I’m a postdoc in the Vascular Biology Group at St Vincent’s Institute. The lab is led by Associate Professor Geraldine Mitchell and Dr Kiryu Yap and focusses on tissue engineering techniques for vascular biology.

Current Project: Lab-Grown Skin Flaps for Reconstructive Surgery

In patients with a serious ‘difficult to heal’ wound, due to trauma, diabetes or cancer resection, healthy full-thickness skin is taken from patient donor sites, such as behind the ear, the abdomen or thigh, to cover the wound.

This is called a skin flap, and this procedure creates a secondary deep wound on the patient.

Our research group is investigating lab-made human skin flaps, from human stem cells that incorporate blood vessels and nerves. Eventually the lab-grown skin will be used to cover and promote healing of a patient’s skin wound. With the blood vessels and nerves connected to the patient’s blood vessels and nerves, allowing the patient’s blood to flow through and nourish the lab-grown skin and feel sensation.

A lab-grown skin flap will eliminate harvesting skin flaps from the patient and the second wound site that this creates.

Key Achievements

2024 Rising Star Award, St Vincent’s Institute

2024 Vice-President, St Vincent’s Institute Postdoctoral Society

2023-2024 Victorian ECR Representative, Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

2022-2024 Mackenzie Hummingbird Fellowship from the O’Brien Institute Foundation

2020-2024 President & Founder, ACMD BioFab Social and Academic Group (Biofabulous)

Publications

Kate Firipis, Mitchell Boyd-Moss, Benjamin Long, Chaitali Dekiwadia, William Hoskin, Elena Pirogova, David R. Nisbet, Robert M. I. Kapsa, Anita F. Quigley, and Richard J. Williams. “Tuneable Hybrid Hydrogels Via Complementary Self-Assembly of a Bioactive Peptide with a Robust Polysaccharide.” ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 7, no. 7 (2021): 3340-50. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c00675

Kate Firipis, David R. Nisbet, Stephanie J. Franks, Robert M. I. Kapsa, Elena Pirogova, Richard J. Williams, and Anita Quigley. “Enhancing Peptide Biomaterials for Biofabrication.” Polymers 13, no. 16 (2021): 2590. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13162590

Mitchell Boyd-Moss, Kate Firipis, Cathal D. O’Connell, Aaqil Rifai, Anita Quigley, Gareth Boer, Benjamin M. Long, David R. Nisbet, and Richard J. Williams. “Shining a Light on the Hidden Structure of Gelatin Methacryloyl Bioinks Using Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering (Saxs).”, Materials Chemistry Frontiers 5, no. 22 (2021): 8025-36. https://doi.org/10.1039/D1QM01010G

Kate Firipis, Elizabeth Footner, Mitchell Boyd-Moss, Chaitali Dekiwadia, David Nisbet, Robert M. I. Kapsa, Elena Pirogova, Richard J. Williams, and Anita Quigley. “Biodesigned Bioinks for 3d Printing Via Divalent Crosslinking of Self-Assembled Peptide-Polysaccharide Hybrids.” Materials Today Advances 14 (2022): 100243. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtadv.2022.100243

Elizabeth Footner, Kate Firipis, Emily Liu, Chris Baker, Peter Foley, Robert M. I. Kapsa, Elena Pirogova, Cathal O’Connell, and Anita Quigley. “Layer-by-Layer Analysis of In Vitro Skin Models”. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering 2023 9 (11), 5933-5952 https://doi.org/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.3c00283

Priscila Cardoso, Samuel Appiah Danso, Andrew Hung, Chaitali Dekiwadia, Nimish Pradhan, Jamie Strachan, Brody McDonald, Kate Firipis, Jacinta F. White, Arturo Aburto-Medina, Charlotte E. Conn, and Céline Valéry. “Rational Design of Potent Ultrashort Antimicrobial Peptides with Programmable Assembly into Nanostructured Hydrogels.” Original Research, Frontiers in Chemistry 10 (2023). https://doi.org/10.3389/fchem.2022.1009468