Researcher spotlight:
Dr Shayanti Mukherjee

Leading women’s health scientist Dr Shayanti Mukherjee is developing new nanomaterials to help stem cell-based treatments improve the lives of millions of women worldwide with pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

One single endometrial mesenchymal stem cell attaches and interacts with nanofibres at nanoscale.

What motivates you to come to work every day?

I was appalled to discover no safe and effective treatment for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) exists and that the condition worsens with age. I thought my background in materials engineering could make a real difference to women.

I work on developing new nanomeshes to treat POP. These are made with naturally therapeutic cells from a woman’s womb. This incredible process protects women and provides a solution by avoiding harmful foreign body immune responses— and detrimental side effects—after surgery.

What is your biggest career highlight?

Being awarded my SIEF (Science and Industry Endowment Fund) Fellowship to support my stem cell research. I was new to Australia when I initiated this project idea with two of my now colleagues, whom I met at a conference. To have our plan come to fruition and be awarded such a competitive Fellowship was a game changer in my career.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Cooking dinner for my family and friends is one of my favourite things. In the past, I have been a Bollywood dance instructor. However, since the birth of my daughter last year, singing rhymes and playing in the park are my most favourite things to do. I also enjoy travelling and snorkelling in places with amazing sea life. I can’t wait to be able to do this again once the COVID-19 outbreak is over!

At Hudson Institute the diverse research areas, support for early career researchers, equity, diversity and flexible work environment have made all the difference to my research and home life.

WHAT IS POP?

  • POP affects one in four women worldwide, and up to 50 per cent of mothers over 50
  • POP gradually develops due to childbirth when the muscles, tissues and ligaments supporting the pelvic organs (the uterus, bladder and bowel) are weakened or damaged.

From the issue…