Nanomaterials for target delivery of drugs, genes and vaccines against the infectious diseases (anti-tumour, anti-bacteria and anti-viruses)

Professor Zhi Ping (Gordon) Xu’s research focuses on controlled preparation of layered double hydroxide (LDH) nanomaterials, calcium phosphate (CaP) nanoparticles, nanoemulsions (NEs), quantum dots (QDs), chemosensors (CSs) and nanosensors (NSs), and their applications in biomedicine and agriculture, including: (1) controlled preparation of these nanoparticles with the desirable size and size distribution. In some cases, these particles need to be homogeneously dispersed in aqueous solution; (2) in vitro and in vivo cellular delivery vehicles of chemotherapeutic drugs, such as pharmaceutical drugs, oligonucleotides, siRNA, DNA/RNA segments, heparin and proteins for the treatment of cancer diseases, neuronal diseases and cardiovascular diseases; (3) development of clay nanomaterials into effective adjuvant of protein vaccines against infectious diseases for humans, animals and plants; (4) monitoring diseases and treatment progress; (5) Food quality real-time monitoring.

Professor Zhi Ping (Gordon) Xu is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow (2013-2016) and UQ VC Senior Research Fellow (2017-2019). Since 2004, He has received a number of fellowships and awards, including an ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (2005-2007), ARC Australian Research Fellowship (2008-2012), and UQ Foundation’s Research Excellence Award (2009). Professor Xu is an ARC and NHMRC referee.

Industry Engagement & Collaborations

  • Design and Development of Bioclay for Crop Protection (Nufarm)
  • Fish Disease Management using Nanomaterials-hybridised Formulations (Huon Aquaculture)
  • Design and Development of Paper-based Sensing Device for Monitoring Food Quality (Wiley)


Professor Xu and his colleagues have received funding from the ARC and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) totalling more than $15 million

Key Publications

  1. Liu, C; Zhang, R; Zhang, W; Liu, J; Wang, Y; Du, Z; Song, B; Xu, ZP; Yuan, J: “Dual-Key-and-Lock” Ruthenium Complex Probe for Lysosomal Formaldehyde in Cancer Cells and Tumors. Journal of the American Chemical Society, Available online in April 2019. doi:10.1021/jacs.8b13898
  2. Chen, W; Zuo, H; Rolfe, B; Schembri, MA; Cobbold, RN; Zhang, B; Mahony, TJ; Xu, ZP: “Clay nanoparticles co-deliver three antigens to promote potent immune responses against pathogenic Escherichia coli”. Journal of Controlled Release, 292:196-209, 2018. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.11.008
  3. Zhang, L; Xie, X; Liu, D; Xu, ZP; Liu, R: “Efficient co-delivery of neo-epitopes using dispersion-stable layered double hydroxide nanoparticles for enhanced melanoma immunotherapy”. Biomaterials, 174: 54-66, 2018. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.05.015
  4. Li, B; Tang, J; Chen, W; Hao, G; Kurniawan, N; Gu, Z; Xu, ZP: “Novel theranostic nanoplatform for complete mice tumor elimination via MR imaging-guided acid-enhanced photothermo-/chemo-therapy”. Biomaterials, 177:40-51, 2018. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.05.055
  5. Li, B; Gu, Z; Kurniawan, N; Chen, W; Xu, ZP: “Manganese-based layered double hydroxide nanoparticles as a T1-MRI contrast agent with ultrasensitive pH response and high relaxivity”. Advanced Materials, 29, 1700373, 2017. doi:10.1002/adma.201700373
  6. Mitter, N; Worrall, EA; Robinson, K; Li, P; Jain, RG; Taochy, C; Carroll, BJ; Lu, GQ; Xu ZP: “Clay nanosheets for stable delivery of RNA interference as a topical application to protect plants against viruses”. Nature Plants, 3, 16207.1-16207.10, 2017. doi:10.1038/nplants.2016.207
  7. Chen W; Zhang B; Mahony T; Gu W; Rolfe B; Xu ZP: “Efficient and Durable Vaccine against Intimin β of Diarrheagenic E. Coli Induced by Clay Nanoparticles”. Small, 12, 1627-1639, 2016.
  8. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Liang XW; Wang HL,Grice JE; Li L; Liu X; Xu ZP; Roberts MS: “A Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Model for Long-circulating Inorganic Nanoparticles”. Nano Letters, 16, 939-945, 2016.
  9. Liang, XW; Wang, HL; Zhu, Y; Zhang, R; Cogger, VC; Liu, X; Xu, ZP; Roberts, MS; Grice, JE: “Short- and long-term tracking of anionic ultra-small nanoparticles in kidney”. ACS Nano, 10, 387-395, 2016.