Professor Guangzhao Mao received her BSc degree in chemistry from Nanjing University, Nanjing, China and her PhD degree in chemical engineering from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul, USA. She holds the position of Professor and Head of School, School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining UNSW, Professor Mao was a professor at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA. She served as the Chair of...view more
Professor Guangzhao Mao received her BSc degree in chemistry from Nanjing University, Nanjing, China and her PhD degree in chemical engineering from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul, USA. She holds the position of Professor and Head of School, School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining UNSW, Professor Mao was a professor at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA. She served as the Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Wayne State University from 2015 to 2020. Professor Mao's research group develops a wide range of nanomaterials including charge-transfer salt nanowires for electrochemical sensing, gold nanoparticle conjugates for targeted drug delivery in spinal cord injury and cancer therapies, and bio-reducible polymer coatings for programmable gene delivery. Professor Mao’s research has been mostly funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. She has published ~100 papers in some of the top nanoscience journals including ACS Nano, JACS, and Nano Letters and was granted 3 patents. Professor Mao has received several awards and honours including a Faculty CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, a Fulbright Senior Fellowship from the U.S. Department of State, a visiting professorship at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces Germany, and an ELATE Fellowship from the International Center for Executive Leadership in Academics. Professor Mao is a member of Australian Centre for NanoMedicine.
Nanjing University, China Chemistry B.Sc. 1988
University of Minnesota, USA Chemical Engineering Ph.D. 1994
University of Minnesota, USA Materials Science 09/94‒07/95
Panelist, National Science Foundation
Member, Karmanos Cancer Institute
Session Chair or Co-chair, AICHE Annual Meeting
ELATE Fellow, Drexel University
Fulbright Senior Scholar, Fulbright Program
CAREER Award, National Science Foundation
My Research Activities
Project 1: Targeted Drug Delivery for Spinal Cord Injury Using Retrograde Transport of Nanoparticle and Drug Conjugates
This project develops a novel approach that combines nanotechnology with proven neurobiological principles to selectively target neurons responsible for respiratory recovery post spinal cord injury (SCI). Our nanotherapeutic design consists of a targeting transporter protein chemically conjugated to a gold nanoparticle, which in turn is chemically conjugated to an SCI drug. Our targeted drug administration induces recovery of the hemidiaphragm in a validated SCI model using a small fraction of the systemic dose necessary to induce the same recovery. In addition, the nanoconjugate induces persistent recovery after only one-time injection. The aim is to translate basic nanoscience discoveries into nanotherapeutic products for the treatment of breathing problems associated with SCI.
Project 2: Substrate-directed Crystallization and Its Application for Making Nanowire Sensors
We apply substrate-mediated crystallization principles towards scalable manufacturing of nanowire sensors. We explore a simple, low-cost electrocrystallization method to deposit charge-transfer salt nanowires from a solution droplet at room temperature directly on electronic substrates. The nanowires are grown by substrate-mediated electrocrystallization using lithographic metal patterns as nucleation points. The nanowire assembly is capable of detecting ammonia by electrochemical impedance. We aim to provide fundamental understanding of seed-mediated crystallization, a widely used industrial separation and purification process, and contribute a solution-based method to incorporate nanowires into MEMS devices.
Project 3: Bio-reducible Layer-by-Layer Films for Sequential DNA Release
Layer-by-layer (LbL) films containing cationic polyelectrolytes and anionic bioactive molecules such as DNA are promising biomaterials for controlled and localized gene delivery for many biomedical applications including DNA vaccine delivery. Bio-reducible LbL films made of disulfide-containing poly(amido amine)s and plasmid DNA can be degraded by redox-active membrane proteins through the thiol−disulfide exchange reaction to release DNA exclusively into the extracellular microenvironment adjacent to the film. We aim to understand the film degradation mechanism and nature of the released species in order to achieve sequential and sustained release of DNA nanoparticles and other bioactive molecules for localized gene delivery applications.