Food, health and medical science and technology

Watching what we eat, from paddock to plate

Let’s look at ‘bread’ for a moment. From the time the wheat is grown and harvested until you take it home ready to eat, it undergoes a complex and lengthy chain of chemical, biochemical, physical processing, nutritional, sensory, and safety-related developmental changes. That’s what Food Science, Technology & Engineering looks at, the end-to-end way our food is ‘made’.

Using tools and knowledge of many different scientific disciplines, Food Science, Technology and Engineering researchers solve problems, improve processes, and develop innovations for the food manufacturing industries. The result – foods that are healthy, safe and tasty, as well as having enhanced storage properties.

Researchers from the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW address a broad range of areas, including functional foods, food bioactives, nutrition, flavour chemistry, food microbiology, food process engineering, food safety, food allergy, food microstructures and food diagnostics/biosensor.

Food and Health Research at UNSW Chemical Engineering

Researchers at the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW are challenging immunity and oxidative stress related diseases through developing new and innovative processes that unleash matrix-bound resveratrol in peanuts. Through looking
at immunodiagnostic testing methods and biosensors, researchers are using our on-site testing capability to allow more effective regulation and management of food allergens in food products. Others are developing things like folate
fortified bread to lower birth defects.

Health breakthroughs with new interactive materials

Advances in health treatment technologies are doing incredible things in preventive health care. Researchers at the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering are developing new treatment methods that use ‘intelligent’ materials to target
things like specific tumours. They are finding ways of monitoring health conditions in real-time using advanced sensors, for example.

The aim is to design these new materials, test them and understand their interaction with the human body and microorganisms. There are huge possibilities for detecting and controlling pathogens, for disease diagnostics and for the
development of new and innovative drugs and drug delivery systems.

Among the new and exciting technologies developed by researchers at the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering are (clockwise - images above) Silica hollow sphere for ultrasound imaging; Delivery of DNA into cells using magnetic nano
particles; Magnetic gold nano particles for biosensing; Bacillus bacteria; Gel electrophoresis analysis of protein adsorption onto nano particles; Ellipsoidal iron oxide nano particles for MRI. 

These are some of the novel technologies developed within the School of Chemical Engineering by the Particles and Catalysis Research Group.

Academic and research staff in this field

Jayashree Arcot
Rona Chandrawati
Julian Cox
Sophia Gu
Alison Jones
Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh
Johannes le Coutre
Alice Lee
Cordelia Selomulya
Patrick Spicer
Francisco Trujillo
Peter Wich
Jian Zhao

Related research centres and groups


Australian Centre for NanoMedicine


Food Science and Technology group

Particles and Catalysis Research Group