Professor Zhi Ping (Gordon) Xu

Group Leader (AIBN)

Level 5, Room 509
AIBN Building No. 75
Corner College and Cooper Roads
The University of Queensland
St Lucia  Qld  4072

p:  61 7 3346 3809
f : 61 7 3346 3973 


Research focus

The research in my group focuses on controlled preparation of layered double hydroxide (LDH) materials, calcium phosphate (CaP) nanoparticle and their applications in biomedicine and environment, including: (1) controlled preparation of LDH and CaP nanoparticles with the desirable size and size distribution. In some cases, these particles need to be homogeneously dispersed in aqueous solution; (2) in vitro and in vivo cellular delivery vehicles of anionic drugs, such as some pharmaceutical drugs, oligonucleotides, DNA/RNA segment, heparin and proteins for the treatment of cancer diseases, neuronal diseases and cardiovascular diseases; (3) development of clay nanomaterials into effective adjuvant of protein vaccines; (4) wastewater treatment via adsorption and degradation using modified LDH materials.

Brief bio

Dr Zhi Ping (Gordon) Xu is an expert in synthesis, characterisation and applications of anionic clays, i.e. layered double hydroxides (LDH) and related materials (CaP). In particular, Dr Xu has developed a reliable method to control LDH nanoparticles in 30-300 nm with a narrow particle size distribution and homogeneously disperse these nanoparticles in a stable suspension, and has also led a team to investigate the cellular drug(gene) delivery using LDH nanoparticles.

Since the time of his PhD at the National University of Singapore in 1996, he has carried out extensive research on the oxidation synthesis of co-containing LDH materials and their applications in environmental remediation. Later at the University of North Texas as a postdoctoral research scientist, he conducted comprehensive studies on the growth behaviour of organo-LDH hybrid materials and their applications in water purification. As an Australian Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Fellow at the University of Queensland since 2003, he has developed an effective and patented method to tailor LDH nanoparticle size and control the particle size distribution in a narrow range, and investigated LDH nanovehicles for effective drug/gene delivery, which demonstrates a high potential for an efficient drug/gene delivery vector based on LDH nanomaterials. During this period, he has established a solid platform for the delivery of inorganic nanoparticles into various mammalian cells in terms of the research experience and methodologies.

Since 1997, he has published nearly 200 papers in high impact international journals and books, including Nature Plants, Nano lett., J. Am. Chem. Soc., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., ACS Nano, Adv. Funct. Mater., Biomaterials, Small, Chem. Mater., J. Phys. Chem. B & C, and J. Mater. Chem. and established his international reputation in this field. He has been an associate editor of RSC Adv. and board members of other six journals.  He has been invited as a referee by more than 20 international journals and invited to guest-edit two internationl journals. His papers have been cited nearly 7400 times with the H-index of 46.


Current projects (all in health care)

    • Development of LDH-polymer composite for siRNA delivery in tumour treatment
    • Development of new strategy to treat bone cancer and breast cancer (Wenyi Gu, PD fellow)
    • Preparation of SiO2 dot-coated LDH for drug/gene/protein delivery (Li Li, PD fellow)
    • Development of nanoemulsions for anti-oxidant/antimicrobial delivery for animal health (Li Li, PD fellow)
    • Development of new nanoparticle-based biosensors for imaging and detection of diseases and cancer tissues (Dr Run Zhang, DECRA Fellow)
    • Modification of BSA-LDH nanoparticles to enhance the BBB penetration (Huali Zuo, PhD student), Thesis submitted)
    • Development of lipid-coated CaP nanoparticles for target delivery in tumour treatment (Jie Tang, PhD student)
    • Development of LDH-based adjuvants to enhance the antitumour activity (Shiyu Yan, PhD Student)
    • Development of clay-based adjuvants to enhance the antibacterial activity (Weiyu Chen, PhD Student)
    • T-cell therapy for solid tumour treatment (Yanheng, PhD student)
    • Modification of LDH NPs for in vivo gene/drug delivery and imaging (Bei Li, PhD student)
    • Incorporation of carbonate into lipid-coated CaP nanoparticles for enhanced delivery in tumour treatment (Yilun Wu, PhD student)
    • Development of acid-soluble hydrophobic drug or drug-containing nanoparticles for enhanced delivery in vitro and in vivo (Fatemeh Movahedi, PhD student)
    • Development of solid lipid nanoparticles for enhanced oral delivery (Pei Cao, PhD student) 


Top Ten Publications 

1. Mitter, N; Worrall, EA; Robinson, K; Li, P; Jain, RG; Taochy, C; Fletcher, SJ; Carroll, BJ; Lu, GQ; Xu ZP: “Clay nanosheets for stable delivery of RNA interference as a topical application to protect plants against viruses”. Nature Plants3, 16207, 2017.

2.  Liang, XW; Wang, HL; Zhu, Y; Zhang, R; Cogger, VC; Liu, X; Xu, ZP; Roberts, MS; Grice, JE: “Short- and long-term tracking of anionic ultra-small nanoparticles in kidney”. ACS Nano10, 387-395, 2016. (Citation 8)

3. Liang XW; Grice JE; Zhu Y; Liu D;Sanchez WY; Li Zhen; Crawford DHG, Le Couteur DG; Cogger VC; Liu Xin; Xu ZP; Roberts MS: “Intravital Multiphoton Imaging of the Selective Uptake of Water-Dispersible Quantum Dots into Sinusoidal Liver Cells”. Small, 11, 1711-1720, 2015. (Citation 11)

4. Li, L; Gu, W; Chen, J; Chen, W; Xu, ZP: “Co-delivery of siRNAs and Anti-cancer Drugs Using Layered Double Hydroxide Nanoparticles”. Biomaterials35, 3331-3339, 2014. (Citation 59)

5. Zhu, Y; Li, Z; Chen, M; Cooper, H; Lu, GQ (Max); Xu, ZP: “Synthesis of Robust Sandwich-Like SiO2@CdTe@SiO2 Fluores-cent Nanoparticles for Cellular Imaging". Chem. Mater. 24, 421-423, 2012. (Citation 39)

6. Ladewig, K; Niebert, M; Xu, ZP; Gray, P; Lu, GQ Max: “Efficient siRNA delivery to mammalian cells using layered double hydroxide nanoparticles”. Biomaterials 31, 1821-1829, 2010. (Citation 105)

7. Gu. Z; Thomas. AC; Xu. ZP; Campbell. JH; Lu. GQ: “In vitro sustained release of LMWH from MgAl-layered double hydroxide nanohybrids ”. Chem. Mater. 20, 3715-3722, 2008. (Citation 161)

8. Xu, ZP; Stevenson, G; Lu, CQ; Lu, GQ Max; Bartlett, PF; Gray, PP: “Stable suspension of layered double hydroxide nanoparticles in aqueous solution”. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 36-37, 2006. (Citation 249)

9. Xu, ZP; Zeng, QH; Lu, GQ (Max); Yu, AB: “Inorganic Nanoparticles as carriers for efficient cellular delivery”. Chem. Eng. Sci. 61, 1027-1040, 2006. (Citation 648)

10. Braterman, PS; Xu, ZP; Yarberry, F: “Layered Double Hydroxides”, in Handbook of Layered Materials. Auerbach, SM; KA Carrado; PK Dutta (Ed.). Marcel Dekker, Inc.:NY, Mar 23, 2004. p 373-474. (Book Chapter, Citation 302)


Research Fellows

Dr Wenyi Gu, Dr Li Li (QLD Adv Fellow)

Post-doctoral Fellows

Dr Run Zhang (DECRA), Dr Peng Li

PhD Students (Principally Supervised)

Ms Hauli Zuo, Shiyu Yan, Jie Tang, Bei Li, Yilun WuFatemeh Movahedi, Pei Cao

Mr Yanheng Wu, Weiyu Chen

MPhil Students 

Ms Hui Cao

Completed PhD and MPhil students

2015   Dr Xiaowen Liang

2014   Dr Haiyan Dong, Ms Shasha Jiang (MPhil)

2013   Dr Peng Li, Dr Yian (Annie) Zhu, Dr Tuan Nguyen

2011   Dr Zi Gu

2010   Dr Yunyi Wong, Dr Anthony Musumeci

2009   Dr Katherina Ladewig

2008   Ms Xin Jin (MPhil)

Students projects available (health care)

  • Optimisation of nanoemulsion for drug delivery and tracking
  • Development of CaP-based drug nanoparticles
  • Manipulation of dendritic cells for high antigen presentation
  • Development of polymer-LDH composite adjuvants
  • Control preparation of LDH-2,4-D composites
  • Investigation of nanoparticle-plant cell interactions
  • Development of nanoparticle-based biosensors for imaging and detection of diseases

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