Design and synthesis of novel particulate materials for pharmaceutic and agricultural applications

Dr Jun Zhang's background is material science, nanotechnology and bioengineering. Her research focuses on the engineered particulate materials as carriers for medical, agricultural and environmental applications, including veterinary vaccine development, pest control for the livestock industry and crop protection, fertilizer/soil amendment, water pollution remediation, drug delivery and cancer therapy. Dr Jun Zhang has 62 publications, which have been cited over 2,700 times and resulted in an H-index of 30 (Google Scholar). Dr Jun Zhang is a UQ Development Fellow (2022) and the recipient of 2022 UQ Early-to-mid-career Researcher Industry Engagement Award.

​Dr Zhang obtained her Bachelor’s degree of Science in Chemistry at Fudan University in 2008. She then went on to do a Postgraduate Study in Inorganic Chemistry at the Shanghai Key Laboratory of Molecular Catalysis and Innovative Materials, at Fudan University. In 2015, Dr Zhang obtained her PhD degree at the AIBN, UQ under the supervision of Prof Chengzhong Yu, an internationally recognised expert in functional nanomaterials. During her postgraduate study, her research focused on engineering novel siliceous nanomaterials for therapeutic delivery and the systematic investigation of their structural parameter-performance correlation. Since 2015, Dr Zhang worked as a research assistant in Yu Group UQ, before starting as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in 2016. During her 6-year postdoctoral career, her research focused on development of advantageous particulate materials as carriers for medical, agricultural and environmental applications. During her UQ Development Fellowship, Dr Zhang dedicated 10% of time and effort to research commercialisation under the supervision of Dr Phil Nelson (former Senior Director, Commercial Engagement- Physical Sciences, UniQuest) and Dr Michael Angliss (Chief IP Officer and Director, Commercialisation - Physical Sciences).


UniQuest-BASF Research Project, 2022-2023 
Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships, 2017-2021
UniQuest-Israel Chemicals Ltd. Research Project, 2019-2022


​Dr Zhang has been actively engaged in industry collaboration with world-leading companies, including N4 Pharma, Elanco Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia, Anpario, AgriSolutions Australia, ATP research, Ridley Agriproducts, ICL and BASF. She has conducted many contract research projects with industry partners such as Anpario, ICL and BASF.


​Dr Jun Zhang has obtained UQ Development fellowship (2017) from UQ, Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships project (2017) and Women’s Research Assistance Program from Queensland Government. She attracted industrial funding from BASF ($300K) and ICL ($17K).

Key Publications

  1. Sukitha Geethma Kothalawala, Jinqing Jiao, Robert Speight, Hao Song*, Yannan Yang, Jun Zhang*, Pore architecture influences the enzyme immobilization performance of mesoporous silica nanospheres, Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 2022, 338, 111963.
  2. Sukitha Geethma Kothalawala, Jun Zhang*, Yue Wang and Chengzhong Yu*, Submicron-sized vermiculite assisted oregano oil for controlled release and long-term bacterial inhibition, Antibiotics, 2021, 10(11), 1324.
  3. Jun Zhang, Geoff Brown, Jianye Fu, Peter James, Lillian Mukandiwa, Xiaodan Huang and Chengzhong Yu*, Nanobiopesticides: Silica nanoparticles with spiky surfaces enable dual adhesion and enhanced performanceEcoMat, 2020, 2(2), e12028.
  4. Mohammad Kalantari, Zhengying Gu, Yuxue Cao, Chang Lei* and Jun Zhang*, Thiolated silica nanoadsorbents enable ultrahigh and fast decontamination of mercury(ii): understanding the contribution of thiol moieties' density and accessibility on adsorption performanceEnvironmental Science: Nano, 2020, 7(3), 851-860.
  5. Jun Zhang, Long Zhang, Chang Lei, Xiaodan Huang, Yannan Yang and Chengzhong Yu*, A concentration-dependent insulin immobilization behavior of alkyl-modified silica vesicles: the impact of alkyl chain lengthLangmuir, 2018,34(17), 5011-5019.
  6. Jun Zhang, Anthony P. Raphael, Yannan Yang, Amirali Popat, Towl W. Prow and Chengzhong Yu, Nanodispersed UV Blockers in Skin-friendly Silica Vesicles with Superior UV-attenuating Efficiency, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2014, 2(44), 7673. (Front cover story)
  7. Jun Zhang, Surajit Karmakar, Meihua Yu, Neena Mitter, Jin Zou and Chengzhong Yu, Synthesis of Silica Vesicles with Controlled Entrance Size for High Loading, Sustained Release and Cellular Delivery of Therapeutical Proteins, Small, 2014, 10(24), 5068-5076. (Inside front cover story)
  8. Jun Zhang, Meihua Yu, Pei Yuan, Gaoqing (Max) Lu and Chengzhong Yu, Controlled Release of Volatile (-)-Menthol in Nanoporous Silica Materials, Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry, 2011, 71(3-4), 593.
  9. Jun Zhang, Meihua Yu, Pei Yuan, Hongning Wang, Kun Qian, Lei Tan, Yunhua Wang and Chengzhong Yu, Tuning cooperative vesicle templating and liquid crystal templating simply by varying silica source, Journal of Materials Research, 2010, 25(4), 648.
  10. Karishma T. Mody, Donna Mohony, Jun Zhang, Antonino S. Cavallaro, Bing Zhang, Amirali Popat, Timothy J Mahony, Chengzhong Yu and Neena Mitter, Silica vesicles as nanocarriers and adjuvants for generating both antibody and T-cell mediated immune resposes to Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus E2 protein, Biomaterials, 2014, 35(37), 9972.
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