Chris specialises in the discovery and development of innovative biologics, fusion proteins, nanoprobes, rapid response diagnostic platforms and programmable bionanomaterials for application in bio nano technologies

​Chris and his biologics research team are focused on developing a molecular toolbox that can be utilised and customised to drive, enable and enhance various bio nano technologies for application in diagnostics, molecular targeting and molecular discovery. Chris and the team have several research programs with multiple academic and industry partners focused on developing key molecular platforms for the toolbox. This includes the:

i) NANOYEAST (NanoRAT). A novel nano-bioengineered reagent which can be coupled with diagnostics platforms such as lateral flow assays for visual readout, SERs for enhanced Raman readout and also utilising electrochemical signalling for digitial output. The nanoyeast is also being utilised for protein display as part of a Discovery Grant on molecular biopanning (DP220100960) with key collaborator and ARC Laureate Fellow Prof Matt Trau. The nanoyeast is also being developed as a platform for the display and stabilisation of a variety of proteins, including multifunctional proteins and proteins to invoke immune responses as nanoyeast vaccines

ii) PhageXpress molecular discovery platform. An innovative, customisable and high throughput nano-chip nanomixing ac-EDH based platform developed in Prof Trau's lab to be applied for rapid biopanning of large molecular libraries (mRNA, phage and yeast based monobody, nanobody, scFv, peptide display libraries) against target molecules to discover novel target binders. This technology is the focus of a Discovery Grant on molecular biopanning (DP220100960)

iii) fusion protein based biosensors. Development of fusion proteins with target binding and signalling molecules for visual (Colorimetric readout), flurescence, luminescent and digital (electrochemical) detection of molecules in diagnostic and biosensing assays

iv) Bispecific antibodies that target nanomaterials such as PEG Chris is an inventor of a patented platform technology for generating targeted nanomedicines using bispecific antibodies and a CI on grants focused on this technology. BsAbs are applied in simple and rapid development of diagnostic surfaces as well as for targeted delivery of nanomaterials carrying molecules such as proteins, drugs, RNA, imaging agents to specific biomarkers. Targeted nanomedicines have revolutionised therapeutic strategies, offering new approaches for diagnosing and treating diseases, however their application in nanomedicine is often limited due to complexities associated with protein conjugations to synthetic nanocarriers. Current strategies for attaching targeting ligands to nanomaterials are complex and often inefficient and ligand density can be difficult to control. BsAbs targeting nanomaterials such as PEG enable simple attachment of targeting molecules. Dr Howard is also a collaborator within the ARC Centre of Excellence, and recieved the Centre of Excellence "Best Publication of 2016" award for this work on bispecific antibody targeted nanomaterials.

Chris is an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow/Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. He is a chief investigator within the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation and a leader on projects involving industrial partners including CSL and GE. Prior to working at the University of Queensland, he was a researcher at the University of Cambridge, focusing on the cell receptors involved in the innate immune response and inflammation. He has also worked for the biopharmaceutical company CBio Ltd, making biologics for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. His current interest focuses on the design, engineering and analysis of biologicals such as antibodies for the development of novel hybrid bio-nanomaterials. He is particularly interested in the development of multi-specific nanomaterials using bispecific antibodies for application in diagnostics, imaging and drug delivery.


​Advance Qld Fellowship with XIng Technologies and CSIRO

ARC Linkage Grants with Aegros, Glytherix, InterK

ARC ITTC grants with CSL, GE and Cytiva

Research collaboration with Servatus Biopharmaceuticals, Glytherix 

International collaboration with Samyang


Dr Howard has many collaborations in academic and industry settings. This includes work on the nanoyeast technology and phageexpress platform with industry partners Xing, CSIRO and ARC Laureate Fellow Prof Matt Trau. Chris also collaborates with several research groups at UQ, including AIBN groups led by Prof Gordon Xu, Prof Kris Thurecht on the BsAb technology for nanomaterial targeting. Chris is also working with BASE (Cheetham and Mercer groups) to enhance targeting delivery of mRNA.


ARC Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation: (2017–2020) ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres

Immuno-polymeric drugs for prostate cancer therapy: (2016–2018) NHMRC Project Grant

EGFR targeted nanoparticle feasibility study: (2016–2017) Samyang Biopharmaceuticals Corporation

Key Publications

1. Howard CB, Fletcher N, Houston ZH, Fuchs AV, Boase NR, Simpson JD, Raftery LJ, Ruder T, Jones ML, de Bakker CJ, Mahler SM, Thurecht KJ (2016) Overcoming Instability of Antibody-Nanomaterial Conjugates: Next Generation Targeted Nanomedicines Using Bispecific Antibodies. Advanced Healthcare Materials 5 (16): 2055-68.(IF 5.76)

2. Patent: Howard CB, Mahler SM and Thurecht KJ (2016). Targeting constructs for delivery of payloads. International Patent Application Number: PCT/AU2016/050069

3. Raftery LJ, Grewal YS, Howard CB, Jones ML, Shiddiky MJ, Carrascosa LG, Thurecht KJ, Mahler SM, Trau M (2016) Biosensing made easy with PEG-targeted bi-specific antibodies. Chemical communications (Cambridge, England) 52 (33): 5730-3. (IF 6.56) (Citations 3).

4. Alsultan AM, Chin DY, Howard CB, de Bakker CJ, Jones ML, Mahler SM (2016) Beyond Antibodies: Development of a Novel Protein Scaffold Based on Human Chaperonin 10. Scientific Reports 5: 37348. (IF 5.47)

5. Jones ML, Alfaleh MA, Kumble S, Zhang S, Osborne GW, Yeh M, Arora N, Hou JJ, Howard CB, Chin DY, Mahler SM (2016) Targeting membrane proteins for antibody discovery using phage display. Scientific reports 6: 26240. (IF 5.47) (Citations 1)