HDR Scholarship - Bioinspired nanorobotics for cancer theranostics

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Bioinspired nanorobotics for cancer theranostics'.

Project Supervisor

Prof Lingxue Kong (Deakin)
Dr Shawn Goussous (NanoCube Health, Industry Partner)

Additional Supervision


Geelong Technology Precinct (GTP) and Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

CSIRO has awarded $10.9 million to 12 research training programs led by universities around Australia as a part of the Next Generation AI and Emerging Technologies Graduates Program. These programs are aimed at solving real-world challenges with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Deakin University, Australian National University and CSIRO have collaborated with a range of industry partners in one of the programs called “AI Enabled Advanced Materials Technology”.

One of the industry partners, NanoCube Health, is working on exciting next generation medical technology to transform cancer care with bioinspired nanorobotics for precise, early detection and diagnosis of cancers, and targeted treatment. Around one in two people in Australia will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime (AIHW, 2022). Cancer can have an immense emotional and physical toll on individuals, their families, and caregivers.

Key problems addressed by the technology:

  • Cancer diagnosis is often reactive rather than proactive. NanoCube Health is developing a solution that focuses on early detection of solid tumours before symptoms occur. In doing so, the aim is to enhance general health and wellbeing, and reduce cancer-related mortality and morbidity.
  • Invasive surgeries are common to remove cancerous cells and surrounding tissue. The aim of the technology is to reduce the need for surgery, which would also reduce the demand for operating theatres and hospital beds.
  • Conventional cancer treatments diffuse throughout the body and indiscriminately kill both healthy and cancerous cells. The nanorobotics design enables the direct delivery of highly concentrated doses to the tumour, thereby enhancing treatment efficacy and minimising risks to patients.
  • Targeted treatment is also intended to eliminate/reduce side effects, such as fatigue, alopecia, concentration issues, etc.
  • Cancer costs the global community an estimated $1.16 trillion annually (BioMed Central, 2022). The intent is for the technology to reduce the significant economic burden of cancer on an international scale.

The recipient of this prestigious scholarship will play a pivotal role in advancing the project to its final stage of materials discovery and design validation, leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Project aim

Broadly speaking the project aim is to finalise the design of the nanorobotics and undertake external validation.

More specifically the student will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review and in-depth research to build a strong foundation of knowledge in the field of nonorobotics, with a strong emphasis on consumer-centric, impact-driven medtech design.
  • Contribute to planning of consumer and other stakeholder engagement to inform design decision-making (led by industry partner)
  • Finalise the nanorobotics design and externally validate the design using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This includes collecting, analysing, and interpreting data using appropriate statistical or computational methods
  • Undertake testing and characterisation activities
  • Optimise the overall design at each stage of the project by identifying and addressing design flaws, evaluating different design iterations, validating design choices and ensuring the final design meets the desired specifications and objectives
  • Collaborate with a range of stakeholders both inter-departmentally at Deakin University and with external industry partners including NanoCube Health and CSIRO
  • Contribute to overall project management, including timeline planning, effective communication and coordination with team members, risk assessment and management, resource management, and ensuring the successful execution of the research project to a exemplary standard in collaboration with the research team.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Monday  26 June 2023


This scholarship is available over 3.5 years for PhD studies only:

  • Stipend of $41,650 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • Plus, additional $20,840 to cover training, travel and thesis allowance

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • background in bio- materials or chemical engineering or a related field

How to apply

Please apply using the Find a Research Supervisor tool


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Lingxue Kong or Dr Shawn Goussous

Prof Lingxue Kong
Email Prof Lingxue Kong
+61 3 5227 2087

Dr Shawn Goussous
Email Dr Shawn Goussous