Our Core Values

We are...


We welcome and embrace into the group all people regardless of culture, gender, sexuality, and religion.


We are curious to understand our scientific results. We believe good science stems from good process.


As our research has the potential to make the world better, we are committed to our science, our community of researchers and those that will benefit from our science.

We specialise in nanoscale control over materials either by highly controlled synthesis or via the molecule level modification of surfaces using self-assembled monolayers, biological molecules and nanomaterials to impart a desired functionality to that surface such as to:

  • Selectively detect an analyte – biosensors and nanodiagnostics.
  • Influence biological processes – biomaterials and nanotherapeutics.
  • Effectively catalyse reactions to generate valuable products – electrocatalysis.
  • Create well defined 3D cell cultures – biomaterials.

The research group has around 30 members working on a variety of research projects funded through the Australian Research Council Discovery, Linkage and Centre of Excellence programs, as well as the National Health and Medical Research Council and a variety of industrial sponsors.

The group is also part of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine of which Professor Gooding was one of three founding directors. As a result, much of our research has a nanomedicine focus where we modify surfaces for diagnostic devices, imaging and biomaterials as well as more fundamental work on electron transfer, catalysis and cell-surface interactions.

  • There are four main research projects in the group:

    1. Ultrasensitive biosensors for detecting biomarkers for liquid biopsy and infection detection. (with Professor Richard Tilley, UNSW and the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine).
    2. The 3D printing of cell cultures (with Professor Maria Kavallaris, Inventia Life Sciences and the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine).
    3.  Electrocatalysis using well defined metal nanoparticles with an emphasis on understanding the role of nanoconfinement in electrochemical systems (with Professor Richard Tilley, UNSW and Professor Wolfgang Schuhmann, Ruhr-Universität Bochum).
    4. Wearable biosensors (with startup companies).

LEAF - A sustainable world starts in the lab

We are a LEAF lab. In 2023 we were accredited with silver status.

opens in a new window

Group leaders

Scientia Professor and ARC Australian Laureate Fellow Justin Gooding
Scientia Professor and ARC Australian Laureate Fellow
opens in a new window
Richard Tilley headshot
opens in a new window

Open positions

Would you like to join the Smart Materials & Surfaces Research Group?

Write an email to justin.gooding@unsw.edu.au or r.tilley@unsw.edu.au.