Professor Julie Audet began her five-year term as Vice-Dean, Graduate studies in July 2017. Prior to beginning her term, she was the Associate Director, Graduate Studies for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (BME), where she is also a Professor. Since 2015, Professor Audet has represented the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering on the Supervision Guidelines Working Group at the School of Graduate Studies. She also served on the Graduate Awards Committee for the Faculty of Medicine from 2012–2017.
Professor Audet joined BME in 2003 after completing her studies in the field of stem cell bioengineering. Since then, she has focused her research on the development of biological search algorithms and their applications in stem and progenitor cell manufacturing processes. Highly efficient combinations of growth factors, inhibitors, extracellular matrix molecules and biomaterials must be identified to enable the biomanufacturing of tissue engineering products derived from precursor (stem or progenitor) cell culture. The algorithms developed by Professor Audet and her group operate iteratively with experimental measurements and are designed to take into account the inherent variability of biological systems in their operations. The algorithm-based optimization process generates data which can be mined using bioinformatics tools, thereby providing insights into cellular and molecular mechanisms. Work performed in her lab has demonstrated that these search algorithms can significantly facilitate the discovery of completely defined culture conditions for refractory precursor cells and that they can be instrumental for the development of precursor-based cell manufacturing processes that will generate larger quantities and higher quality of cells while requiring less reagents and labor and, therefore, that will be less costly.
For her work in this area, Professor Audet has been recognized by international organizations such as AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) and the Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation with a series of young investigator awards. She has been a member of the Canadian Stem Cell Network and the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and served as a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee at Hema-Quebec from 2006–2014.
In recent years, Professor Audet has worked on the development of a new Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering program at BME that is focused on biomedical devices and has industrial connections to facilitate internship placements. The new graduate program was offered for the first time in September 2016.