Nick specialises in the development of polymer-based materials for biomedical applications​

Nick is a chemist residing at the interface of chemistry and the biological function of nanomaterials. Nick's research spans the majority of the nanomedicine pre-clinical research pipeline, focusing on the development and application of polymer-based nanoparticles. This includes organic chemistry; synthesising imaging agents and sensors, polymer chemistry; synthesising and characterising nanostructures materials, and the molecular imaging of biomaterials in vivo. Working with Prof. Kristofer Thurecht, Nick helped establish the photoacoustic molecular imaging capability at The University of Queensland. More recently, Nick is focused on the development of synthetic polymer-based biomimetic hydrogels for haemostatic haemorrhage control in combat casualties and for the study of cells in a 3-dimentional extracellular matrix. 

Nick is currently working with Prof. Alan Rowan in the Rowan Group, focused on the development of bioactive polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels for battlefield haemostatic haemorrhage wound management and for studying cellular responses within a 3D hydrogel-based extracellular matrix. In 2019 Nick worked with Associate Professor Idris Blakey developing a nanoparticle sensor for the quantification of sulfide content. Nick completed his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Kristofer Thurecht developing a polymer-based photoacoustic contrast enhancing agent allowing for the real-time visualisation of polymeric nanomedicines within the tumour microenvironment and high-resolution imaging of nanoparticle penetration into solid tumours during in vivo experiments.


​Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research - Nanoparticles for quantification of downhole hydrogen sulfide content 


​​Australian Post-graduate Award (APA)

Key Publications

​Spiky Silver−Iron Oxide Nanohybrid for Effective Dual-Imaging and Synergistic Thermo-Chemotherapy. Shehzahdi S. Moonshi, Karla X. Vazquez-Prada, Joyce Tang, Nicholas J. Westra van Holthe, Gary Cowin, Yuao Wu, Huong D. N. Tran, Ryan Mckinnon, Andrew C. Bulmer, and Hang Thu Ta. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2023.

Understanding nanomedicine treatment in an aggressive spontaneous brain cancer model at the stage of early blood brain barrier disruption. Phillip W. Janowicz, Zachary H. Houston, Jens Bunt, Nicholas L. Fletcher, Craig A. Bell, Gary Cowin, Christopher B. Howard, Dewan Taslima, Nicholas Westra van Holthe, Amber Prior, Vanessa Soh, Saikat Ghosh, James Humphries, Pie Huda, Stephen M. Mahler, Linda J. Richards and Kristofer J. Thurecht. Biomaterials, 2022, 283, 121416.