The Nanostructured Interfaces and Materials Science (NIMS) Group was renamed as the Caruso Nanoengineering Group in November 2020.
2019 Melbourne School of Engineering awards
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!
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!
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!
Denzil Furtado scores Main Sequence Ventures Nova Residency
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.