Professor Darren Martin


School of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 344 31305


Professor Darren Martin FTSE

A Translational Materials Scientist and Intensive Connector, Darren's work sits at the nexus of three key themes of strong fundamental materials science, safe biomaterials and nanomaterials and scalable advanced manufacturing

Darren has always had a strong passion for translation, as evidenced by the following four major research translation outputs, which share the capacity of advanced materials to enable impacts in health, sustainability, and social empowerment:

1996-2012 - Aortech Biomaterials Ltd: We developed a more biostable pacemaker lead insulation which is now implanted in over 80 million people worldwide (Abbott Medical).

2001-2020 - TenasiTech Pty Ltd: In 2020 our scratch resistant and break-proof acrylic glass technology was sold to RTP, a multinational plastics compounder who now sell into several large markets (appliances, personal care, construction, cell phone cases, automotive parts, etc).

2011-2022 - Spinifex Nanocellulose Platform Technology: In 2021, this technology was licensed to Brisbane startup Trioda Medical Pty Ltd for the development of injectable medical gels.

2015-Present - Sorghum-derived Microfibrillated Cellulose (MFC): My team have demonstrated that sorghum grasses can be pulped and refined into MFC in a far more sustainable manner than wood biomass.

International Collaborators and Industry Partners

Professor Martin’s current international collaborators include Stony Brook University (USA), DTU (Denmark) and IIT-Delhi (India). He also has several materials co-development projects and collaborations with companies such as Advanta Seeds, GSA Innovation, Opal Paper, Cardia Bioplastics, GMG, Duromer, OPS, Dulux and others.

Prizes, Honours and Awards

Excellence & Commercialisation

• 2020 - UTS Chancellor’s Award (awarded to the top Alumni from the whole of UTS each year)

• 2020 - UTS Alumni Award for Excellence - Faculty of Science • 2016 & 2019 - 2 UQ Partners in Research Excellence Awards (PIREAs) (Spinifex project Bulugudu partnership)

• 2015 - State finalist in the 2015 Telstra Business Awards (TenasiTech Pty Ltd)

• 2010 - UQ Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology Commercialisation Award

• 2010 - Engineers Australia Nanoengineering Panel

• 2007 - iLab Prize at the QLD Enterprise Awards (lead to TenasiTech pre-seed investment from UniSeed)

Service & Leadership

• 2021 - ATSE Reconciliation Action Plan reference group and Industry and Innovation Forum

• 2021 - ATSE President Nominations and Interview Committee to deliberate on the current ATSE President

• 2019 - UQ Teams Leadership Award (Spinifex project Bulugudu partnership)

• 2019 - Business Higher Education Round Table Award (Community Engagement Bulugudu partnership)

• 1993 - Member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute RACI and the RACI QLD Polymer Group

Research Interests

  • Polymer nanocomposites
    Layered silicate, carbon nanomaterial or nanocellulose reinforced nanocomposites Enhancement of renewable materials using the nanocomposite approach
  • Biological interactions with nanomaterials
    Nanofiller toxicity, safety and occupational hygiene Biomedical nanocomposites biocompatibility and durability

Research Impacts

Key Impact Outputs. My research has led to invention of seven licensed and granted patent families in the polymer nanocomposites and micro/nanocellulose fields for which I received the 2007 iLab Prize in the national Enterprize Competition and the 2010 UQ EAIT Commercialisation award and the 2020 UTS Chancellor’s Award.

Outcomes from my Work

Aortech Biomaterials Ltd: I contributed significantly to the discovery, business plan, pitching and early-stage commercialisation of biostable polyurethanes of this spinoff from the CRC for Cardiac Technology. 19 papers published, 4 PhD students completed.

TenasiTech Pty Ltd: Inventor. Employed as CSO 2013- 2016. Employed 9 technical staff, $6.5M Venture Capital (VC) investment, $3.2M research grants, $1.3M infrastructure support, 3 patents (P1-P3) all licensed to TenasiTech Pty Ltd, 4 book chapters, 32 journal papers, 14 PhD students completed, critical contributions to federal policy on nanosafety and occupational hygiene, significant curriculum content and lectures in Biomaterials and Nanomaterials undergraduate courses.

Spinifex Nanocellulose Platform Technology: In 2021, this technology was licensed to Brisbane startup Trioda Medical Pty Ltd for the development of injectable medical gels. I was inventor and research leader together with Bulugudu Ltd (formerly Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation (DAC)). This work has been widely recognised, as the project respects Aboriginal traditional owners’ knowledge about Spinifex and ensures ongoing equity and involvement. $2.6M VC investment by UniSeed/UniSuper Nov 2022, $6.5M research grants, $1.5M infrastructure support, 4 patents (P4-P7). All licensed to Bulugudu and Trioda Medical Pty Ltd), 2 book chapters and 24 journal papers, 14 PhD completions, 3% of commercialisation revenue will go to an Indigenous Education Fund, prioritising remote Indigenous education in STEM and nanotechnology.

Sorghum-derived Microfibrillated Cellulose (MFC): My team have demonstrated that sorghum can be pulped and refined into MFC in a far more sustainable manner than wood biomass (IP protection ongoing). We developed a new method to refine sorghum using a very scalable, high throughput twin-screw extrusion process. We have also demonstrated that the different primary sorghum plant sections (e.g. leaf, sheath and stem) are associated with different composition and structure, and can be tailored for different applications (e.g. advanced carbons, bio-composites, recycled paper, bio-gels etc). To date, $5.6M related research grants and commercial subcontracts, 7 journal papers, 2 PhD students completed.


  • PhD, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Bachelor of App Sc (Hons), University of Technology, Sydney


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Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Pennells, Jordan, Martin, Darren J. and Annamalai, Pratheep Kumar (2022). Nanocellulose: a sustainable nanomaterial for controlled drug delivery applications. Innovation in nano-polysaccharides for eco-sustainability: from science to industrial applications. (pp. 217-253) edited by Preeti Singh, Kaiser Manzoor, Saiqa Ikram and Pratheep Kumar Annamalai. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-823439-6.00010-6

  • Martin, Darren (2018). Preface. Frontiers of composite materials II. edited by Darren Martin. Pfaffikon, Switzerland: Trans Tech Publications. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-7295-3940-1.10021-7

  • Memmott, Paul, Martin, Darren and Amiralian, Nasim (2017). Nanotechnology and the Dreamtime knowledge of spinifex grass. Green composites. (pp. 181-198) edited by Caroline Baillie and Randika Jayasinghe. Duxford, United Kingdom: Woodhead Publishing. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-100783-9.00008-3

  • Belcher, Craig, Marshall, Richard, Edwards, Grant and Martin, Darren (2016). The commercialisation of nanotechnology: the five critical success factors to a nanotech-enabled whole product. Handbook of clinical nanomedicine: law, business, regulation, safety, and risk. (pp. 223-259) edited by Raj Bawa, Gerald F. Audette and Brian E. Reese. New York, NY United States: Pan Stanford Publishing. doi: 10.1201/b19910-20

  • Belcher, Craig, Marshall, Richard, Edwards, Grant and Martin, Darren (2013). The commercialization of nanotechnology: the five critical success factors to a nanotech-enabled whole product. Nanotechnology commercialization. (pp. 171-204) edited by Takuya Tsuzuki. Australia: Pan Stanford Publishing. doi: 10.4032/9789814303293

  • Martin, D. J., Osman, A. F., Andriani, Y. and Edwards, G. A. (2012). Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)-based polymer nanocomposites. Advances in polymer nanocomposites : types and applications. (pp. 321-350) edited by Fengge Gao. Sawston, Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing. doi: 10.1533/9780857096241.2.321

  • McCrossan, K., McClory, C., Mayoral, B., Thompson, D., McConnell, D., McNally, T., Murphy, M., Nicholson, T., Martin, D. and Halley, P. (2011). Composites of poly(ethylene terephthalate) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes. Polymer–carbon nanotube composites: preparation, properties and applications. (pp. 545-586) edited by Tony McNally and Petra Pötschke. Oxford, United Kingdom: Woodhead Publishing. doi: 10.1533/9780857091390.2.545

  • Ladewig, Bradley, Martin, Darren, Diniz da Costa, Joao C. and Lu, Gao Qing (2011). Nafion® nanocomposite membranes for direct methanol fuel cell. Encyclopedia of nanoscience and nanotechnology. (pp. 503-515) edited by Hari Singh Nalwa. Valencia, CA, U.S.A.: American Scientific Publishers.

  • Martin, D., Minchin, R. F., Belkina, M., Milev, A. and Kannangara, G. S. Kamali (2011). Toxicity and regulatory perspectives of carbon nanotubes. Polymer-carbon nanotube composites : Preparation, properties and applications. (pp. 621-653) edited by Tony McNally and Petra Pötschke. Cambridge, U.K.: Woodhead Publishing. doi: 10.1533/9780857091390.2.621

  • Smart, S. K., Edwards, G. A. and Martin, D. J. (2010). Thermoplastic polyurethane nanocomposites. Rubber nanocomposites: Preparation, properties and applications. (pp. 239-254) edited by Sabu Thomas and Ranimol Stephen. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9780470823477.ch10

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision