Dr Chun-Xia Zhao
Dr Chun-Xia Zhao

PhD, Zhejiang University, China
ARC Future Fellow and Associate Group Leader


Telephone: +61 7 3346 4263, Email: z.chunxia@uq.edu.au

Research: Biosurfactant, drug delivery, bio-inspired nanomaterials, vaccine delivery, microfluidics, controlled release

Dr Chun-Xia Zhao joined Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), The University of Queensland in early 2008 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Prof. Anton Middelberg's group, after obtained her PhD degree in Zhejiang University. In 2011, Dr Zhao was awarded an ARC Discovery project along with the Australian Postdoctoral Fellow as the sole investigator.

In 2014, she was awarded the prestigious ARC Future Fellow and appointed as the Associate Group Leader. Her research in bio-inspired nanotechnology and microfluidics has attracted more than $2M in research funding since 2011, including four Australian Research Council projects (ARC Future Fellowship project, two ARC discovery projects and one ARC Linkage project) as the lead investigator, two national prestigious fellowships (Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship and Australian Research Council Future Fellowship), UQ Early Career Award and UQ New Staff Start-Up grant. She has been invited to visit Harvard University as a Fellow of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (Oct - Dec, 2014) working with a leading pioneer in microcapillary and microfluidics ― Prof. David Weitz.

Dr 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. Dr Zhao has been focusing on innovative research, and have been active in patent application to transfer her research into practical applications, as evidenced by her four patents.

Dr 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 journals, 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). Dr 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.


  • 2014-2018: Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship. Platform technologies for  multifunctional nanocarrier systems.
  • 2015-2018: ARC Discovery Project. Next generation core-shell materials based on biomolecular dual-templating.
  • 2014-2017: Prof. Anton Middelberg, Prof. Nikolai Petrovsky. ARC Linkage Project. Engineering improved technology for nanoparticle-based adjuvant manufacture.
  • 2011-2014:  ARC Discovery Project (along with the awarding of APD). Engineered nanoporous materials and composites having hierarchical structures by emulsion templating.
  • 2012: UQ Early Career Research Grants. pH-responsive core-shell mesoporous silica nanocomposites for bioimaging and targeted drug delivery.
  • 2011: UQ New Staff Research Start-up Fund. Biomimetic synthesis of inorganic nanoparticles using microfluidic crystals.

Top 20 Key Publications

Chun-Xia Zhao, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Chapter 10 "Stimuli-responsive peptide nanostructures at the fluid-fluid interface" in “Protein Nanotechnology: Protocols, Instrumentation, and Applications”, Second Edition, Juliet A. Gerrard (Editor); Springer Science+Business Media, 2013, DOI 10.1007/978-1-62703-354-1_10. Invited chapter

Chun-Xia Zhao, Mirjana Dimitrijev Dwyer, Alice Lei Yu, Yang Wu, Sheng Fang, Anton P. J. Middelberg*. A simple and low-cost platform technology for producing pexiganan antimicrobial peptide in E. coli. Biotechnology and Bioengineering. 2014 Nov 25. doi: 10.1002/bit.25505

David Wibowo, Chun-Xia Zhao, Anton Middelberg. Emulsion-templated silica nanocapsules formed using bio-inspired silicification. Chemical Communication, 2014, 50: 11325.

Chun-Xia Zhao* (Corresponding author), Anton P.J. Middelberg. Titania microparticles uisng a facile microfluidic mass-transfer control method. Chemical Engineering Science, 2014, 112: 10-14.

Liang Zhao, Arjun Seth, Nani Wibowo, Chun-Xia Zhao, Neena Mitter, Chengzhong Yu, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Nanoparticle vaccines. Vaccine, 2014, 32 3: 327-337. (Invited review article).

Chun-Xia Zhao* (Corresponding author). Multiphase flow microfluidics for the production of single or multiple emulsions for drug delivery. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. 2013, 65: 1420-1446. (Invited paper). (Impact Factor: 12.89)

Chun-Xia Zhao, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Microfluidic mass-transfer control for the simple formation of complex multiple emulsions. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2009, 48: 1-5. (Impact Factor: 13.73)

Chun-Xia Zhao* (corresponding author), Lei Yu, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Magnetic mesoporous silica nanoparticles end-capped with hydroxyapatite for pH-responsive drug release. Journal of Materials Chemistry B. 2013, Journal of Materials Chemistry B. 2013, 1: 4828-4833. (Impact Factor: 6.10)

Chun-Xia Zhao* (corresponding author), Anton P.J. Middelberg. Microfluidic synthesis of monodisperse hierarchical silica particles with raspberry-like morphology. RSC Advances. 2013, 3 (44): 21227 – 21230. (Impact Factor:2.56)

Chun-Xia Zhao* (Corresponding author), Lizhong He, Shizhang Qi, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Nanoparticle synthesis in microreactors. Chemical Engineering Science, 2011, 66(7): 1463-1479. (Invited paper) (Impact Factor: 2.39). Top 10 hottest papers in 2011 and 2012.

Chun-Xia Zhao, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Two-phase microfluidic flows. Chemical Engineering Science, 2011, 66(7): 1394-1411. (Impact Factor: 2.39) Top 10 and 25 hottest papers in 2011 and 2012.

Chun-Xia Zhao* (corresponding author), Anton P.J. Middelberg. One-step fabrication of titania hollow spheres by controlled interfacial reaction in a droplet-based microfluidic system. Microfluidics and Nanofluidics. 2013, 14(3): 703-709. (Impact Factor: 3.22)

Chun-Xia Zhao, Elisabeth Rondeau, Justin J. Cooper-White, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Microfluidic elucidation of the effects of interfacial rheology on droplet deformation. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, (Invited paper) 2012, 51, 2021-2029. (Impact Factor: 2.21)

Chun-Xia Zhao* (corresponding author), Lei Yu, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Design of Low-Charge Peptide Sequences for High-Yield Formation of Titania Nanoparticles. RSC Advances, 2012, 2: 1292-1295. (Impact Factor:2.56)

Chun-Xia Zhao, Erik Miller, Justin J. Cooper-White, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Effects of fluid-fluid interfacial elasticity on droplet formation in microfluidic devices. AIChE Journal, 2011, 57(7): 1669-1677. (Impact Factor: 2.49)

Chun-Xia Zhao, Chao-Hong He. Mass transfer and separation criteria for high-speed countercurrent chromatography. AIChE Journal, 2011, 57(2): 359-372. (Impact Factor: 2.49)

Chun-Xia Zhao, Ya-Lan Xu, Chao-Hong He. Axial dispersion in high-speed counter-current chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A, 2009, 1216: 4841-4846. (Impact Factor: 4.61)

Chun-Xia Zhao, Chao-Hong He. Sample capacity in preparative high-speed counter-current chromatography, Journal of chromatography A, 2007, 1146: 186-192. (Impact Factor: 4.61)

Chun-Xia Zhao, Chao-Hong He. Solubility of atractylenolide III in hexane, ethyl acetate,  diethyl  ether, and ethanol from (283.2 to 323.2) K. Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data, 2007, 52: 1223-1225. (Impact Factor: 2.00)

Einar O. Fridjonsson, Thusara C. Chandrasekera, Andrew J. Sederman, Michael L. Johns, Chun-Xia Zhao, Anton P.J. Middelberg. Imaging the effects of peptide bio-surfactants on droplet deformation in a Taylor-Couette Shear Cell.  Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 2961-2967. (Impact Factor: 3.91)

Research expertise

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.

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