Blog icon

Dr Keith McLean

Senior Principal Research Scientist


Please enter a valid first name

Please enter a valid last name

Please enter a valid email address

Please enter your message to send to the contact

Contact details:



Keith McLean has a Ph.D. in industrial microbiology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland where he developed expertise in oilfield microbiology, biofouling and bacterial surface interactions. Following spells in industry and industrial postdoctoral fellowships in New Zealand he joined CSIRO in 1989. In CSIRO, he worked on a project with BHP on wastewater treatment and on a project on fermentation to produce the anticancer drug bleomycin. He joined the surface chemistry group at CSIRO in 1996 working on surface modification and characterisation for ophthalmic and other polymeric biomaterials applications. He was a team member (1996 - 2008) and project leader (from 2003 to 2005) of the implantable contact lens project in the VisionCRC. This team designed a polymer, surface and surgical methods for an implantable contact lens application which entered a phase 1 clinical trial. This team won the 2004 Royal Societies of Australia Eureka Award for Interdisciplinary Research and the 2009 CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement. He was the Research Theme Leader for Biomedical Materials and Devices in CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering from 2006 to 2014 leading an 80 member team of polymer and surface chemists and biologists developing biomaterials for tissue engineering, stem cell propagation and implantable devices. He was Program Leader for Biomedical Polymers in the CRC for Polymers and Project Leader from 2008 - 2012 of the Biomanufacturing Project the aim of which was to develop novel materials for stem cell proliferation . He became Director of CSIRO Manufacturing in July 2014 where he leads 350 scientists and engineers developing solutions for high-tech Australian manufacturing. In particular, CSIRO Manufacturing is directed to research in Biomedical Manufacturing; Chemical and Fibre Industries; Metals Manufacturing and Innovative Manufacturing. McLean's research interests include surface modification and characterisation of polymers and their interactions with proteins, cells and tissues; development of low fouling surfaces and self-assembling materials. He is a Past President of the Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Inc. and was a member of the Scientific Committee of the 7th World Biomaterials Congress. He was a delegate (2008-2012) to the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering and is currently Secretary (2012-20). He has been a Keynote and Plenary Invited speaker at national and international conferences and reviews for several journals, Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council and NSERC (Canada). He was a Board Member of the CRC Polymers; Biomedical Research Victoria, HySSIL Pty Ltd. and veski and was on the Governance Committee of the ARC Special Research Initiative Stem Cells Australia (2012-16); the Advisory Boards of the Institute for Frontier Materials (Deakin Univ 2012-2015) and the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute. He was a Council Member of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (2015 - 2018); Member of the Prime Minister's Industry 4.0 Taskforce and the Advisory Council of Chemistry Australia (2016-17) McLean was admitted as Chartered Chemist of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute in 2006, a Fellow in 2017 and was elected a Fellow, Biomaterials Science and Engineering in 2016.

Current Roles

  • Senior Principal Research Scientist

Professional Experiences

  • 1985-1986

    Corrosion Specialists (North Sea) Ltd

  • 1986-1987

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    NCIMB Ltd

  • 1987-1989

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    University of Waikato

  • 1989-1991

    Research Scientist
    CSIRO Division of Exploration Geoscience

  • 1991-1994

    Postdoctoral Fellow
    CSIRO Chemicals and Polymers

  • 1994-1996

    Research Scientist
    CSIRO Chemicals and Polymers

  • 1996-2006

    Research Scientist and Project Leader
    CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies

  • 2006-2014

    Research Theme Leader
    CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering

  • 2014-2020

    Director Manufacturing
    CSIRO Manufacturing

Achievements and Awards

  • 2004

    Eureka Award for Interdisciplinary Science
    CRC Eye Research and Technology

  • 2009

    CSIRO Award for Research Achievement

Other highlights

  • 2016

    Fellow, Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE)

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2015-2018

    Director, Victorian Endowment for Science Knowledge and Innovation

  • 2012-2019

    CSIRO Chinese Academy of Science Joint Steering Committee

  • 2015-2018

    Council Member, Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council

  • 2102-2015

    Advisory Board, Institute for Frontier Materials Deakin University

  • 2008-2010

    President, Australiasian Society for Biomaterials and Engineering

  • 2008-2012

    Australian Delegate to International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering

  • 2008-2008

    International review committee of NSERC 20:20 Ophthalmic Network 2008 (Canada)

  • 2007-2007

    Conference Co-Chair, 17th Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Mt Eliza, Victoria

  • 2005-2007

    Secretary, Australiasian Society for Biomaterials and Engineering

  • 2003-2004

    Conference Science Program, 7th World Biomaterials Congress, May 2004, Sydney

  • 2006-2008

    Chair of CSIRO Molecular and Health Technology Animal Ethics Committee

  • 2008-2008

    Conference Co-Chair, CSIRO OCE Symposium, Fibrous Proteins, Mt Eliza

  • 2010-2010

    Conference Committee, 20th Australian Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting, Brisbane

  • 2009-2009

    Conference Program Chair, 3rd Indo-Australian Biomaterials Implantable Device and Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (3rd BITE-RM) and 19th Australasian Society for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Conference, Sydney

  • 2010-2010

    International Scientific Committee, 3rd International Conference NanoBio 2010 Conference, Zurich.

  • 2102-2017

    Director, CRC Polymers Board

  • 2012-2020

    Secretary, International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering

  • 2006-2006

    Conference Committee, 16th Australian Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting, South Australia

  • 2010-2014

    Steering Committee Member, Tissue Engineering and Matrix Society of Victoria, Australia

  • 2010-2010

    Symposium Vice-Chair, Colloids & Surfaces for Biomaterials Applications, MACRO 2010, Glasgow.

  • 2010-2010

    Scientific Committee of TERMIS-Asia Pacific Conference, Sydney, September 2010

  • 2002-2004

    Member of CRC for Eye Research and Technology Executive Committee

  • 2006-2006

    Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Biosignal Pty. Ltd.

  • 2008-2012

    Program Leader, Cooperative Research Centre for Polymers

  • 2011-2012

    Assessor of Australia-India Strategic Grants

  • 2011-2011

    Therapeutic Innovation Australia – Biopharmaceutical, biomaterials and medical devices advisory committee

  • 2011-2012

    Member of Nano-Bio/Nano-Medicine Discipline Group for the National Nanotechnology Research Strategy (Australian Academy of Science)

  • 2012-2017

    Governance Committee Member, Stem Cells Australia ARC Special Research Initiative

  • 2013-2014

    Member, Advisory Board Mawson Institute, University of South Australia

  • 2015-2016

    Board Member, HySSIL Pty Ltd.

  • 2015-2019

    Board Member, Biomedical Research Victoria

  • 2016-2016

    Member Prime Minister’s Taskforce for Industrie 4.0

  • 2014-2014

    Co-Chair NanoBio2014

  • 2017-2018

    Advisory Committee, Chemistry Australia

  • 2013-2017

    Advisory Board, Biomaterials Science

  • 2015-2020

    Editorial Board, Regenerative Biomaterials

  • 2017-2018

    International Scientific Committee, Biointerfaces International 2018

  • 2017-2017

    Panel Member, Global Challenges Program Review, Wollongong University

  • 2016-2020

    Club Melbourne Ambassador

  • 2016-2017

    Panel Member, Falling Walls Australia Competition, Canberra

  • 2017-2017

    Member, Chief Scientist's Innovation Delegation to Europe