17 February 2023

L to R: Owen Xiang, Janik Seidel, Thabata Muta and Nurahmed Getaw. Missing is Abdulafeez Akinloye.


Five UniSA PhD students have won State Government scholarships to partner with local industries to help drive research into biomanufacturing.

UniSA Clinical & Health Sciences candidates Thabata Muta, Zifan (Owen) Xiang, Janik Seidel, Nurahmed Getaw and Abdulafeez Akinloye will spend the next four years working on projects to develop drugs for a range of conditions, including better delivery of medicinal cannabis, helping to combat antimicrobial resistance, and improving the quality and safety of biopharmaceutical products.

The students are among 30 PhD candidates from South Australia’s three universities to win industry placements in pilot programs for two South Australian Government Industry Doctoral Training Centres (IDTCs) focusing on biomanufacturing and quantum technologies.

MTPConnect, the national industry growth centre for medical technologies, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, is delivering the PhD+ program. Students will benefit from industry knowledge and development opportunities in leadership and commercialisation.

Details of the UniSA PhD student projects are:

  • Thabata Muta (supervised by Professor Sanjay Garg) and industry partner MedTEC Pharma will use novel drug delivery technologies to develop a medicinal cannabis formulation that is more easily absorbed in the bloodstream as an effective treatment for analgesic, inflammatory conditions, cancer, depression and anxiety.
  • Zifan (Owen) Xiang (supervised by Associate Professor Rietie Venter) and industry partner The Hygiene Company will investigate new antimicrobial formulations that can hopefully overcome resistance to antibiotics. Chemically distinct biocides will be identified to create responsible disinfectants, antiseptics and cleaning products with a much lower risk of causing antimicrobial resistance to ‘last resort’ useful antibiotics.
  • Janik Seidel (supervised by Professor Peter Hoffmann) and industry partners CSL Ltd and Mass Dynamics will develop new methods to increase the safety and quality of biopharmaceutical products, reducing their side effects and increasing their effectiveness.
  • Nurahmed Getaw (supervised by Professor Peter Hoffmann) and industry partners CSL Ltd and Mass Dynamics will develop technologies to improve the quality, safety and efficacy of plasma-derived protein therapeutics at every critical manufacturing stage.
  • Abdulafeez Akinloye (supervised by Professor Peter Hoffmann) and industry partners CSL Ltd and Mass Dynamics will develop new analytical methods to monitor purity and stability of the final formulation of recombinant protein-based biopharmaceutical products to increase their safety and quality.

The students will receive $35,000 per year scholarships to undertake the projects, jointly funded by the SA Department for Industry, Innovation and Science, industry partners and their respective universities.

Media contact: Candy Gibson M:  0434 605 142 E: candy.gibson@unisa.edu.au

Other articles you may be interested in