO, ANZICS, etc. The group specialised in large, clinically validated large animal model with state of the art research facility. We also have an extensive network of collaborators with UQ, within Australia and overseas.

Research Projects are available in a number of areas for masters (research/coursework), and PhD students. Projects can range from animal experiments, to biological characterization of tissue samples, to translation of research to improve current clinical outcomes. Large animal, pre-clinical study is a major focus of the CCRG, but through collaborations with other research scientists (at UQ and overseas), we encourage multidisciplinary projects. Students will be expected to apply for research funding and the group has a strong track-record in mentoring students to obtain novice grant successfully (up to $10,000ea). Students will also gain valuable experience working with leading clinician researchers from major hospitals around Australia, as well as cutting edge researchers in medical engineering and biomedical science.

Currently available projects

  • The Dead Heart Project – When is a dead heart truly dead?

Student will be involve in a multi-disciplinary team across the 3 biggest cardiac hospital in Australia. The project aims to improve the quantity and quality of donor heart through organ reconditioning and new donor source, as well as understanding ischemia-induced molecular damage to cardiomyocyte during transplant. The model is clinically relevant with transplants performed by leading cardiothoracic surgeons in Australia.

  • Treating Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) with mesenchymal stem cells

ARDS is a critical illness with unacceptably high mortality rate (up to 45%). To date, there is no effective treatment, partly due to its heterogeneity nature. We explore the possibilities in treatment ARDS via mesenchymal stem cells. Student will have work with commercial-grade stem cells provided by industry partner. There is also opportunity to a short-term visit to our collaborator at UK.

  • Impact of Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) on leukocytes

ECMO is a life saving device for patients with severe cardiac and/or respiratory dysfunction. It allows patients to rest in otherwise life-threatening situations. However, mortality remains high. This undesirable outcome is often associated with immune perturbation mediated by the contact of patient blood cells with the foreign surface of ECMO. This project aims to better understand the impact of ECMO on leukocyte fate.

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding caused by ventricular assist device (VAD)

Gastrointestinal bleeding is one of the most common complications in patients with continuous flow VAD (artificial mechanical hearts), but the exact cause is unknown. This project involves testing whole blood and endothelial responses to different flow conditions by connecting vascular models to commercially-available VADs (some of them may have been removed from patients.). Students will develop skills in cell culture, blood circuit assembly, flow cytometry and fluorescent microscopy

For more information of the group and available projects, please contact Dr. Jacky Suen

Visit the Critial Care Research Group website


Professor John Fraser

Academic Title-Professor
Prince Charles Hospital Northside Clinical Unit

Main contact

Dr Jacky Suen
Research Fellow
Prince Charles Hospital Northside Clinical Unit