Professor Anton Middelberg, above, and PhD student Alemu Tekewe Mogus explains his research, below.
Professor Anton Middelberg, above, and PhD student Alemu Tekewe Mogus explains his research, below.
BE (Hons) Adel, PhD Adel, MA Cantab, FIChemE FTSE
UQ Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & International)
AIBN Group Leader



Professor Middelberg is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & International) at The University of Queensland, where he leads the university-wide research portfolio. He obtained his Bachelor (1989) and PhD (1993) degrees from the University of Adelaide and his Master of Arts from Cambridge (2001). After appointment as the youngest lecturer in engineering at the University of Adelaide, and a Fulbright Fellowship at UC Berkeley, he accepted a position at Cambridge University. There, he was rapidly tenured and promoted twice against quota to become the Reader in Biological Engineering. In this role he reported directly to the university’s General Board and was a member of the Governing Body of Selwyn College and a Fellow of the Cambridge-MIT Institute. In 2003, he returned to Australia as a Federation Fellow of the Australian Research Council (ARC) to progress his research into bio-inspired nanotechnology. His research into virus-like particle and nanoemulsion self-assembly has attracted more than $10million in research funding since 2003, including from the ARC, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Professor Middelberg was awarded the 2010 Queensland Premier’s Fellowship (one per annum statewide) to progress his research, within the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at UQ, into low-cost rapid-response nanovaccine manufacture. He has been named by Engineers Australia as one of the 100 most influential engineers in Australia, and has received a number of awards including the Brodie and Shedden-Uhde medals of the Institution of Engineers Australia. Professor Middelberg has published more than 170 refereed papers at the interface between biology and engineering and serves in a number of editorial roles including as Editor-in-Chief of Chemical Engineering Science and as Associate Editor of Vaccine.

Research: Biomolecular engineering

Professor Middelberg and his team conduct research in vaccine engineering, biosurfactants and bio-inspired nanomaterials. Projects encompass new technologies for cost-effective rapid vaccine development, sustainable biosurfactant technologies and nanomedicine approaches based on fundamental understanding of bio-nano interactions. Research teams collaborate extensively nationally and internationally, with regular invitations to global events. Recent funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is targeting low-cost vaccine solutions to Rotavirus for the developing world. Alemu Tekewe Mogus joined the group from Ethiopia to advance the project. His journey is captured in a recent video.

International links

Professor Middelberg is Editor-in-Chief of leading international journal Chemical Engineering Science. He is Associate Editor of Vaccine and an Editorial Advisory Board Member for Trends in Biotechnology. Professor Middelberg has editorial roles on the Biochemical Engineering Journal, the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Bioprocessing. He has joint publications with researchers from Tianjin University, China; Oxford and Cambridge Universities, UK; University of California Berkeley, US; KAIST, Korea; and a number of companies including Eli Lilly, Novartis and Dow. Professor Middelberg has served in scientific roles for numerous international conferences including the International Biotechnology Symposium (Daegu, South Korea, 2012); the International Small-Angle Scattering Conference (Sydney, 2012); the Asian Congress of Biotechnology (Shanghai, China, 2011); and Recovery XIV (Lake Tahoe, USA, 2010).

Memberships, patents and funding

Professor Middelberg is an elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers UK. Professor Middelberg has attracted more than $13 million in research funding since 2003 and has been named as an inventor on almost 58 patents and applications.

Awards and plenaries

Professor Middelberg’s invention of peptide surfactants was awarded three major prizes including the 2006 TechConnect Prize in Boston. His recent invitations include plenary lectures at the World Congress of Particle Technology in Beijing (2014); the World Congress of Chemical Engineering 9 GLS-11 in Seoul (2013); the 7th Vaccines and ISV Conference in Barcelona (2013); and the 14th Asia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress in Singapore (2012). He annually attends either the AIChE or ECCE meeting where, in his capacity as Editor-in-Chief of Chemical Engineering Science, he introduces the Danckwerts Award Lecturer.

Key publications for the past five years

Dimitrijev Dwyer M, Brech M, Yu AL, Middelberg APJ. (2014) Intensified expression and purification of a recombinant biosurfactant protein. Chem Eng Sci 105, 12-21.

Zeng BJ, Chuan YP, O’Sullivan B, Caminschi I, Lahoud MH, Thomas R, Middelberg APJ. (2013) Receptor-specific delivery of protein antigen to dendritic cells by a nanoemulsion formed using top-down non-covalent click self-assembly. Small 9(22), 3736-3742 (frontispiece).

Wibowo N, Chuan YP, Lua LHL, Middelberg APJ. (2013) Modular engineering of a microbially-produced viral capsomere vaccine for influenza. Chem Eng Sci 103, 12-20.

Chuan YP, Rivera-Hernandez T, Wibowo N, Connors NK, Wu Y, Hughes FK, Lua LHL, Middelberg APJ. (2013) Effects of pre-existing anti-carrier immunity and antigenic element multiplicity on efficacy of a modular virus-like particle vaccine. Biotechnol Bioeng 110(9), 2343-2351 (front cover).

Middelberg APJ, Rivera-Hernandez T, Wibowo N, Lua LHL, Fan YY, Magor G, Chang C, Chuan YP, Good MF, Batzloff MR. (2011) A microbial platform for rapid and low-cost virus-like particle and capsomere vaccines. Vaccine 29(41), 7154-7162.

Professor Anton Middelberg section

Middelberg group media releases

Middelberg Group: Current Research Projects

Middelberg PhD projects

Active research projects spanning vaccine engineering, biopharmaceuticals and biorenewables

Middelberg publications

Comprehensive list from 1990-2013

Middelberg group members

Includes researchers, students and administration staff


The startup company formed to commercialise a novel class of reversible surfactants
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