Wearable devices that chemically connect with the body to access bodily functions or deliver life-saving medicines – it’s a research breakthrough that is now a step closer to reality thanks to one of Griffith’s finest scientific minds, who has been acknowledged and supported with one of the most coveted honours in Australian research.

A flexible cell trapper device developed by Prof Nguyen and his team.

Professor Nam-Trung Nguyen was granted a $3,362,355 2023 Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship to propel his exciting field of research of micro and elastofluidics.

Professor Nguyen, from the Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre at Griffith, is aiming to establish a ground-breaking research discipline that allows wearable devices to connect with the body chemically, either by accessing body fluids or by precise delivery of medicines.

The project, titled ‘Highly efficient microscale liquid handling and bio interfacing’ ,utilises bendiness and stretchiness to enable storage, transport, manipulation, and analysis of fluids in the microscale, ready for practical implementation.

“The outcomes of this project will help enable devices for continuous monitoring and intervention of an individual’s health conditions, providing real-time feedback on health issues, and enhanced performance in sport and battlefield,” Professor Nguyen said.

“Early detection and proactive measures to manage personal health will significantly reduce Australia’s healthcare costs.”

Commercialisation of the developed technologies will place Australian industry at the forefront of the lucrative market of wearable, implantable devices, supported by sovereign development and manufacturing capability.

The ARC received a total of 119 applications for Australian Laureate Fellowships for funding, of which only 17 Australian Laureate Fellowships were awarded in the 2023 round.

The 17 Laureate Fellow will receive a total of $53.9 million in ARC funding over year years to conduct ground-breaking research across a broad range of areas.

ARC Chief Executive Officer, Ms Judi Zielke PSM, said that the Australian Laureate Fellowship scheme is fundamental to providing an excellent research training environment, exemplary mentorship to nurture early-career researchers, and conducting research for the benefit of the Australian and international communities.

“For example, one 2023 Laureate Fellow will research and explore cities as transformative agents for a climate-safe future, while another will research the relationship between communications and trust in the age of digital platforms to provide foundations for advancing adigital trust agenda,” Ms Zielke said.

“The Laureate Fellowship scheme affords researchers the opportunity to establish strong connections with research counterparts and industry partners, which is an integral part of delivering high-quality mentorship for up-and-coming early-career researchers,” Ms Zielke said.