18 September 2013

Medical student Jiang He is part of an emerging link between his Chinese university and The University of Queensland.

Mr He is studying nanotechnology at UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), while receiving credit for his fifth-year undergraduate degree at Shenzhen University.

Mr He, who holds a Shenzhen-Brisbane Sister City Research Scholarship, is working with AIBN Associate Professor Zhi Ping (Gordon) Xu to develop nanoparticles to stimulate target immune responses.

The scholarship is part of a sister city arrangement between Brisbane and Shenzhen, a city of 10 million people in Guangdong Province near Hong Kong.

Working at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials at AIBN, Associate Professor Xu aims to use nanoparticles to deliver biomolecules that manipulate the body’s anti-cancer cells to stimulate a strong immune response in patients.

Targeting diseased parts of the body while leaving healthy cells untouched should reduce the side effects of broad-spectrum treatments such as chemotherapy, in which medicines flood the entire body and also destroy healthy cells.

Mr He said his experience at AIBN had reinforced his interest in a career in biomedical research, starting with a PhD in either Australia or the US.

“We have been solving problems through physics and chemistry for hundreds of years, but there are still lots of questions, especially in significant areas of human health,” Mr He said.

“I would like to be involved in solving those problems.

“With Gordon Xu, I have been improving my research skills, analytical thinking and understanding the research culture. “

Mr He said his visit to Brisbane was his first trip outside China and had given him a more global outlook.

Associate Professor Xu said the global relevance of AIBN’s research attracted a growing cohort of more than 120 PhD students from around the world.

“It is important for researchers to have a global outlook and collaborate with top people in their fields in various parts of the world,” he said.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said sister city relationships delivered real opportunities and results for Brisbane and Shenzhen businesses, students and residents.

“Brisbane offers a quality education experience, boasting 300 world-class institutions including universities, vocational colleges and schools all recognised for the success of their graduates, with more than 75,000 international student enrolments,” Councillor Quirk said.

“This is a great opportunity for a student from Shenzhen to work with and learn from world-class researchers at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

“Through this scholarship opportunity, students from both cities can learn from each other and develop new skills while contributing to advances in biomedical research.”

For information about research internships at AIBN, visit www.aibn.uq.edu.au/our-research

Media: Erik de Wit, 0427 281 466, 3346 3962 or e.dewit@uq.edu.au.