Engineering nanoparticles with enhanced adhesion at the nano-bio interfaces

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor - Dr Hao

Nanotechnology has the huge potential to change our future through various aspects, e.g. nanomedicine, where the development of new nanomaterials drives the key innovation. Nature itself is a skilled nanotechnologist, setting substrates or particulates with micro- to nano-scale rough structures to allow strong adhesion via multivalent binding. For example, gecko feet are decorated with numerous microfibers that hold them up on the wall, and pollen grains present distinct spiky surfaces that can easily attach to the insect passing by for pollination. Inspired by nature, this project will develop a next-generation adhesive nanoparticle platform through surface engineering with designer rough or spiky nanotopography. Breaking the boundaries of research disciplines in chemistry, materials science, mechanical engineering, nanotechnology, cell biology, and agriculture, this project will address two fundamental questions: What are the materials physicochemical characteristics that govern bio-interface adhesion forces? And how to engineer the nanoparticles to amplify their adhesion to particular types of surface, such as bacteria, mammalian cells, and tissues? New knowledge derived from this project by answering these questions will revolutionise the rational design of nanomaterials with desired adhesive properties, potentially applied to antibacterial nano-formulation, cancer theranostics, gene therapy and nano-vaccines, etc.

Funded by ARC DECRA, this project is dedicated to both fundamental and applied research at the nano-bio interface through nanomaterial innovation, with a central theme of delivery of various active molecules to bring benefits to society. It provides an excellent opportunity for the PhD candidate to work on the exciting interdisciplinary science, get trained of state-of-the-art technologies using advanced electron microscopes, atomic force microscopies, and nano-colloid-probes. Honours/Masters students with a background in chemistry, materials science, biochemistry, molecular biology, or related fields are more than welcome to contact the Principal Investigator, Dr. Hao Song.

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of nanomaterials synthesis and characterisation, cell and tissue culture would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of chemistry, materials science, or cell biology and the potential for scholastic success.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Apply now