A/Professor Chun-Xia Zhao
Microfluidic platforms for fabrication and evaluation of nanomedicines
Nanomedicine has attracted tremendous interest in the past years. Despite the significant progress in this field, several key challenges remain. The large-scale production of nanomedicines with reproducible properties and reasonable production cost is very challenging, especially when more functionalities are integrated in the nanomaterials such as targeting, imaging and controlled release. Furthermore, nanomedicines have so many variables including, particle size, charge, surface properties, shape, stiffness as well as the release kinetics, degradation properties, resulting in large libraries of formulations, thus the difficulties in screening and evaluating all the formulations using traditional models. To address these fundamental challenges, my group has developed facile one-step microfluidic method or one-pot approaches for producing multifunctional nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery, including multifunctional liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles and silica nanocapsules. To accelerate the evaluation of these nanosystems, we have also developed 3D tumor spheroid models, in vivo mimicking tumor chips to investigate nanoparticle extravasation, tumor accumulation, and anticancer efficacy. Our microfluidic fabrication platform technologies allow the reliable synthesis of combinatorial libraries of nanomedicines, and our tumor models offer faster and cheaper approaches for screening and evaluating nanomedicines.
Associate Professor Chun-Xia Zhao is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and Group Leader at Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at The University of Queensland, Australia. She leads a research team with a focus on the development of micro and nanostructures based on bio-inspired engineering and microfluidics for controlled release and drug delivery. She has been focusing on innovative research as evidenced by her five patents. A/Prof Zhao’s research has attracted more than $4 M in research funding since 2011, including four Australian Research Council projects as the lead investigator, two national prestigious fellowship (Future Fellowship and Australian Postdocotral Fellowship), night UQ grants, as well as industry funding. She has been recognised for scientific excellence with a 2016 UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award. She has been appointed as member of the 2019 ARC College of Experts (2019-2021). She has built extensive collaborations with scientists at top universities such as Harvard University, Cornell University, etc. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board member for several journals.