Renewable Nanomaterials and Polymer Nanocomposites

Professor Darren Martin is a global leader in research and commercialisation of polyurethanes, polymer nanocomposites and renewable nanomaterials. In addition to many high impact publications, his research has led to several licensed and granted patents, with a proven track record in “end-to-end innovation”. The Martin Group takes fundamental discoveries and learnings in materials science and biology and progresses the science, engineering, regulation and translation of these technologies for the benefit of Queensland and Australia. Current active platforms include the unique cellulose nanofibres from Australian spinifex arid grasses, and organosilicate nano additives being commercialised by the AIBN spin-out company TenasiTech Pty Ltd.

He has been an active researcher in both the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials and today in UQ’s Centre for Translational Polymer Research. Martin is the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of the successful UQ startup company TenasiTech Pty Ltd ( Founded in 2007, TenasiTech is the first Queensland start-up to receive Commercialisation Australia funding; has won the prestigious iLab Prize in the national Enterprize Competition; and received the 2010 UQ EAIT Commercialisation award.

As inventor and research leader of the spinifex nanocellulose platform technology, Professor Martin won a 2016 UQ Partners in Research Excellence Award (PIREA) for ongoing engagement, co-development and commercialisation of this technology with The Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation (DAC) in remote NW QLD, and most recently a 2019 UQ Award for Excellence in Leadership (Spinifex Nanocellulose Pilot Plant Team at Long Pocket).

Industry Engagement & Collaborations

Professor Martin’s local and international collaborators include Monash University, The University of Western Australia, The University of Padova, Italy, Purdue University, University of California – Santa Barbara, Oregon State University and Stony Brook University, USA, and several others in North America, Europe and China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In 2016 Professor Martin was involved in signing an agreement between UQ and the Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation (DAC) to recognise local Aboriginal traditional owners’ knowledge about spinifex and to ensure that they will have ongoing equity and involvement in the commercialisation of the nanocellulose technology. His team currently work with DAC and several local and international organisations and companies to co-develop, trial and translate this renewable nanotechnology platform. This has involved engagement with the paper and packaging, personal care and building products sectors.


Professor Martin has been the recipient of four Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grants and has secured more than $15 million in research and commercialisation funding since 1999. He has four granted patents and two filed patents in these areas. He has worked with Australian regulators such as NICNAS and WorkSafe Australia on policy for nanomaterials/nanocomposites safety and occupational hygiene. Professor Martin has also been a member of the Engineers Australia Nanoengineering panel and has delivered more than 22 keynote and plenary talks to international conferences, and in recent times been invited to provide an academic perspective on nanomaterials discovery, innovation and translation in Australia. During the past five years a large proportion of his research funding has been derived from the private sector.

Key Publications

Belcher C, Marshall R, Edwards G, Martin DJ. (2012) The Commercialization of Nanotechnology: The Five Critical Success Factors to a Nanotech-enabled Whole Product, in Nanotechnology Commercialization. Tsuzuki T (Ed.), Singapore: Pan Stanford Publishing. ISBN: 9789814303286.

Amiralian, N., Annamalai, P. K., Memmott, P., Taran, E., Schmidt, S. and Martin, D. J. (2015), Easily deconstructed, high aspect ratio cellulose nanofibres from Triodia pungens; an abundant grass of Australia's arid zone. RSC Advances, 5(41), 32124-32132.

Amiralian, N., Annamalai, P. K., Memmott, P. and Martin, D. J. (2015), Isolation of cellulose nanofibrils from Triodia pungens via different mechanical methods. Cellulose, 22(4), 2483-2498.

Mortimer G. M., Butcher N. J., Musumeci A. W., Deng Z. J., Martin D. J. and Minchin R. F. (2014), Cryptic epitopes of albumin determine mononuclear phagocyte system clearance of nanomaterials. ACS Nano, 8(4), 3357-3366.

Andriani, Y., Jack, K. S., Gilbert, E. P., Edwards, G. A., Schiller, T. L., Strounina, E., Osman, A.F. and Martin, D. J. (2013). Organization of mixed dimethyldioctadecylammonium and choline modifiers on the surface of synthetic hectorite. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 409, 72-79.

Musumeci, A., Gosztola, D., Schiller, T., Dimitrijevic, N. A., Vladimiro, M., Martin D. and Rajh, T. (2009). SERS of semiconducting nanoparticles (TiO2 hybrid composites). JACS Communication, 131(17), 6040-6041.