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Research Interests

  • Valorisation of biological waste through cell-free synthetic biology.

  • Cell-free assembly of natural and non-natural biocatalytic pathways.

  • Protein biochemistry and application of biotechnological relevant proteins

  • Molecular capture and rapid detection techniques for environmental pathogens.

  • Smart binding peptides, protein/enzyme immobilisation.

  • Nanoparticles biofunctionalisation.

If you have interest in any of the research areas listed above and would like to apply for a competitive scholarship in one of the following schemes, please send me your CV for consideration (email here):

China Scholarship Council (CSC) - Macquarie University (Sydney)

Joint PhD Scholarship Program


PhD positions available in A/Prof Anwar Sunna research group ( at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. A/Prof Sunna is director of the Master or Biotechnology and Master of Biotechnology and Business programs at Macquarie University. He is also Director of the Biomolecular Discovery Research Centre and one of the Directors of Synthetic Biology Australasia. Our multidisciplinary research is strongly driven by industrial and biomedical applications. We use Synthetic Biology and NanoBiotechnology to address current biotechnological and biomedical challenges. 



Project 1. Smart peptides for the design of functional protein-based nanoparticles 
This project will utilise several molecular and protein biochemistry techniques to develop modular protein-based nanoparticles with several functionalities for applications in biocatalysis, nanobiotechnology and biomedicine.

Project 2. Cell-free synthetic biology synthesis of biobased fine chemicals
This project will deal with the design, assembly and optimisation of novel synthetic pathways for the synthesis of valuable biobased fine chemicals. The project will use an array of biochemical methods such as: discovery or design of new enzymes, enzyme engineering, high throughput flux analysis, kinetic modelling and bioprocess engineering.

Project 3. Development of a high-throughput screening technique for selection of functional peptides
The project will require the construction of diverse peptide libraries within a selected size range. The libraries will be screened against different ligand targets. Positive peptides will be identified by mass spectrometry (e.g. LC/MS), and further characterised using biophysical and biochemical techniques. This technology will be converted into a semi-automated method using auto-sampling and sample preparation robotics.

Project 4. Smart-peptide mediated functionalisation of fibre optics for biosensing
Solid-binding peptides (SBPs) display selectivity and binding affinity towards a diverse range of solid materials (e.g. metals, semiconductors, carbon materials, and polymers). This project will be aimed at developing a smart SBP-mediated functionalisation system for fibre-optic probes that can be using for immunosensing applications.


China Scholarship Council (CSC) - Macquarie University Joint Postgraduate Scholarship Program. The deadline for submission is January 31, 2020. You must have passed you English proficiency test (see below) at the time of application! More information can be found here.

Please apply ONLY if you have:

  •  Completed a Master of Research and examined Master’s Thesis

  • Excellent academic records

  • Evidence of peer-reviewed research activity, such as publications and/or conference presentations

  • Proof of English Proficiency. IELTS (Academic Version): Minimum of 6.0 in each band with 6.5 Overall; or        TOEFL iBT (Internet-based TOEFL): 92 Overall (minimum 22 in Writing, 17 in Reading, 18 in Listening and

         23 in Speaking)

  • Please see here the required levels of English proficiency 

Send your detailed CV and supporting documentation for assessment as soon as possible to:

A/Prof Anwar Sunna (email here



Sydney is Australia’s largest and most diverse city, with some of the highest living standards in the world. Sydney is a modern and stylish city that is renowned worldwide for its beautiful harbour, beaches, and national parks.

Would like to pursue a PhD at Macquarie University ?

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