Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Chemistry and Physics

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Nathan Boase
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Kathryn Fairfull-Smith
Future Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Biofilms, more commonly recognised as slime, are complex communities of microorganisms, which provide these creatures with a niche where they are able to flourish in conditions where they might not normally survive.

Because of this enhanced survivability, bacterial biofilms show enhanced resistance to disinfectant and antibiotic treatment, and are the cause of nearly three quarters of hospital-acquired infections. Nitroxides, molecules that possess a stabilised free radical, are able to disperse these biofilms and make them susceptible to treatment.

Our research group is currently developing new polymeric materials to enhance the delivery, and ultimately the treatment of biofilm infections.

Research activities

You will:

  • learn and gain experience in controlled chemical techniques to synthesise polymeric materials with defined composition and architecture
  • perform advanced analytical techniques
  • learn how to characterise the structure and properties of these materials.


This project will lead to new polymeric materials that are able to respond to environmental and biological cues, to prevent bacterial fouling.

Skills and experience

This project will suit students who have a passion and enthusiasm for synthetic organic and polymer chemistry.

For Honours, Masters and PhD projects, a degree in chemistry with high level courses in organic chemistry and/or polymer chemistry are required.

For VRES and undergraduate projects, a foundation of at least first year undergraduate level chemistry will be required for this project. Completion of second year organic chemistry is preferable.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.