A Long-Lasting Oral Drug Delivery System Using Spiky Silica Nanoparticles

Project opportunity

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.

Medication adherence is required for the effectiveness of all pharmacotherapies, especially for long-term treatment of chronic illness and infectious diseases. However, intensive dosage regimens with a high pill burden are associated with a low adherence rate, leading to compromised or even failure of therapies. This project aims to realize the ideal of ‘pillbox in a capsule’, i.e. taking a single tablet that will provide sustained drug release over several days, by developing a long-lasting oral drug delivery platform with prolonged gastrointestinal transit time. Inspired by bio-adhesive natural systems, where spiky surfaces enable strong adhesion, silica particles will be engineered with a spiky morphology as oral drug delivery vehicles, and their interactions at the bio-interfaces in gastrointestinal environment will be investigated in detail. The physicochemical properties of the spiky particles will be tailored to control their gastrointestinal transit time and fit desired pharmacokinetic profiles of a number of therapeutic drugs. A versatile delivery platform will be thus established, and the safety profiles of these silica particulate formulations will also be assessed. Successful completion of this project will generate new knowledge on the relationship between the physicochemical features of spiky silica nanoparticles and their gastric retention. This project will produce guidelines for the rational design of novel oral drug delivery systems, and new potential clinical strategies for simplified oral medications to improve medication adherence and patient outcomes.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Dr Hao Song

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Email: h.song6@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of nanoparticle-based drug formulations for oral drug delivery would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of nanomedicine and drug delivery and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of chemistry, material science and pharmaceutical science is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2024. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process