Polymer Chemistry is the underpinning science of modern materials and biomaterials.  The Polymer Research Group at AIBN/CAI is building and studying new materials to solve practical problems facing our society.  The Polymer Group is part of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and is closely allied with the Centre for Advanced Imaging.

The Polymer Group is lead by a team of senior researchers (Whittaker, Blakey, Thurecht, Peng, Hill) combining experience in synthetic chemistry, physical chemistry, biomaterials science, nanomaterials science, photolithography and NMR and MRI.

The main application areas for our research are in medical imaging agents, nanomaterials science, active surfaces and materials for photolithography.

In an important new initiative (January 2014)  Prof Andrew Whittaker and Dr Kris Thurecht have received funding from the Australian Research Council to participate in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology. This major initiative brings together scientists from Monash University, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales and University of South Australia. Whittaker and Thurecht will be working on development of imaging agents and theranostic molecules.


Research into Polymer Chemistry at the University of Queensland began with the Polymer Materials Science and Radiation Group founded by Prof Jim O'Donnell and Drs David Hill and Peter Pomery in the mid-1970s.  However, polymer research at UQ dates from the appointment of Jim O'Donnell to the Department of Chemistry in 1964.  Many fundamental areas of research into polymerisation and degradation have continuted from those early times.  Below is a picture of the Polymer Chemistry Group taken in 1991 outside the Chemistry Building.

The Polymer Materials and Radiation Group in 1991

Front, left to right: Nino Pollicino, Jodi-Ann Hooper, David Hill, Jim O’Donnell, 
Nigel St. John, George Blazak

Second: Karen Milne, Mike Whittaker, David Hunter, Trudy Pomerantz (nee Carswell),
Cathy Moad (nee Winzor), Peter Pomery, Kirstin Heiland

Third: Limin Dong, Craig Hawker, Mary Austin, Heather St John (nee Willis),
David Rogers, Tina Mahar, Graeme George, Matthew Fulton

Fourth:  Patricia Barnes, Matthew Celina, Richard Ward, Tri Le, Anthony Lang,
Senake Perera, Francine Kroesen


Polymer Group Christmas Party on Brisbane River, December 2012.

Our work spans fundamental to applied sciences; we believe in applying our expertise in polymer and physical chemistry to solve questions important to society.

Specific projects in polymer research include:

Biomaterials Science
one repair; Medical imaging agents; Hydrogels for drug delivery; Synthesis in supercritical fluids; Antimicrobial surfaces

Medical Imaging Agents
MRI relaxation agents; 19F MRI agents; Ultrasound agents; Bimodal molecular imaging

Radiation chemistry; Immersion lithography; EUV lithography; Block copolymer healing of LER

Nanomaterials Science and NMR Spectroscopy


The research in the Polymer Chemistry Group is funded from a number of sources, including the University of Queensland, the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council,  the Queensland State Government through the Smart State Schemes, the Australian Cancer Research Fund, the Australian Institute for Nuclear Science and Energy, Dairy Innovation Australia, and by our industrial partners, notably Dow Chemical Company, Eli Lilly, Sematech and Intel.

We collaborate with leading researchers and groups on four continents, some of which are listed below and on our links page.




About the Polymer Group section


Brisbane Institutes and Collaborators Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, UQ

Recent Publications (last 5 years)

Employment Opportunities

The Polymer Group advertises its research and support positions on the University of Queensland's UQJobs Web Page - please refer to both the Academic and Gene...
Go to top