Researcher biography

Professor Middelberg is the Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and International) at The University of Queensland, where he leads key aspects of the university-wide research and internationalization portfolio. He obtained his Bachelor degree (1989) and PhD (1993) from the University of Adelaide and his Master of Arts from Cambridge (2001). After appointment as the youngest lecturer in Engineering at Adelaide University, and a Fulbright Fellowship at UC Berkeley, he accepted a position at Cambridge University, where he was rapidly tenured and promoted twice against quota to become the Reader in Biological Engineering. In this role he reported directly to the university's General Board and was a member of the Governing Body of Selwyn College and a Fellow of the Cambridge-MIT Institute. In 2003 he returned to Australia as a Federation Fellow of the Australian Research Council. Professor Middelberg was awarded the 2010 Queensland Premier's Fellowship (one per annum statewide) for his vaccine research. His 2011 seminal paper on new vaccine processing in the leading journal Vaccine saw him invited to be an Associate Editor of that journal. In 2012 he was one of 100 global recipients of a Grand Challenge Exploration award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Professor Middelberg has been named by Engineers Australia as one of the 100 most influential engineers in Australia. He has received a number of awards, including the Brodie and Shedden-Uhde medals of the Institution of Engineers Australia, and has published more than 170 refereed papers at the interface between biology and engineering.

International links

Professor Middelberg is Editor-in-Chief of leading international journal Chemical Engineering Science. He is Associate Editor of Vaccine and an Editorial Advisory Board Member for Trends in Biotechnology. Professor Middelberg has editorial roles on the Biochemical Engineering Journal, the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Bioprocessing. He has joint publications with researchers from Tianjin University, China; Oxford and Cambridge Universities, UK; University of California Berkeley, US; KAIST, Korea; and a number of companies including Eli Lilly, Novartis and Dow. Professor Middelberg has served in scientific roles for numerous international conferences including the International Biotechnology Symposium (Daegu, South Korea, 2012); the International Small-Angle Scattering Conference (Sydney, 2012); the Asian Congress of Biotechnology (Shanghai, China, 2011); and Recovery XIV (Lake Tahoe, USA, 2010).

Research: Biomolecular engineering

Professor Middelberg and his team conduct research in vaccine engineering and in functional new nanomaterials based on engineering of molecular assembly in a process context. Projects encompass new technologies for cost-effective rapid vaccine development, sustainable biosurfactant technologies and nanomedicine approaches based on fundamental understanding of bio-nano interactions. Research teams collaborate extensively nationally and internationally, with regular invitations to global events.

Memberships, patents and funding

Professor Middelberg is an elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers UK. Professor Middelberg has attracted more than $13 million in research funding since 2003 and has been named as an inventor on almost 58 patents and applications.

Awards and plenaries

Professor Middelberg's invention of peptide surfactants was awarded three major prizes including the 2006 TechConnect Prize in Boston. His recent invitations include plenary lectures at the World Congress of Particle Technology in Beijing (2014); the World Congress of Chemical Engineering 9 GLS-11 in Seoul (2013); the 7th Vaccines and ISV Conference in Barcelona (2013); and the 14th Asia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress in Singapore (2012). He annually attends either the AIChE or ECCE meeting where, in his capacity as Editor-in-Chief of Chemical Engineering Science, he introduces the Danckwerts Award Lecturer.