Skip to menu Skip to content Skip to footer

You're viewing this site as a domestic an international student

You're a domestic student if you are:

  • a citizen of Australia or New Zealand,
  • an Australian permanent resident, or
  • a holder of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa.

You're an international student if you are:

  • intending to study on a student visa,
  • not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand,
  • not an Australian permanent resident, or
  • a temporary resident (visa status) of Australia.
You're viewing this site as a domestic an international student

A long-lasting oral drug delivery system using spiky silica nanoparticles

This project is closed for international students.

Project summary

St Lucia
Research area
Biomedical and clinical sciences

Project description

Medication adherence is required for the effectiveness of all pharmacotherapies, especially for long-term treatment of chronic illness and infectious diseases. However, intensive dosage regimens with a high pill burden are associated with a low adherence rate, leading to compromised or even failure of therapies.

This project aims to realise the ideal of ‘pillbox in a capsule’, i.e. taking a single tablet that will provide sustained drug release over several days, by developing a long-lasting oral drug delivery platform with prolonged gastrointestinal transit time.

Inspired by bio-adhesive natural systems, where spiky surfaces enable strong adhesion, silica particles will be engineered with a spiky morphology as oral drug delivery vehicles, and their interactions at the bio-interfaces in gastrointestinal environment will be investigated in detail. The physicochemical properties of the spiky particles will be tailored to control their gastrointestinal transit time and fit desired pharmacokinetic profiles of a number of therapeutic drugs.

A versatile delivery platform will be thus established, and the safety profiles of these silica particulate formulations will also be assessed.

Successful completion of this project will generate new knowledge on the relationship between the physicochemical features of spiky silica nanoparticles and their gastric retention.

This project will produce guidelines for the rational design of novel oral drug delivery systems, and new potential clinical strategies for simplified oral medications to improve medication adherence and patient outcomes.


This is an Earmarked scholarship project that aligns with a recently awarded Australian Government grant.

The scholarship includes:

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • your tuition fees covered
  • single overseas student health cover (OSHC).

Learn more about the Earmarked scholarship.


Preferred educational background

You'll be judged on a competitive basis taking into account your:

  • academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of nanoparticle-based drug formulations for oral drug delivery would be beneficial.

You'll demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of nanomedicine and drug delivery and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of chemistry, material science and pharmaceutical science is highly desirable.

How to apply

This project requires candidates to commence no later than Research Quarter 1, 2024. To allow time for your application to be processed, we recommend applying no later than 30 September, 2023 30 June, 2023.

You can start in an earlier research quarter. See application dates.

Before you apply

  1. Check your eligibility for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
  2. Prepare your documentation.
  3. Contact Dr Hao Song ( to discuss your interest and suitability.

When you apply

You apply for this scholarship when you submit an application for a PhD. You don’t need to submit a separate scholarship application.

In your application ensure that under the ‘Scholarships and collaborative study’ section you select:

  • My higher degree is not collaborative
  • I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship
  • UQ Earmarked Scholarship type.

Apply now