MedTech Actuator 2021 Menzies Scholar: Marta Orlowska

MedTech Actuator 2021 Menzies Scholar: Marta Orlowska

MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholar Marta Orlowska is transforming her impact by investigating the molecular and metabolic basis behind time-of-day dependent heart attacks.

Marta Orlowska is a PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the Queensland University of Technology and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. She holds a First class Degree diploma in BSc (Hons) Microbiology and Biotechnology from Edinburgh Napier University with experience in biomedical engineering, as well as microfluidics and microfabrication.

Analysing  metabolic fluctuations caused by the circadian rhythm to eliminate heart attacks

Marta is looking at time-of-day dependent factors that affect circadian rhythms and cause metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Circadian rhythm is a near 24-hour oscillation of all the natural processes happening within our body.

The primary function of circadian rhythm is to maintain bodily homeostasis. Therefore, disturbances lead to diseases whose severity and occurrence can be time-of-day dependent. The reasons behind this correlation are unknown and current models cannot address it, as they are unable to eliminate any of the two aforementioned factors.

Marta analysing cell cultures as part of her PhD research

“My project is looking to address this knowledge gap. Through the individual exclusion of the circadian rhythm factors, we are trying to find causes behind time-of-day dependent cardiovascular pathologies and how preventative methodologies and treatments against this correlation would help”.

Marta has been passionate and deeply interested in the cardiovascular system since her childhood. Having people close to her impacted by chronic fatigue and circadian rhythm dysfunction has given her a deep sense of purpose to create preventative methods and treatments against ischemia, one of the biggest causes of mortality globally.

“This project gives me the chance to undertake a number of my passions, including performing innovative research in my field using cutting edge technology, commercialising new discoveries and giving back to the community. It gives me a deep sense of purpose as I can be a part of innovative preventative methods and solutions,” says Marta.

Marta performing experiments in the lab as part of her PhD research.
Marta performing experiments in the lab as part of her PhD research.

Science, research commercialisation and entrepreneurship with the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship recipients embark on a four-month scholarship, where they gain knowledge from leading industry experts, work alongside Australia’s emerging healthcare entrepreneurs and receive mentorship from MedTech Actuator. 

“I am excited about becoming an entrepreneur and commercialising technology to change the world. I’m eager to build on the skills and knowledge gained from my time in the MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship and continue to network and expose myself to more opportunities in the ecosystem,” says Marta.

The scholarship encourages the next generation of emerging health leaders to build strong foundations in commercialisation. In doing so, this program supports the scientific community’s capacity to bring innovation to the market by facilitating knowledge transfer from industry to scientists and researchers.

Marta was able to overcome project design challenges with guidance from the program, leverage product design sessions and her network to forge an improved final design. After completing multiple prototype designs, Marta strengthened her design vision and built a bioreactor with multiple application options.   

“I had no previous experience with commercialisation processes, so learning about the whole journey and different options to finance a project was essential. The most beneficial aspect of this program is the network of like-minded individuals who are at different stages of a similar journey. Everyone is really keen to help out and be there for you, which transforms this program into a life-changing experience,” adds Marta.

The scholarship program exposes awardees to the ecosystem through intensive learning, networking, mentorship and coaching so that you learn about the journey behind translating research into a healthcare startup before embarking on it. 

”Every person along my research journey has contributed to my life, career and successes. I have been lucky to get a great mentor through the IMNIS program as well as hands-on supervisors throughout my academic career,” says Marta.

Are you a future MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholar?

Apply now- MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship
Apply now- MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship 2022

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship is an opportunity for scientists, researchers and innovators to explore the world of entrepreneurship, research commercialisation and MedTech, BioTech and HealthTech startups. 

“Learn as much as you can about your product and the end goal. Be ready for anything that can come your way, as this pathway is not linear and there may be lots of hurdles, but it is worth it,” advises Marta for those starting this journey.  

Applications are now open for the 2022 MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarships. Find out more about the program and apply now.

You can also join MedTech Actuator Program and Community Coordinator, Makenzie Thomas for an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on July 6. Register here.

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The MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship is supported by the Menzies Foundation as part of their Entrepreneurship in Science mission.

Meet Matt – Commercial & Partnership Director

Commercial and Partnership Director Matt Frith works with the MedTech Actuator team to develop and drive the execution of strategies to ensure the long term growth of the MedTech Actuator, and its programs such as MedTech Actuator Accelerator, Origin, Menzies Scholarship and Fellowship, and its ecosystem across Australia and the Asia-Pacific. This includes engaging with and supporting startup founders and developing and managing strategic relationships with key partners and stakeholders across public policy, health, and innovation ecosystems.

With an Executive MBA with Distinction from RMIT University, Matt is a successful and impact-driven senior leader with over 15 years of industry and innovation ecosystem experience leading and delivering complex commercial projects and partnerships to drive business and profit growth and social impact. His partnerships experience spans senior Sales & Marketing and Commercial roles in global manufacturing businesses with responsibility for managing teams, annual revenue budgets ranging from $40-$80 million, and strategic relationships with key partners across Australia, NZ and Asia.

Creating impact through innovation 

Matt has built programs to support, and collaborated with inventors, researchers, and technical R&D experts to successfully commercialise and translate new innovations. He worked within RMIT’s Activator team to establish and implement the inaugural startup and innovation programs. And for the last 4 years, he has supported The University of Queensland with the commercial development and launch of evidence-based digital health intervention, BeUpstanding, which is being used by thousands of employees to improve their health at work. 

With a passion for generating impact through innovation, Matt founded kin8 and over the last 7 years has delivered innovation commercialisation and change management projects for a network of diverse clients including RMIT University, The University of Queensland, JLL, Haworth, TALi Health, Fire Protection Association, Whitehorse City Council, LaunchVic, Defence Innovation Hub, The Victorian Government, and the Shared Value Project. 

“I’m looking forward to building on the solid foundation of existing relationships, networks, and diverse MedTech Actuator partners, and developing new collaborations that create mutual value”, says Matt.

Matt is super excited with the momentum and the ambitious growth plans that are in motion to further scale MedTech Actuator in the Asia Pacific region. With this, he can support an even greater number of founders to successfully commercialise innovative new technologies that will change the face of healthcare. He is passionate about the MedTech, HealthTech, and BioTech innovations leading to more personalised health care and a future where we can better understand, prevent, and treat mental health conditions.

“I’m driven to rapidly expand MedTech Actuator’s impact even further, and I’m inspired by founders that have the courage to take on the challenge of developing an innovative MedTech, HealthTech or BioTech startup.”

Meet our team

More on how the MedTech Actuator team is supporting Asia Pacific’s next wave of health innovators – meet: