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Personal profile


I am currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Drug Delivery, Disposition and Dynamics Theme at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Prior to my current role I held appointments as Dean of Residents, New College Village UNSW, and as a Technical Assistant at a major Australian firm of patent and trade mark attorneys. My initial scientific training was conducted at UNSW in the discipline of Industrial Chemistry, and I obtained my PhD from the same university in 2003. I then conducted postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Prof. Frank Caruso at the University of Melbourne (2003-2004), and was an Australian Postdoctoral Fellow in the same group from 2005-2007.

Research interests

The rational design of new materials promises to create exciting new opportunities for pharmaceutical science. In particular, the development of new excipients that can potentially offset the side-effects and disadvantages of underutilized drugs offers obvious benefits for the health sciences. My research is focused in this area and can be broadly categorized into (i) materials capable of augmenting / interrupting cell signalling pathways; (ii) new methodologies for functionalising biomolecules with polymers; and (iii) new materials for improving the oral delivery of poorly water soluble drugs. To achieve these goals I employ polymer synthesis techniques such as reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization and Cu(0)-mediated living radical polymerization. I also employ analytical techniques from surface chemistry such as quartz crystal microgravimetry (QCM) to probe the interactions between specifically designed polymers and biomolecules. 

Community service

I currently serve as the secretary of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute's Victorian Polymer Group and co-convene the annual PolymerVic symposium. 


  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanomedicine
  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Self-assembly
  • Surface modification
  • Biomaterials
  • Drug delivery
  • Colloids and interfaces

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Projects 2017 2021

Research Output 2001 2018

A tunable one-pot three-component synthesis of an 125I and Gd-labelled star polymer nanoparticle for hybrid imaging with MRI and nuclear medicine

Esser, L., Lengkeek, N. A., Moffat, B. A., Vu, M. N., Greguric, I., Quinn, J. F., Davis, T. P. & Whittaker, M. R., 7 Jul 2018, In : Polymer Chemistry. 9, 25, p. 3528-3535 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Controlling Nanomaterial Size and Shape for Biomedical Applications via Polymerization-Induced Self-Assembly

Khor, S. Y., Quinn, J. F., Whittaker, M. R., Truong, N. P. & Davis, T. P., 1 Jan 2018, (Accepted/In press) In : Macromolecular Rapid Communications. 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Elucidating the Influences of Size, Surface Chemistry, and Dynamic Flow on Cellular Association of Nanoparticles Made by Polymerization-Induced Self-Assembly

Khor, S. Y., Vu, M. N., Pilkington, E. H., Johnston, A. P. R., Whittaker, M. R., Quinn, J. F., Truong, N. P. & Davis, T. P., 23 Aug 2018, In : Small. 14, 34, 13 p., 1801702.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Exploiting macromolecular design to optimize the antibacterial activity of alkylated cationic oligomers

Grace, J. L., Schneider-Futschik, E. K., Elliott, A. G., Amado, M., Truong, N. P., Cooper, M. A., Li, J., Davis, T. P., Quinn, J. F., Velkov, T. & Whittaker, M. R., 25 Oct 2018, (Accepted/In press) In : Biomacromolecules. 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Nano-assemblies of cationic mPEG brush block copolymers with gadolinium polyoxotungstate [Gd(W5O18)2]9- form stable, high relaxivity MRI contrast agents

Ly, J., Li, Y., Vu, M. N., Moffat, B. A., Jack, K. S., Quinn, J. F., Whittaker, M. R. & Davis, T. P., 21 Apr 2018, In : Nanoscale. 10, 15, p. 7270-7280 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review