NIMS research featured in The Conversation

September 2017

The online magazine The Conversation has just published an article by researchers: How diseases can be targeted using nanotechnology – and why it’s difficult. The article discusses opportunities and challenges of using particles for targeting diseases. The popular science article discusses developments in the field that were recently reviewed by NIMS researchers in the Wiley journal Advanced Healthcare Materials. This includes new insights on the importance of the nanoparticle corona and the development of new investigative techniques that can complement cell and animal studies. These areas form important topics of what our researchers are investigating as part of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology.

EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship grant awarded to NIMS postdoc

March 2017

NIMS postdoc Dr Mattias Björnmalm was awarded a highly competitive Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action grant by the European Commission. This will enable him to undertake research in Prof Molly Stevens’ labs and her world-class interdisciplinary biomaterials team at Imperial College London, UK, to investigate how nanoparticles interact with cells and tissues using state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are geared to equipping researchers with the necessary skills and international experience for a successful career. The 30 chosen researchers in this round represent the 100,000 fellows who have been supported by the scheme over the past 20 years.

NIMS research spotlighted on ACS journal’s Special Issue cover

January 2017

NIMS research was highlighted as one of four snapshots of methods and protocols articles as part of a Special Issue of the highly ranked ACS journal, Chemistry of Materials. The article outlines three methods used in the NIMS labs for the templated assembly of nanoengineered particles. First described is layer-by-layer assembly to generate core-shell particles and hollow capsules. Second detailed is the use of mesoporous silica templating to engineer porous polymer replica particles. Third reported is how phenolic compounds and metal ions can be used to fabricate thin films via metal–phenolic network formation on particle templates. In line with the issue’s theme, stepwise guides for each method are provided with considerations for how to alter these protocols to achieve desired particle properties.

Journal editorial by NIMS on using action cameras to document research

December 2016

NIMS researchers were the featured writers of an editorial in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials (volume 28, issue 23 (2016)). The open access editorial focused on the use of first-person action cameras to record experiments, methods, and equipment procedures in NIMS labs, as well as the cameras’ use for safety and equipment training, and knowledge transfer. Two supplementary videos are provided with the editorial.

NIMS researchers score presentation awards at 2nd CBNS Annual Workshop

December 2016

Matt Faria (left) and Mattias Björnmalm delivering their presentation

NIMS group leader Prof Frank Caruso plus five NIMS researchers attended the 2nd Annual Workshop of the multi-institutional ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology held in December 2016 in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. The event fostered an environment that stimulated collaboration with researchers attending from all levels across the CBNS’s five national nodes. Prof Caruso is also Deputy Director of the Centre. Of note is that NIMS researchers scored awards for their research presentations; the Honourable Mention for Best Oral Presentation went to Mattias Björnmalm and Matt Faria, and the Honourable Mention for Best Poster was shared by Dr Nadja Bertleff-Zieschang.

NIMS postgrad wins people’s choice award at Chinese researcher symposium

November 2016

NIMS postgrad Danzi Song won the 3-Minute Oral Presentation Competition People’s Choice Award at the 9th Research Symposium for Chinese PhD Students and Scholars in Australia held in Melbourne, Australia on 12 November 2016. Her talk was entitled “Isolating Cancer Cells by Reusable Polysaccharides Coated Particles”. The competition allows candidates to present their projects to a non-professional audience in a concise and engaging oration.

NIMS research Perspective on convergent science in the spotlight

October 2016

A NIMS-researched Perspective on the impact of materials in and beyond bio-nano science was spotlighted by the publisher, Journal of the American Chemical Society, as an exceptional contribution to recent issues. The authors comment on how more can be done to facilitate translation of research into real world applications and treatments.

NIMS research on interlocking nanostructures published in Nature Nanotech

October 2016

Nature Nanotechnology has published NIMS research on developing a nanoscale engineering method that transforms tiny particles into LEGO brick-like modular building blocks that can be tailored to develop advanced materials. Nanoscale objects can be assembled into complex architectures by first coating them with a universally adhesive material (a polyphenol) so that they resemble the studs on LEGO bricks. These can be stuck to templates that determine the final shape of the assembled structure. The research showed 15 representative materials could form different sizes, shapes, compositions and functionalities. This new polyphenol-based particle approach can be adapted to different functions and allows different building blocks to be assembled into super-structures, thereby surpassing previous methods limited by particle-specific assembly. This provides a platform for the rapid generation of super-structured assemblies with enhanced chemical diversity and structural flexibility across a wide range of length scales, from nanometres to centimetres. The work holds promise for micro- and nanoscale applications, including drug delivery, chemical sensing and energy storage.

The paper has also garnered attention from multiple international science news sites, including nanowerk,, Science Newsline, Asian Scientist, gizmodo,, EurekAlert! and Lab+Life Scientist magazine. The article was later featured in the journal’s News and Views section at the time of final publication.

NIMS collaborative research highlighted on journal cover

September 2016

Continuing NIMS collaborative research into metal–organic frameworks has been spotlighted on the cover of the highly ranked Wiley peer-reviewed journal, Advanced Materials. Metal–organic frameworks are an emerging class of porous materials that can be constructed from biofriendly building blocks. This paper reports on the biomimetic mineralisation of metal–organic framework material on living cells as a successful strategy to mimic natural protective mechanisms.

Frank Caruso listed amongst top 300 most-cited materials scientists

July 2016

Frank Caruso has been identified as one of the top 300 most-cited researchers in materials science and engineering as ranked by the total citations of papers. The citation data are based on the Elsevier Scopus database. This list compiles the top 300 publishing researchers in the field according to first or corresponding author status.

NIMS researchers skydive for science

July 2016

Several NIMS postgrads undertook experiments while skydiving from 14,000 feet above Melbourne. The intention was to release metal and organic particles into a solution using a syringe where they would mix and form crystals in the temporary low-gravity generated by free-falling, thereby identifying how gravity influences the formation of crystals in metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which are currently a key research area for NIMS. A portable centrifuge on the ground helped stabilise the crystal growth for measurement. The final results showed that high gravitation causes smaller MOF crystals to form and that at low gravity the crystals are larger. Those involved in the high-altitude experiment were NIMS researchers Mattias Björnmalm (pictured), Matt Faria and Junling Guo, along with Dr Fabio Lisi from the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne. Their research efforts contributed to a paper published in the Wiley journal, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, and were reported in ABC News online (with ABC News 24 Twitter video), and the Melbourne-based Herald-Sun news.

NIMS postgrad awarded OzNanoMed presentation prize

June 2016

Danzi Song, a postgraduate in the NIMS group, was awarded an Honourable Mention for Oral Presentation by a PhD student at the 7th International Nanomedicine Conference (OzNanoMed) held in Sydney in late June 2016. Her talk was titled “Material-Dependent Biological Behaviour of Polymeric Replica Nanoparticles”.

Danzi Song, a postgraduate in the NIMS group, was awarded an Honourable Mention for Oral Presentation by a PhD student at the 7th International Nanomedicine Conference (OzNanoMed) held in Sydney in late June 2016. Her talk was titled “Material-Dependent Biological Behaviour of Polymeric Replica Nanoparticles”.

University of Minnesota researchers visit NIMS labs

June 2016

The NIMS labs welcomed a contingent of 19 high-achieving postgraduate students from the University of Minnesota, USA on 1 June 2016 as part of the Americans’ tour of prominent Australian research groups, including the University of Melbourne. The focus of the class, led by Prof Jerry Sobelman, is on nanotechnology, and biomedical devices and systems. NIMS researchers Dr Nadja Bertleff-Zieschang, Dr Jiwei Cui, Mattias Björnmalm and Matt Faria showed the American researchers around the labs, highlighting current NIMS research and equipment.

Some of the UMinn postgrads being shown imaging equipment flanked by Dr Jiwei Cui (far left) and Paul Brannon (far right) of the Materials Characterisation and Fabrication Platform.

NIMS bio-nano research knowledgebase webpage goes live

May 2016

NIMS research published in the highly ranked ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research includes a link to the new NIMS bio-nano research knowledgebase, a web-based tool that organises the past, present and future work of the NIMS research group regarding the development of nanoengineered drug delivery systems. This database is searchable by particle type, template, composition, cargo, size and application. This tool is intended to serve as a first step towards organising results in the large, complex area of nanoengineered therapeutics. It is intended that this will inspire researchers to generate new ideas and in collecting, collating and sharing their experiences to guide future research.

Frank Caruso delivers QUT public lecture on nanobiomedicine

May 2016

Prof Frank Caruso delivered an invited public lecture on 20 May 2016 as part of Queensland University of Technology (QUT)’s Institute for Future Environments (IFE) Grand Challenge Lecture Series held in Brisbane, Australia. The presentation was entitled Targeting Nanotechnology at Biomedicine: Engineering Particles for Nanomedicine Applications and focused on current NIMS research on the development of engineered particles for cardiovascular disease, tumour targeting, HIV, and drug delivery to the inner ear. Various assembly strategies to generate multifunctional and responsive particles that target, stimulate or distort cells for therapeutic delivery were also discussed.

Chinese government award for NIMS postgrad

March 2016

Qiong Dai (right) with Mr Yumin Song (left), Consul-General at the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Melbourne, where the ceremony was held in April

NIMS postgrad Qiong (Ada) Dai was awarded the 2015 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad by the China Scholarship Council (CSC). The award was established by the Chinese government in 2003 and is based on academic merit to encourage self-financed international Chinese students achieve first-class results during their studies; only 500 are granted each year worldwide. She is currently researching the intracellular dynamics of nanoengineered materials.

JDRF grant awarded to Monash-NIMS collaboration on insulin development

February 2016

A collaboration with Monash University’s Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD) has been awarded a grant from the JDRF to support the development of a revolutionary type of insulin. The grant will provide funding to four research projects taking different approaches to developing glucose responsive insulin (GRIs) therapies for treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes. Dr Christoph Hagemeyer (ACBD research group leader) will work in collaboration with Dr Frank Caruso (UniMelb) and Baker IDI’s Dr Jonathan Shaw, Dr Mark Copper and Dr Terri Allen to develop glucose-sensing nanoparticles.

NIMS article on targeted vaccine delivery judged as “Hot Paper”

January 2016

A recent research paper on targeted vaccine and therapeutic delivery from the NIMS group and international collaborators has been rated as a “Hot Paper” by the Wiley journal, Angewandte Chemie (International Edition). The peer-reviewed article describes how PEGylation is shown to be a key design parameter for improved lymph node delivery of hydrogel nanoparticles incorporating vaccines and therapeutics. Hot Papers are chosen by the journal’s editors for their importance in a rapidly evolving field of high current interest.

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