Dr Nick Timmins
Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology
Building No. 75, Corner College and Cooper Roads,
The University of Queensland
St Lucia Qld 4072
p: +61 7 334 64219
f : +61 7 334 63973
My research focuses on the development of processes for routine manufacture of blood cells from haematopoietic progenitor cells, and process scale-up of mesenchymal stem cell cultivation.
Transfusion of blood cell products is a mainstay of modern medicine, from delivery of red blood cells (RBC) to replace blood lost through injury, through to haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation in an oncological setting. Increasing demand for blood cell products is paralleled by increasingly stringent donor exclusion criteria and prevalence of blood borne disease, placing pressure on global supply. Logistical considerations and donor distribution further hinder supply of blood products, with only 45% of whole blood donations collected in regions accounting for 80% of world population. Immunological matching further restricts donor availability for many applications, and for some cell types (e.g., neutrophils) limited life-span dictates almost immediate use following collection. It has long been proposed that ex vivo manufacture of blood cells from HSC could address donor supply and safety issues. A number of research groups have developed process for laboratory scale generation of red blood cells, neutrophils, and platelets from HSC, but none of these have sufficiently high yield to be of clinical relevance. We are developing process capable of producing clinically meaningful number of blood cells from HSC, and implementing these using large scale bioreactor technology for routine manufacture.
Mesenchymal stem cells have a range of applications including engineering bone and cartilage, repair of damaged cardiac tissue, and as an immunomodulatory agent in HSC transplant settings. In collaboration with Professor Kerry Atkinson's Adult Stem Cell group at the Mater Medical Research Institute, I am developing process technologies for large scale manufacture of clinical grade mesenchymal stem cells. (read more)
PhD (Chemical Engineering), The University of Queensland
B. Tech (Biotechnology) (Hons), Massey University, New Zealand
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, Australia
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland
Marturana F, Timmins NE, Nielsen LK (2011) Short term exposure of umbilical cord blood CD34+ cells to GM-CSF early in culture improves ex vivo expansion of neutrophils. Cytotherapy 13: 366-77. PMID: 20860426.
Dietmair S, Timmins NE, Gray PP, Nielsen LK, Krömer JO (2010) Toward quantitative metabolomics of mammalian cells: Development of a metabolite extraction protocol. Analytical Biochemistry 404:155-164. PMID: 20435011.
Leung A, Nielsen LK, Trau M, Timmins NE (2010) Tissue Transplantation by Stealth - Coherent Alginate Microcapsules for Immunoisolation. Biochem Eng J 48:337-347. doi:10.1016/j.bej.2009.10.007.
Timmins NE, Palfreyman E, Marturana F, Dietmair S, Luikenga S, Lopez G, Fung YL, Minchinton R, Nielsen LK (2009) Clinical Scale Ex vivo Manufacture of Neutrophils from Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells. Biotechnol Bioeng 104:832-40. PMID: 19591208.
Timmins NE, Nielsen LK (2009) Blood cell manufacture: current methods and future challenges. Trends Biotechnol 27:415-422. PMID: 19500866.
Timmins NE, Scherberich A, Fruh JA, Heberer M, Martin I, Jakob M. 2007. Three-dimensional cell culture and tissue engineering in a T-CUP (tissue culture under perfusion). Tissue Eng 13(8):2021-8.
Timmins NE, Harding FJ, Smart C, Brown MA, Nielsen LK. 2005. Method for the generation and cultivation of functional three-dimensional mammary constructs without exogenous extracellular matrix. Cell Tissue Res 320(1):207-10.
Timmins NE, Dietmair S, Nielsen LK. 2004a. Hanging-drop multicellular spheroids as a model of tumour angiogenesis. Angiogenesis 7(2):97-103.
Timmins NE, Maguire TL, Grimmond SM, Nielsen LK. 2004b. Identification of three gene candidates for multicellular resistance in colon carcinoma. Cytotechnology 46:9-18.
Kelm JM, Timmins NE, Brown CJ, Fussenegger M, Nielsen LK. 2003. Method for generation of homogeneous multicellular tumor spheroids applicable to a wide variety of cell types. Biotechnol Bioeng 83(2):173-80.
Wendt D, Timmins NE, Malda J, Janssen F, Ratcliffe A, Vunjak-Novakovic G, Martin I. 2008. Tissue Engineering. In: van Blitterswijk C, editor. Bioreactors for Tissue Engineering. London: Elsevier. p 483-506.
Timmins NE, Nielsen LK. 2007. Generation of multicellular tumour spheroids by the hanging drop method. In: Fussenegger M, Hauser H, editors. Methods in molecular medicine. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Humana Press. p 141-152.