Denzil Furtado awarded a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship

April 2020

Denzil Furtado
Denzil Furtado

Congratulations to Denzil Furtado, a NIMS postgraduate student, on being awarded a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship in support of his postgraduate studies aimed at making a difference to Australia in the area of technology and innovation. In addition to receiving financial assistance to undertake his research studies, Denzil will participate in a nine-month Leadership Development Program aimed at developing personal strengths, insights, learning, and inspiration to make his mark on the world.

Denzil’s research project aims to adapt nanotechnologies to serve as reliable platform technologies to treat different diseases affecting similar physiological regions and build on recent technical advances in nanoparticle synthesis, functionalisation and characterisation, and preclinical drug discovery. By engineering robust nanoparticle systems that can penetrate the human body’s most complex biological barriers (eg, the brain–blood barrier) and release compounds in a site-specific manner, Denzil hopes that his research will advance the frontiers of translational nanomedicine research and offer new opportunities for future nanoparticle-based clinical drug development.

NIMS research spotlighted on the cover of JACS

Cover of the Journal of the American Chemical Society
Cover of the Journal of the American Chemical Society

January 2020

NIMS research has been featured on the cover of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and in the journal’s dedicated Spotlights section. This peer-reviewed paper describes a cubosome templating strategy for engineering ordered mesoporous metal–phenolic particles (meso-MPN particles) with a large-pore (∼40 nm) single cubic network (Pmm). The large mesopores allow various cargos eg, biomacromolecules to diffuse into the particles, while the phenolic groups stabilize the cargo, leading to loading amounts that are considerably higher than those achieved by commercially available SiO2 with 50 nm pores. In addition, the enzyme-loaded meso-MPN particles can act as efficient bioreactors, displaying catalytic activities that exceed those prepared from porous silica particles. Coupled with the versality of metal–phenolic systems, this polymer cubosome templating strategy provides a promising methodology for designing a range of meso-MPN particles for various applications.

Yutian Ma and Yi Ju

2019 Melbourne School of Engineering awards

December 2019

This year’s Best Tutor Award for Semester 2 2019 in the Department of Chemical Engineering was presented to NIMS PhD student Yutian Ma and the 2019 Outstanding Postdoctoral Research Award was presented to NIMS postdoc Dr Yi Ju. Well done!

Grant success

December 2019

Congratulations to our NIMS postdocs Dr Yi Ju and Dr Christina Cortez-Jugo on their recent grant awards.

Yi Ju has been awarded an Early Career Researcher (ECR) Grant (The University of Melbourne) for his project entitled “Understanding the role of protein corona on nanoparticle–cell interactions.” The ECR Scheme is a core part of the University’s research development strategy, which places a high priority on the support of early career researchers.

Christina Cortez-Jugo has successfully secured funding from the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology (ACH2) for her project entitled “Targeted delivery of nanoparticles to CD4+ T cells to combat the viral reservoir.” ACH2 grants are intended to support translational research in the areas of virology and immunology of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human T-lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1). In addition, Christina has been awarded international funding from the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) for the project entitled “Nanoparticle-mediated gene delivery of frataxin to neurons.” This project is part of a collaboration with Assoc Prof Mirella Dottori (University of Wollongong) and Assoc Prof Lachlan Heath (The Florey).

Finally, congratulations to Prof Frank Caruso on being awarded an ARC Discovery Project grant as part of a collaboration with ARC Future Fellow Dr John Quinn (MIPS, Monash University), also a NIMS alumnus. The collaborative project entitled “Macromolecular engineering of functional metal–ligand materials” aims to expand the range of accessible properties of metal–phenolic materials by combining self-assembly with advanced polymer synthesis techniques. The expected outcome of the project is a new class of functional materials applicable as self-healing coatings, nano-adhesives and antimicrobial surfaces, thus underpinning next-generation technologies in materials science and nanotechnology. Discovery Projects support excellence in applied research to expand Australia's knowledge base and research capability, and to enhance international collaboration in research.

Great science, great company, great venue!

November 2019

The fifth edition of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology (CBNS) Annual Research Workshop was held in Healesville, Victoria. Covering researchers from five premier Australian universities, the CBNS brings together a range of expertise, spanning chemistry and chemical engineering, drug development and pharmaceutical science, cell biology, cellular and biomedical imaging, diagnostics, systems biology, and social theory. Amid the numerous inspiring talks given during the 3-day workshop, we celebrate this year’s CBNS UoM node awardees.

NIMS postdoc Dr JJ Richardson presented his innovation pitch on “Happy Embryos: Advancing Fertility with Therapeutic Delivery” that won him the Best Pitch Award at the inaugural Spark Tank session held at the 2019 Frontiers in Bio-Nano Science (FBNS). NIMS PhD student Mr Yutian Ma and postdoc Dr René Lafleur are recipients of the 2019 CBNS Student Travel Award and the 2019 CBNS Bio-Nano Travel Grant, respectively. The travel support received partially funded Yutian’s visit to Prof Molly Steven’s laboratory (focusing on biomaterials design for regenerative medicine) at Imperial College London, UK in July 2019. René’s travel grant will support his attendance to the 2020 Bioinspired Materials Gordon Research Conference, which will be held in Switzerland, Europe. Well done again guys!

NIMS attendees: Postdocs Drs Yi Ju, JJ Richardson, René Lafleur, and Matt Faria and PhD students Ms Jingqu Chen and Mr Qi-Zhi Zhong

Denzil Furtado scores Main Sequence Ventures Nova Residency

November 2019

Denzil Furtado (right) receiving his award from Mike Zimmerman (left), Partner at Main Sequence Ventures. Photo credit: TRaM

Congratulations to our research assistant Denzil Furtado who won the Main Sequence Ventures Nova Residency at the University of Melbourne 2019 Translating Research at Melbourne (TRaM) Showcase. The Nova Residency Award will allow Denzil to work at Main Sequence Ventures, a prominent Sydney-based venture capital firm, for a week—a unique opportunity for Denzil to engage with Australia’s deep tech start-up ecosystem.

Through its comprehensive four-part program, Translating Research at Melbourne (TRaM) aims to equip researchers with the necessary entrepreneurial skills and framework for industry engagement to enable researchers to understand their target market, assess the viability of commercialisation opportunities and successfully bring them to market, thus maximising the commercial impact of research-based projects.

NIMS postdoc scores Best Pitch Award at FBNS

JJ Richardson (left) receiving his award

October 2019

NIMS postdoc Dr JJ Richardson’s innovation pitch on “Happy Embryos: Advancing Fertility with Therapeutic Delivery” won him the Best Pitch Award at the inaugural Spark Tank session held at the 2019 Frontiers in Bio-Nano Science (FBNS). Well done JJ!

FBNS is a CBNS EMCR event for the next generation of pro-active scientists and innovators to discuss ideas, share their skills and grow their careers. It is also aimed at facilitating cross-disciplinary networking and collaboration.

NIMS postgrad scores 2019 Eugen Singer Award

October 2019

Congratulations to NIMS postgraduate student Qi-Zhi Zhong who is recipient of the 2019 Eugen Singer Award. The Eugen Singer Award was donated by Ms Josephine Singer in memory of her late husband who distinguished himself as a chemical engineer, working in the field of precision engineering associated with the production and processing of polymers. The award thus recognises the academic excellence of research higher degree students engaged in the study of polymers, including their production and processing.

Qi-Zhi’s research has led to a comprehensive understanding of the kinetics involved in the self-assembly of metal–phenolic networks, an emerging and important class of coordination polymers. His work has recently been published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, a leading peer-reviewed journal in Chemistry (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 12563).

Prof Caruso awarded Leverhulme Medal

July 2019

Congratulations to Prof Frank Caruso for being awarded the 2019 Leverhulme Medal from the Royal Society in recognition of his research excellence in driving the application of engineered particles in biology and medicine through nanoscale materials engineering. The Leverhulme Medal is awarded to an outstanding researcher in the field of chemical engineering and applied chemistry.

NIMS postdoc awarded OzNanoMed presentation prize

June 2019

Congratulations to Dr Yi Ju for being awarded the Nanoscale Advances Oral Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry at the 10th International Nanomedicine Conference held in Sydney in late June 2019. His talk was titled “Stealth and Targeting of Ligand-Functionalized Poly(ethylene glycol) Particles”.

NIMS welcomes Dr René Lafleur

May 2019

The NIMS group is delighted to welcome Dr René Lafleur as a postdoctoral research fellow in bio-nanoscience. Dr Lafleur is the recipient of a prestigious Rubicon grant awarded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to talented researchers in The Netherlands who wish to conduct scientific research at a foreign research institute. Dr Lafleur brings a high level of creativity, scientific talent and knowledge of supramolecular polymers and gels, and he will work closely with the NIMS group on developing functional materials for diverse applications.

NIMS postgrad scores travel scholarship

May 2019

Congratulations to Mr Yutian Ma for receiving a Harold Mitchell Postgraduate Travelling Fellowship ($7,500) awarded by the Bionics Institute. Yutian is currently a PhD student carrying out research on developing nanoengineered drug delivery systems to prevent hearing loss under the collaborative supervision of Prof Frank Caruso and Assoc Prof Andrew Wise (Bionics Institute). This fellowship will be used to fund Yutian’s visit to Prof Molly Steven’s laboratory (focusing on biomaterials design for regenerative medicine) at Imperial College in London, UK, as well as an opportunity to attend a Gordon Research Conference on Mechanisms of Microbial Transcription in July. Well done, Yutian!

NIMS welcomes Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow Dr Alessia Amodio

March 2019

The NIMS group is delighted to host Dr Alessia Amodio on a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, awarded by the European Commission in 2018, during her two-year postdoctoral research visit in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Dr Amodio’s home institution is the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy. This fellowship funds talented researchers based in Europe in research positions abroad. She will work in the NIMS group on a project focusing on particle-induced immune cell responses. This interdisciplinary project will involve the convergence of materials science, immunology and cell biology, and is expected to make a major contribution in emerging areas of research.

Prof Frank Caruso joins team of leading experts in dementia diagnosis and treatment

December 2018

A collaboration led by Prof. Perminder Sachdev AM (Co-Director of UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA)) has been awarded a $1 M grant from the Dementia Australia Research Foundation–Yulgibar Alzheimer’s Research Program to support research on the use of nanotechnology (nanoparticles) in the diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

The research project is a collaboration between researchers at CHeBA (CIs Prof. Perminder Sachdev, A./Prof. Wei Wen, Dr Anne Poljak, Dr Karen Mather, Dr Nady Braidy), the Australian Centre for Nanomedicine (ACN), School of Chemistry UNSW (CIs Prof. Justin Gooding, Prof. Richard Tilley), the Biological Resource Imaging Lab at UNSW (CI Dr Andre Bongers), the Melbourne Dementia Research Centre (CI Prof. Ashley Bush), and ARC Centre for Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology (CBNS), The University of Melbourne (CI Prof. Frank Caruso). Other contributors include Dr Nady Braidy, Dr Lucy Gloag, Dr Kristian Kempe (NIMS alumnus, current senior research fellow at CBNS), Dr Olga Shimoni (NIMS alumna), and Ms Marina Ulanova.

Frank Caruso named on Highly Cited Researchers 2018 List

December 2018

Congratulations to Prof Frank Caruso on being named a 2018 Highly Cited Researcher in the newly introduced Cross-Field category. This achievement recognises the exceptional impact that Prof Frank Caruso’s research has made across several fields spanning eg, engineering, chemistry, materials science, biology and biochemistry, through analysis of highly cited papers (those ranking in the top 1% by citations for field and year).

NIMS postgrad scores Eugen Singer Award

October 2018

Congratulations to NIMS postgraduate student Shuaijun Pan who is recipient of the 2018 Eugen Singer Award. The Eugen Singer Award was donated by Ms Josephine Singer in memory of her late husband who distinguished himself as a chemical engineer, working in the field of precision engineering associated with the production and processing of polymers. The award thus recognises the academic excellence of research higher degree students engaged in the study of polymers, including their production and processing.

Shuaijun’s creative research has led to the development of sophisticated polymers for application as super-repellent coatings, which have diverse practical applications for non-stick pans, drag-reduction, oil-spill cleaning, and anti-freezing. The coatings are assembled directly from the reactive monomers through a one-step spray-assembly method, where the monomers go through synergistic hydration, condensation, and rapid anionic addition polymerization processes simultaneously. Additionally, the coatings are largely transparent, robust, mechanically durable, and can self-heal, display enhanced anti-freezing, and ice-removal properties. His outstanding work on “Coatings Super-Repellent to Ultralow Surface Tension Liquids” has recently been published in the prestigious materials science journal Nature Materials (2018, DOI 10.1038/s41563-018-0178-2). This work has also been spotlighted in c&en.  

NIMS postdoc scores best presentation at FBNS

JJ Richardson receiving his prize.

September 2018

Congratulations to NIMS postdoc Dr JJ Richardson on winning the People’s Choice Award for his oral presentation on “Bio-nano means more than nanomedicine! Applications of bio-nano interactions for forensics.” He delivered his talk at the inaugural Frontiers in Bio-Nano Science (FBNS 2018), a CBNS EMCR event aimed at facilitating cross-disciplinary networking and collaboration.

NIMS feature article in Langmuir highlighted on front cover

Cover of Langmuir, Vol 34, No 37

September 2018

As a recipient of the 2017 Langmuir Lectureship, Prof Frank Caruso was invited to submit a feature article that has been spotlighted on the front cover of Langmuir. This NIMS feature article discusses how poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) particles can be nanoengineered to balance stealth and targeting properties. PEG particles display unique in vivo behaviours (eg, biodistribution and immune cell interactions) and have received much attention for their potential in drug delivery applications.

NIMS collaborative initiative on developing a reporting standard for bio–nano science research

September 2018

NIMS latest paper on “Minimum information reporting in bio–nano experimental literature” has recently been published in Nature Nanotechnology. The paper proposes a “minimum reporting standard”, MIRIBEL, for experimental literature investigating bio–nano interactions in the hope of improving reproducibility, quantification, and comparison within the field, ultimately advancing the state of knowledge. This work is a project of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology

NIMS contributes to the 30th anniversary issue of Advanced Materials journal

August 2018

Prof Frank Caruso and the NIMS research group were invited to submit a review for inclusion in the Special Virtual Issue Advanced Materials Hall of Fame on the 30th anniversary of the prestigious, peer-reviewed Wiley journal Advanced Materials. The review entitled “Overcoming the Blood–Brain Barrier: The Role of Nanomaterials in Treating Neurological Diseases” was written in collaboration with researchers at The University of Melbourne, Monash University, Imperial College London, and The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.

Presently, neurodegenerative diseases continue to afflict millions of people worldwide without any cure in sight. One of the great obstacles to the successful treatment of these diseases is the blood–brain barrier, which prevents a large proportion of drugs from reaching and penetrating the brain. This review highlights many of the opportunities and challenges currently facing the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, with a special focus on the potential of nanomaterial-mediated approaches to achieve successful brain drug delivery. These areas form important topics of what NIMS researchers are investigating as part of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology. This review also appears in the “Hot Topic: Drug Delivery” Virtual Collection.

In addition to his paper contribution to this milestone event, Prof Frank Caruso has been inducted as an inaugural member of the Advanced Materials Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding contribution, leadership and advances made in the field of biosystems: micro-/nanotechnology. This achievement has been profiled on Advanced Science News.

NIMS research on the controlled crystallization of active pharmaceutical ingredients in the spotlight

July 2018

2 crystallization examples: Carbamazepine and Piroxicam

A recent NIMS article published in Wiley peer-reviewed journal Small was spotlighted by Advanced Science News. The article demonstrates the use of a supramolecular metallogel medium based on the natural polyphenol tannic acid for the controlled crystallization of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Unlike previous supramolecular systems based on synthetic gelators, the present system possesses several inherent advantages including facile preparation, independence of a heat–cool cycle, use of inexpensive components, and the ability to incorporate diverse additives. It is envisioned that this system can provide a generic platform to study the crystallization of a range of hydrophilic, hydrophobic, and heat-sensitive APIs.

Lights, Camera, Action!

July 2018

In this video, produced by c&en, NIMS Honorary Fellow Dr Mattias Björnmalm talks about the use of action cameras such as GoPros, cell phone cameras, and other inexpensive video equipment to record experimental procedures. Such recordings can serve as effective communication tools to not only convey information that might get lost in written instructions, but also help improve reproducibility by minimizing/preventing errors and unsafe practices. They can additionally serve as a platform to complement face-to-face laboratory training. In an Angewandte Chemie International Edition Editorial published earlier this year, NIMS researchers also highlighted the use of action cameras as a means to achieve robustness in chemistry.

NIMS postdoc scores best presentation at Fresh Science Victoria

June 2018

Congratulations to NIMS postdoc Dr JJ Richardson for winning best presentation at the Fresh Science Victoria Pub Night for his talk entitled “Growing Nanomaterials inside Plants”. This route opens up an alternative to genetic engineering for tailoring plants to survive in harsh conditions. Moreover, the hybrid plants become fluorescent contaminant sensors thanks to the nanomaterials, allowing them to report on the surrounding soil and water quality.

Prof Caruso joins elite Fellowship of the Royal Society

Prof Caruso being congratulated by Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, President of The Royal Society, at the award ceremony in London

May 2018

Congratulations to Prof Frank Caruso who has been elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society in recognition of his outstanding and substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science. The Royal Society is a Fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists and is one of the oldest academies in the world.

NIMS postdocs score 2017 Reviewer Excellence Award

March 2018

Congratulations to NIMS postdocs Dr Yi (David) Ju and Dr Md Arifur Rahim who were both awarded the 2017 Reviewer Excellence Award from Chemistry of Materials for their outstanding contribution as a reviewer (top 1% reviewers).

NIMS research scores frontispiece

February 2018

A NIMS review on the opportunities and challenges of using particles for targeting diseases has been featured with a frontispiece in Advanced Healthcare Materials. The article has also been highlighted in Advanced Science News and The Conversation

Prof Frank Caruso joins team of leading HIV researchers

December 2017

Prof Frank Caruso has been awarded a $16 million NHMRC Program Grant as part of a collaboration with a team of leading HIV researchers. The collaborative project is entitled Addressing the Major Challenges in HIV Vaccine and Cure Research. The team will be led by Doherty Institute-based University of Melbourne Prof Stephen Kent

NHMRC Program Grants aim to support teams of the highest quality researchers to pursue broad-based multidisciplinary and collaborative research addressing complex problems. They provide substantial, long-term, flexible funding to integrated groups of researchers with well-established track records of high impact health and medical research.

NIMS-supervised students win Endeavour Expo award

November 2017

Jingqu Chen and Yizhe Cheng won the Best Project in Biomedical Engineering Award at the 2017 Endeavour Engineering & IT Exhibition held at The University of Melbourne for their project entitled Nano-Engineering Metal-Phenolic Particles for Pulmonary Drug Delivery.

NIMS postgrad scores publication award

October 2017

Congratulations to NIMS postgraduate student Danzi Song who is recipient of a Most Significant CBNS Publication of 2017 Award from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science & Technology (CBNS) for her paper entitled “Templated Polymer Replica Nanoparticles to Facilitate Assessment of Material-Dependent Pharmacokinetics and Biodistribution” published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. The award was presented to her during the CBNS Annual Research Workshop that was held in the Sunshine Coast (25–27 October 2017).

The study demonstrates a new approach for investigating material-dependent biological behaviours of polymer particles, irrespective of the properties of the underlying core, and provides insights for the selection of polymer particles for future biological applications.

Frank Caruso awarded NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship

October 2017

Congratulations to Prof Frank Caruso who has been awarded a prestigious NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship. The Research Fellowships Scheme aims to support Australia’s very best health and medical research talent to further develop as leaders in their field and contribute to the Australian research community. This Fellowship will establish a high quality research program into the development and evaluation of particle technologies in biomedical research. A central goal is to develop effective and efficient drug carrier systems as facilitated by collaboration with leading life scientists and clinicians.

Advanced Science News spotlights NIMS research on particle targeting in complex biological media

September 2017

A NIMS article published in Wiley peer-reviewed journal Advanced Healthcare Materials was highlighted in Advanced Science News. The review article discusses parameters that influence the biological performance of particulate drug carriers, with an emphasis on the effect of the protein corona, and highlights strategies for improving the targeting ability of particles.

NIMS research featured in The Conversation

September 2017

The online magazine The Conversation has just published an article by researchers: How diseases can be targeted using nanotechnology – and why it’s difficult. The article discusses opportunities and challenges of using particles for targeting diseases. The popular science article discusses developments in the field that were recently reviewed by NIMS researchers in the Wiley journal Advanced Healthcare Materials. This includes new insights on the importance of the nanoparticle corona and the development of new investigative techniques that can complement cell and animal studies. These areas form important topics of what our researchers are investigating as part of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology.

Frank Caruso receives ACS Langmuir Lectureship Award

August 2017

Prof Frank Caruso received the 2017 ACS Langmuir Lectureship Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the interdisciplinary field of colloid, interfacial and surface chemistry. As a recipient of this award, he delivered his distinguished Langmuir lecture on “Engineering particles for bio-nano science and beyond” at the 254th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition.

EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship grant awarded to NIMS postdoc

March 2017

NIMS postdoc Dr Mattias Björnmalm was awarded a highly competitive Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action grant by the European Commission. This will enable him to undertake research in Prof Molly Stevens’ labs and her world-class interdisciplinary biomaterials team at Imperial College London, UK, to investigate how nanoparticles interact with cells and tissues using state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are geared to equipping researchers with the necessary skills and international experience for a successful career. The 30 chosen researchers in this round represent the 100,000 fellows who have been supported by the scheme over the past 20 years.

NIMS research spotlighted on ACS journal’s Special Issue cover

January 2017

NIMS research was highlighted as one of four snapshots of methods and protocols articles as part of a Special Issue of the highly ranked ACS journal, Chemistry of Materials. The article outlines three methods used in the NIMS labs for the templated assembly of nanoengineered particles. First described is layer-by-layer assembly to generate core-shell particles and hollow capsules. Second detailed is the use of mesoporous silica templating to engineer porous polymer replica particles. Third reported is how phenolic compounds and metal ions can be used to fabricate thin films via metal–phenolic network formation on particle templates. In line with the issue’s theme, stepwise guides for each method are provided with considerations for how to alter these protocols to achieve desired particle properties.

Journal editorial by NIMS on using action cameras to document research

December 2016

NIMS researchers were the featured writers of an editorial in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials (volume 28, issue 23 (2016)). The open access editorial focused on the use of first-person action cameras to record experiments, methods, and equipment procedures in NIMS labs, as well as the cameras’ use for safety and equipment training, and knowledge transfer. Two supplementary videos are provided with the editorial.

NIMS researchers score presentation awards at 2nd CBNS Annual Workshop

December 2016

Matt Faria (left) and Mattias Björnmalm delivering their presentation

NIMS group leader Prof Frank Caruso plus five NIMS researchers attended the 2nd Annual Workshop of the multi-institutional ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology held in December 2016 in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. The event fostered an environment that stimulated collaboration with researchers attending from all levels across the CBNS’s five national nodes. Prof Caruso is also Deputy Director of the Centre. Of note is that NIMS researchers scored awards for their research presentations; the Honourable Mention for Best Oral Presentation went to Mattias Björnmalm and Matt Faria, and the Honourable Mention for Best Poster was shared by Dr Nadja Bertleff-Zieschang.

NIMS postgrad wins people’s choice award at Chinese researcher symposium

November 2016

NIMS postgrad Danzi Song won the 3-Minute Oral Presentation Competition People’s Choice Award at the 9th Research Symposium for Chinese PhD Students and Scholars in Australia held in Melbourne, Australia on 12 November 2016. Her talk was entitled “Isolating Cancer Cells by Reusable Polysaccharides Coated Particles”. The competition allows candidates to present their projects to a non-professional audience in a concise and engaging oration.

NIMS research Perspective on convergent science in the spotlight

October 2016

A NIMS-researched Perspective on the impact of materials in and beyond bio-nano science was spotlighted by the publisher, Journal of the American Chemical Society, as an exceptional contribution to recent issues. The authors comment on how more can be done to facilitate translation of research into real world applications and treatments.

NIMS research on interlocking nanostructures published in Nature Nanotech

October 2016

Nature Nanotechnology has published NIMS research on developing a nanoscale engineering method that transforms tiny particles into LEGO brick-like modular building blocks that can be tailored to develop advanced materials. Nanoscale objects can be assembled into complex architectures by first coating them with a universally adhesive material (a polyphenol) so that they resemble the studs on LEGO bricks. These can be stuck to templates that determine the final shape of the assembled structure. The research showed 15 representative materials could form different sizes, shapes, compositions and functionalities. This new polyphenol-based particle approach can be adapted to different functions and allows different building blocks to be assembled into super-structures, thereby surpassing previous methods limited by particle-specific assembly. This provides a platform for the rapid generation of super-structured assemblies with enhanced chemical diversity and structural flexibility across a wide range of length scales, from nanometres to centimetres. The work holds promise for micro- and nanoscale applications, including drug delivery, chemical sensing and energy storage.

The paper has also garnered attention from multiple international science news sites, including nanowerk,, Science Newsline, Asian Scientist, gizmodo,, EurekAlert! and Lab+Life Scientist magazine. The article was later featured in the journal’s News and Views section at the time of final publication.

NIMS collaborative research highlighted on journal cover

September 2016

Continuing NIMS collaborative research into metal–organic frameworks has been spotlighted on the cover of the highly ranked Wiley peer-reviewed journal, Advanced Materials. Metal–organic frameworks are an emerging class of porous materials that can be constructed from biofriendly building blocks. This paper reports on the biomimetic mineralisation of metal–organic framework material on living cells as a successful strategy to mimic natural protective mechanisms.

Frank Caruso listed amongst top 300 most-cited materials scientists

July 2016

Frank Caruso has been identified as one of the top 300 most-cited researchers in materials science and engineering as ranked by the total citations of papers. The citation data are based on the Elsevier Scopus database. This list compiles the top 300 publishing researchers in the field according to first or corresponding author status.

NIMS researchers skydive for science

July 2016

Several NIMS postgrads undertook experiments while skydiving from 14,000 feet above Melbourne. The intention was to release metal and organic particles into a solution using a syringe where they would mix and form crystals in the temporary low-gravity generated by free-falling, thereby identifying how gravity influences the formation of crystals in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which are currently a key research area for NIMS. A portable centrifuge on the ground helped stabilise the crystal growth for measurement. The final results showed that high gravitation causes smaller MOF crystals to form and that at low gravity the crystals are larger. Those involved in the high-altitude experiment were NIMS researchers Mattias Björnmalm (pictured), Matt Faria and Junling Guo, along with Dr Fabio Lisi from the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne. Their research efforts contributed to a paper published in the Wiley journal, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, and were reported in ABC News online (with ABC News 24 Twitter video), and the Melbourne-based Herald-Sun news.

NIMS postgrad awarded OzNanoMed presentation prize

June 2016

Danzi Song, a postgraduate in the NIMS group, was awarded an Honourable Mention for Oral Presentation by a PhD student at the 7th International Nanomedicine Conference (OzNanoMed) held in Sydney in late June 2016. Her talk was titled “Material-Dependent Biological Behaviour of Polymeric Replica Nanoparticles”.

Danzi Song, a postgraduate in the NIMS group, was awarded an Honourable Mention for Oral Presentation by a PhD student at the 7th International Nanomedicine Conference (OzNanoMed) held in Sydney in late June 2016. Her talk was titled “Material-Dependent Biological Behaviour of Polymeric Replica Nanoparticles”.

University of Minnesota researchers visit NIMS labs

June 2016

The NIMS labs welcomed a contingent of 19 high-achieving postgraduate students from the University of Minnesota, USA on 1 June 2016 as part of the Americans’ tour of prominent Australian research groups, including the University of Melbourne. The focus of the class, led by Prof Jerry Sobelman, is on nanotechnology, and biomedical devices and systems. NIMS researchers Dr Nadja Bertleff-Zieschang, Dr Jiwei Cui, Mattias Björnmalm and Matt Faria showed the American researchers around the labs, highlighting current NIMS research and equipment.

Some of the UMinn postgrads being shown imaging equipment flanked by Dr Jiwei Cui (far left) and Paul Brannon (far right) of the Materials Characterisation and Fabrication Platform.

NIMS bio-nano research knowledgebase webpage goes live

May 2016

NIMS research published in the highly ranked ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research includes a link to the new NIMS bio-nano research knowledgebase, a web-based tool that organises the past, present and future work of the NIMS research group regarding the development of nanoengineered drug delivery systems. This database is searchable by particle type, template, composition, cargo, size and application. This tool is intended to serve as a first step towards organising results in the large, complex area of nanoengineered therapeutics. It is intended that this will inspire researchers to generate new ideas and in collecting, collating and sharing their experiences to guide future research.

Frank Caruso delivers QUT public lecture on nanobiomedicine

May 2016

Prof Frank Caruso delivered an invited public lecture on 20 May 2016 as part of Queensland University of Technology (QUT)’s Institute for Future Environments (IFE) Grand Challenge Lecture Series held in Brisbane, Australia. The presentation was entitled Targeting Nanotechnology at Biomedicine: Engineering Particles for Nanomedicine Applications and focused on current NIMS research on the development of engineered particles for cardiovascular disease, tumour targeting, HIV, and drug delivery to the inner ear. Various assembly strategies to generate multifunctional and responsive particles that target, stimulate or distort cells for therapeutic delivery were also discussed.

Chinese government award for NIMS postgrad

March 2016

Qiong Dai (right) with Mr Yumin Song (left), Consul-General at the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Melbourne, where the ceremony was held in April

NIMS postgrad Qiong (Ada) Dai was awarded the 2015 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad by the China Scholarship Council (CSC). The award was established by the Chinese government in 2003 and is based on academic merit to encourage self-financed international Chinese students achieve first-class results during their studies; only 500 are granted each year worldwide. She is currently researching the intracellular dynamics of nanoengineered materials.

JDRF grant awarded to Monash-NIMS collaboration on insulin development

February 2016

A collaboration with Monash University’s Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD) has been awarded a grant from the JDRF to support the development of a revolutionary type of insulin. The grant will provide funding to four research projects taking different approaches to developing glucose responsive insulin (GRIs) therapies for treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes. Dr Christoph Hagemeyer (ACBD research group leader) will work in collaboration with Dr Frank Caruso (UniMelb) and Baker IDI’s Dr Jonathan Shaw, Dr Mark Copper and Dr Terri Allen to develop glucose-sensing nanoparticles.

NIMS article on targeted vaccine delivery judged as “Hot Paper”

January 2016

A recent research paper on targeted vaccine and therapeutic delivery from the NIMS group and international collaborators has been rated as a “Hot Paper” by the Wiley journal, Angewandte Chemie (International Edition). The peer-reviewed article describes how PEGylation is shown to be a key design parameter for improved lymph node delivery of hydrogel nanoparticles incorporating vaccines and therapeutics. Hot Papers are chosen by the journal’s editors for their importance in a rapidly evolving field of high current interest.

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