JPhysD recently invited early-career researcher Endre Szili, Research Fellow at the Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia, to publish in a dedicated special issue for Emerging Leaders. His article, “The assessment of cold atmospheric plasma treatment of DNA in synthetic models of tissue fluid, tissue and cells” Endre J Szili et al 2017 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 50 274001, is available now on IOPscience. We asked Dr Szili to tell us about himself and his research, and here’s what he had to say.
What research projects are you and your group currently working on?
We are currently investigating the interactions of cold atmospheric plasma with tissue at a fundamental level. In particular, we are focusing on quantifying and elucidating the mechanisms of the delivery of the plasma generated reactive oxygen and nitrogen species into tissue and cells. To date, our research has shown that cold atmospheric plasma can efficiently deliver reactive oxygen and nitrogen species deep into tissue up to millimetres in depth and across cell membranes, which then influences the activity or function of the cells within the tissue. These results are significant in the context of the therapeutic potential of plasma, particularly where the deep delivery of the therapeutic agents is needed in order to successfully treat the diseased tissue. We are applying this fundamental knowledge to applications of plasma for the treatment of chronic wounds and in cancer therapy. Our research has been supported by the Australian Research Council and the Wound Management Innovation and the Cell Therapy Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centres.
What motivated you to pursue this field of research?
I became very interested in plasma medical sciences after I read the seminal review by Professor David Graves “The emerging role of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in redox biology and some implications for plasma applications to medicine and biology” J. Phys, D: Appl. Phys. 45 (2012) 263001. This review provided a comprehensive insight into how plasma might intervene in a number of cellular signalling processes important in the treatment of a range of diseases. Importantly, the review by David also helped us to begin understanding the mode-of-action of plasma in medical sciences. After having read this review a number of times I could see how plasma might work in treating diseases. I was motivated to pursue this field of research because I thought I could make a positive contribution in developing more detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of plasma in biology and medicine.
Where do you think the field is heading?
There is currently a huge amount of research activity in plasma medical sciences. The field has progressed from mainly applied research to more fundamental studies, particularly in the biology. And it is great to see the growing interest from medical doctors and biologists in plasma medical sciences. In the next 5-10 years, we should see much more fundamental research in this area. And I am hoping that there will be an even higher level of cooperation and collaboration amongst researchers and clinicians in this field, leading to larger, multi-centre clinical trials of plasma in wound decontamination/healing and cancer therapy.
If you weren’t a scientist, what would you be?
If I wasn’t a scientist I would like to be a natural historian because I like the outdoors, animals and natural environment.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I think the most rewarding aspect of my job is the opportunity to meet and collaborate with great people across the world. International collaborations not only help to advance your research but also provide you the opportunity to experience diverse cultures.
What advice would give to young scientists?
My advice to young scientists is to try to pursue what you believe in and are passionate about. If you can do this you will not only enjoy your work more, but you never know, it might help you to achieve the next major “breakthrough” or “discovery” in science.
And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
We live on a 5 acre property in the Adelaide Hills with a flock of friendly chickens and a “Sheep”; and I am an expert home brewer.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Image © Endre Szili, All Rights Reserved.
Categories: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics