Bio-inspired Materials

I am the Group Leader of Bio-inspired Materials research at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. My pioneering research uses a nanocellulose platform technology to develop innovative materials for diverse applications, including biodegradable packaging materials, medical textiles, and bioelectronics. The application of nanocellulose for advanced materials is gaining interest internationally, and my vision is to capitalise on this momentum to spearhead research into new sustainable products that will have global impact.

I am dedicated to inspiring the next generation of scientists through supervision and mentorship, outreach activities and media coverage. I have been instrumental in the development of a culture of collaboration and career support for the next generation of research leaders, in particular women in science. I have been engaged in communities such as AIBN Gender Equity, UQ Ally, UQ Wellness Ambassador, UQ HDR career development mentoring program, Early Career Researcher committee, Women in Technology (WiT) Life science committee, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and conferences committee and also play role as a Queensland Flying Scientist.  I also have been an invited committee member of Standards Australia and Joint Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand, contributing to the preliminary work item for ISO/TC229 JWG2 on the characterisation of nanoparticles.

In recognition of my contribution to the field of nanomaterials engineering and research excellence I have received a number of awards including; The Eight Australian Women Who Are Shaking up the World Of Science (Marie Claire, 2020), one of Australia’s Top 5 Scientists (ABC/UNSW, 2018), Queensland Women in STEM Prize- judges choice award (2017), Women in Technology Life Sciences and/or Infotech Rising Star Award (2016), AIBN Research Excellence Award (2016), a Class of 2014 Future Leader award and Best poster prize at the Australian Nanotechnology Network ECR Entrepreneurship workshop(2015).

Industry

My research has afforded unique opportunities to drive collaborations with Indigenous Australians and industry partners. I forged collaborations with both groups of partners and built trust in these relationships through positive outcomes and considerate navigation of complex landscapes that bridge the academic-industrial divide. 

Key Publications

Tailored nanocellulose-grafted polymer brush applications. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2021, 9, 17173

Microalgal nanocellulose – opportunities for a circular bioeconomy. Trends in Plant Science, 26 (9), 924-939

Reinforcement of natural rubber latex using lignocellulosic nanofibers isolated from spinifex grass. Nanoscale, 9 (27), 9510-9519

Easily deconstructed, high aspect ratio cellulose nanofibres from Triodia pungens; an abundant grass of Australia's arid zone. RSC Advances, 5 (41), 32124-32132

Magnetic nanocellulose: a potential material for removal of dye from water. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 394 122571, 1-8


Funding

To date, I have contributed to securing more than $4 million funding, of which $ 2.5 million has been awarded as the sole applicant. This includes Advance Queensland Fellowships, UQ ECR Fellowship, Strategic University Reform Fund, Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation and UQ Strategic funding, Australia-Japan Foundation, AMP’s Tomorrow Fund, UniQuest Pathfinder and several Australian Opal Neutron Beam Facility And National Deuteration Facility grants.