Associate Professor Chunxia Zhao

UQ Amplify Fellow & Group Leader

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
z.chunxia@uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 64263

Overview

Associate Professor Chun-Xia Zhao is a Group leader and an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and at AIBN. She joined Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), The University of Queensland (UQ) in early 2008 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Prof. Anton Middelberg's group, after obtained her PhD degree in Zhejiang University.

In 2011, A/Prof. Zhao was awarded an ARC Discovery project along with the Australian Postdoctoral Fellow as the sole investigator. In 2014, she was awarded the prestigious Australian Research Council Future Fellow. Her research in bio-inspired nanotechnology and microfluidics has attracted more than $3.5 M research funding since 2011, including three Australian Research Council projects (two ARC discovery projects and one ARC Linkage project) as the lead investigator, two national prestigious fellowship (Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship and Australian Research Council Future Fellowship), UQ Early Career Award and UQ New Staff Start-Up grant. She visited Harvard University as Fellow of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (Oct - Dec, 2014). In 2016, her research excellence was recognised by the UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award. She has been appointed as member of the 2019 ARC College of Experts (2019-2021).

A/Prof. Zhao has contributed substantial high quality scientific papers in international top refereed journals such as Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Chemical Communications, Journal of Materials Chemistry, AIChE Journal, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vaccine, and so on. She has been focusing on innovative research, and has been active in patent application to transfer her research into practical applications, as evidenced by her five patents. One of her patents was licensed to an international company. She has built extensive collaborations with scientists at top universities such as Harvard University, Brown University, etc. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board member for several journals.

Research Interests

  • Multifunctional nanomaterials for drug delivery, vaccine delivery and controlled release
    Dr Zhao's research expertise is nanomaterials for drug delivery and controlled release, microfluidics for making sophisticated materials and screening drug delivery systems, and biomolecular engineering for sustainable materials, including a number of directions: (1) Emulsion and biomimetic dual-templating technology for making silica capsules for controlled and sustained release; (2) Stimuli-responsive soft materials based on biomolecules manufactured from renewable resources. (3) Simple and low-cost platform technology for producing bioproducts, including peptide or protein biosurfactants, peptide antibiotics. (4) Microfluidic synthesis of hierarchical materials for applications in sustained and controlled drug release. (5) Microfluidic platform technology for reproducibly producing targeted polymer nanocarriers having systematically varied properties. (6) In vivo-mimicking Tissue Chips for screening and evaluating nanocarriers.

Research Impacts

A/Prof. Zhao has established a recognised international presence in the fields of nanomaterials, microfluidics and drug delivery. She has been invited to submit book chapters, reviews and research papers in leading journal, such as Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews (2013 Impact Factor 12.7), Chemical Engineering Science Special Issue on Microfluidic Engineering, Industrial Engineering & Chemical Research, Vaccines. She has also been invited to present her work at international conferences (World Congress of Chemical Engineering, Annual World Congress of Advanced Materials, Annual World Congress of NanoMedicine, Bionano Innovation Conference, etc). A/Prof. Zhao is also an invited reviewer for more than 20 journals, including Advanced Materials, Chemical Communication, Lab on a Chip, Chemical Engineering Science, AIChE Journal, Langmuir, Journal of Chromatography A, Inorganic Chemistry, Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data, etc.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Zhejiang University

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Project 1

    New platform technologies for making hybrid core-shell materials

    Poor water solubility of many chemical actives hinders the development of new pharmaceutical, agricultural, food products. For example, 40% of approved drugs and 90% of drugs in development are water-insoluble. New methods are needed for more efficient formulation and delivery of these drugs. This project will develop new platform technologies for making hybrid core-shell materials with exceptionally high drug loading capacity and programmed drug release, delivering new technologies for the manufacture of high-value pharmaceutical product for various applications.

    This project is supported by an ARC Discovery Project. Two PhD scholarships are available.

    Project 2

    Fast microfluidic screening platform for specific binding

    Facile and quick platforms will be developed to screen biomolecule candidates for selective binding to specific metals. The screened biomolecules will be synthesized either using chemical synthesis methods or biological cell expression systems. The selective adsorption of the biomolecules on the target valuable metals will be systematically studied.

    This project is supported by an ARC Centre of Excellence project. PhD scholarship is available.

    Project 3

    Development of stimuli responsive biomolecules for controlling different interfaces

    Peptides or proteins are informational polymers made up of amino acids and are increasingly viewed as key building blocks to achieve specific functions owing to their biocompatibility, sustainability, and ease of functionalization, coupled with facile methods for their economic manufacture. Enabled by the diversity of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids, there is a large sequence and structural solution space for design. This project will explore the functionality of biomolecules to stabilise foams or emulsions, and the potential for switching that functionality based on different switching mechanisms.

    This project is supported by an ARC Centre of Excellence project. PhD scholarship is available.

    Please email z.chunxia@uq.edu.au with your CV, including a summary of academic qualifications, work and research experience, and publication list.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Wibowo, David, Zhao, Chun-Xia and He, Yinghe (2019). Fluid properties and hydrodynamics of microfluidic systems. Microfluidics for pharmaceutical applications. (pp. 37-77) edited by .Amsterdam, The Netherland: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-812659-2.00002-8

  • Zhao, Chun-Xia and Middelberg, Anton P. J. (2016). Synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials using microfluidic technology. Handbook of nanoparticles. (pp. 455-473) edited by Mahmood Aliofkhazraei.Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-15338-4_23

  • Zhao, Chun-Xia and Middelberg, Anton P.J. (2013). Stimuli-responsive peptide nanostructures at the fluid-fluid interface. Protein nanotechnology: protocols, instrumentation, and applications. (pp. 179-194) edited by Juliet A. Gerrard.New York, NY United States: Humana Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-62703-354-1_10

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Chen, He, Ho, Benjamin, Wang, Haofei, Tan, Say Hwa, Zhao, Chun-Xia, Nguyen, Nam-Trung, Gao, Yongsheng and Zhou, Jun (2019). Automatic live and dead cell classification via hyperspectral imaging. Workshop on Hyperspectral Imaging and Signal Processing: Evolution in Remote Sensing (WHISPERS), Amsterdam, Netherlands, 24-26 September 2019. Piscataway, NJ, United States :IEEE Computer Society. doi: 10.1109/WHISPERS.2019.8921136

  • Sun, Qi, Zhao, Chun-Xia, Nguyen, Nam-Trung and Tan, Say Hwa (2017). A droplet-based microfluidic platform for the study of the effect of oscillation on the growth of E.coli. 21st International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, MicroTAS 2017, Savannah, GA, United States, 22-26 October 2017. San Diego, CA, United States :Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society.

  • Zhao, Chun-Xia, Wibowo, David and Middelberg, Anton P. J. (2015). Bio-inspired nanomaterials for controlled release. 2015 AIChE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, United States, 8-13 November 2015.

  • Zhao, Chun-Xia and Middelberg, Anton P. J. (2010). Double emulsions by a one-step solvent shift method. 40th Annual Australasian Chemical and Process Engineering Conference, Adelaide, SA, Australia, 26-29 September 2010. Barton, ACT, Australia :Engineers Australia.

  • Zhao, Chun-Xia, Miller, Erik, Cooper-White, Justin J., Dexter, Annette F. and Middelberg, Anton P. J. (2009). Interfacial elasticity affects droplet formation in microfluidic channels. 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering, Montreal, Canada, 23 - 27 August, 2009.

  • Zhao, Chun-Xia, Rondeau, Elisabeth, Miller, Erik, Cooper-White, Justin J., Dexter, Annette F. and Middelberg, Anton P.J. (2009). The influence of interfacial viscoelasticity on droplet deformation in microchannels. WCCE8: 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering, Montréal, QC, Canada, 23-27 August 2009.

  • Luo, D. Z., Zhao, C. X. and He, C. H. (2005). Separation for the mixture of petroleum ether (60-90?) and ethyl acetate. China/USA/Japan Joint Chemical Engineering Conference, Beijing, Oct 11-13, 2005.

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Project 1

    New platform technologies for making hybrid core-shell materials

    Poor water solubility of many chemical actives hinders the development of new pharmaceutical, agricultural, food products. For example, 40% of approved drugs and 90% of drugs in development are water-insoluble. New methods are needed for more efficient formulation and delivery of these drugs. This project will develop new platform technologies for making hybrid core-shell materials with exceptionally high drug loading capacity and programmed drug release, delivering new technologies for the manufacture of high-value pharmaceutical product for various applications.

    This project is supported by an ARC Discovery Project. Two PhD scholarships are available.

    Project 2

    Fast microfluidic screening platform for specific binding

    Facile and quick platforms will be developed to screen biomolecule candidates for selective binding to specific metals. The screened biomolecules will be synthesized either using chemical synthesis methods or biological cell expression systems. The selective adsorption of the biomolecules on the target valuable metals will be systematically studied.

    This project is supported by an ARC Centre of Excellence project. PhD scholarship is available.

    Project 3

    Development of stimuli responsive biomolecules for controlling different interfaces

    Peptides or proteins are informational polymers made up of amino acids and are increasingly viewed as key building blocks to achieve specific functions owing to their biocompatibility, sustainability, and ease of functionalization, coupled with facile methods for their economic manufacture. Enabled by the diversity of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids, there is a large sequence and structural solution space for design. This project will explore the functionality of biomolecules to stabilise foams or emulsions, and the potential for switching that functionality based on different switching mechanisms.

    This project is supported by an ARC Centre of Excellence project. PhD scholarship is available.

    Please email z.chunxia@uq.edu.au with your CV, including a summary of academic qualifications, work and research experience, and publication list.