Professor Traian Chirila, our Chief Scientist, was born and educated in Romania, where he obtained a BEng in polymer technology and a PhD in organic chemistry. After ten years of research in polymers and organic chemistry, he relocated in 1983 to Australia, and in 1986 he joined Lions Eye Institute in Perth as a Senior Scientist where he established a department for research and development of polymeric biomaterials for ophthalmology, and ran it for nearly 20 years.
In 2005, he joined the Queensland Eye Institute (QEI) in Brisbane, where he was offered a position of Senior Scientist to continue his research and to establish a department of ophthalmic biomaterials and tissue engineering. Currently, Traian is the Chief Scientist at QEI, and also holds four adjunct/honorary professorships at the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland (in the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, and in the Faculty of Health Sciences), the University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Sciences and Technology of Targu Mures, Romania, and a Honorary Research Fellowship at the University of Western Australia.
He is a member of Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, American Chemical Society, and a Fellow of Royal Chemical Society (by invitation). He is on the editorial boards of 15 journals, the Founder Editor-in-Chief of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, and an Associate Editor of The Open Biomedical Engineering Journal.
Traian was made a Fellow of Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) in 1992 and received the RACI Polymer Division Citation in 1993 and the RACI Applied Research Medal in 1999.
He also received Diploma for Excellence from the Euro-Asia Promotion & Cultural Foundation – The Forum for the New Europe 2002, and the SBS Excellence Award from the Romanian Society for Biomaterials in 2014. In 2015 he was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University Politehnica of Timisoara, Romania, his alma mater.
Traian’s main research interests include polymer science, hydrogels, ophthalmic biomaterials, tissue engineering of the eye, supramolecular polymers, surgical adhesives, and UV medicine. His work and publications contributed seminally to several areas such as biomaterials and biocompatibility, development of hydrophilic sponges, artificial cornea, and artificial vitreous.
Traian is the inventor of the AlphaCor™ artificial cornea, and the AlphaSphere™ orbital implant, both in clinical practice. He and his colleagues at QEI have been the first to use silk proteins as biomaterials in ophthalmic tissue engineering.
Traian’s activity has resulted to date in about 200 journal articles and book chapters, the same number of conference presentations, and 17 patents; He has edited 3 books on ophthalmic biomaterials. Since 1987, he has obtained over AU$14 million in research funding and has supervised 15 doctoral students and 28 undergraduate students.
Professor Chirila has been invited to present lectures in China, USA, Japan, Romania, Italy, France, Switzerland, Korea, Germany and The Netherlands.