Our Nodes

The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide, a member of the ‘Group of Eight’, a coalition of Australia's foremost research intensive universities leads the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), an Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence.

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Macquarie University

Uniquely located in the heart of Australia’s largest high-tech precinct in Sydney, Macquarie University brings together 40,000 students and 2000 staff in one thriving hub of discovery. Read more

RMIT University

RMIT University, located in Melbourne, is a global university of technology and design and Australia's largest tertiary institution.

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Griffith University

Griffith University is a comprehensive, research-intensive university, ranking in the top 3% of universities worldwide. Its teaching and research spans five campuses in South East Queensland with a network of more than 200,000 graduates around the world.

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The University of New South Wales

The University of New South Wales is a powerhouse of cutting-edge research, teaching and innovation.  Ranked within the top 100 Universities in the World, UNSW has more than 59,000 students and a 7,000 strong research community.



Predominantly housed in the Braggs Building, our interdisciplinary CNBP researchers at the University of Adelaide work together in 1500m2 of state-of-the-art research facilities, including PC2 certified optics laboratories.

CNBP researchers working here include physicists, material scientists, chemists, embryologists, neuroscientists and cardiologists, working collaboratively to develop new approaches to measuring nanoscale dynamic phenomena in living systems. 

Areas of focus include the development of new biocompatible sensing platforms and the creation of smart surfaces for nano-sized probes, optical fibres and particles that allow for desired biomolecular and cellular targets to be sensed and detected.

The development of advanced fibre optic and other photonic materials also takes place here, as does the development of biodevices such as the ‘smart needle’ to make brain surgery safer.

The University is also the lead location for CNBP’s targeted work on Persistent Pain (using Centre developed probes and techniques to understand the role of brain immune signals in the creation of chronic pain) and Reproductive Success (research undertaken at the University’s Robinson Research Institute which seeks to understand the dynamic molecular processes at play at the beginning of embryonic life).

The University of Adelaide node of the CNBP is led by Prof. Andrew Abell. 

The Braggs, home of the CNBP at the University of Adelaide


Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem with Dr Erik Schartner producing advanced fibre optic materials.


As a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, the CNBP team at Macquarie University consists of over 50 researchers and students, all working together to develop new light based sensing tools that are unlocking an enhanced understanding of biological life at the nanoscale level. 

CNBP research at Macquarie University is focused in the core areas of nanotechnology, photonics, proteomics and glycomics. 

More generally, CNBP researchers at Macquarie are integrating optical and chemical sensing technologies to carry out new and novel types of biological measurements. Combined with this are the use of modern analytical technologies to find targets for new probes and sensors, as well as key activity in the development of advanced new imaging techniques and technologies to help us see further and smaller than has ever been seen before. 

World-leading research on upconversion nanoparticles for super resolution nanoscopy, and pioneering hyperspectral imaging techniques to non-invasively determine cell biochemistry are all areas of CNBP specialisation at the University.

The Macquarie node of the CNBP is led by Emeritus Professor Jim Piper, former Deputy-Vice-Chancellor (Research) of Macquarie University.

Below: CNBP Chief Investigator Prof. Nicolle Packer at Macquarie University.


As a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, the CNBP teams at RMIT are focused on both experimental and theoretical outcomes in controlling nanoscale interactions between light and matter to probe the complex and dynamic nano-environments of living organisms. 

The experimental team explores advanced optical nanomaterials and multimodal microscopy that efficiently deliver and collect light to and from cells and molecules. This allowing the non-invasive probing of individual interacting biomolecules by using nanoparticle-based "lamps" with novel imaging modalities. This research pursues bio-compatible fluorescent nanoparticles, next-generation optical fibres and nanoparticle-enriched hybrid materials.

The theoretical team is working to improve measurement systems and understand the fundamental limits of measurement. Every photon is valuable, and there is the need  to ensure that each one is optimally delivered, extracted and interrogated to achieve the Centre’s goals of using the ‘power of light to measure’ and to develop new windows into the body. 

Being derived are the fundamental equations that allow us to understand the limits of sensing, in terms of power, temporal and spatial resolution; as well as designing new platforms for the delivery and extraction of light from biological targets of interest.

The RMIT University node of the CNBP is led by A/Prof. Brant Gibson.

Student Ashleigh Heffernan and A/Prof Brant Gibson at CNBP's RMIT University laboratory.

As a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, the CNBP team at Griffith University provides specialized glycan knowledge and expertise that aids the Centre in its objectives of improving understanding and knowledge of cell communication and the nanoscale molecular interactions in the living body.

Notably, every living cell is covered by a dense layer of sugar containing molecules, so called glycoconjugates. These glycoconjugates consist of glycoprotein and glycolipids, which are part of a universal language (glycome) that cells use to communicate.

Understanding and translating this glyco-language is one key capacity required to understand all the biological challenges in the CNBP.

During the first 3 years of the Centre these sugars have been found to be key to signalling between brain cells, the formation of plaque in arteries and the interaction of egg and sperm as well as the implantation of the embryo into the uterus.

Ongoing research will examine these and other areas further. Research expertise across the team includes tissue microdissection glycomics, glycopeptide synthesis, glycobiology in health and disease, MALDI-imaging glycomics as well as mass spectrometric glycan analysis.

Above - CNBP node leader at Griffith University A/Prof Daniel Kolarich.

Based at the University's Institute for Glycomics, the CNBP team has access to a state-of-the art research facility that has all the necessary infrastructure and equipment required to support its research programs. This includes significant wet laboratory, PC2 and PC3 facilities for infectious disease, cancer, chemical and cell biology, immunology research, bioinorganic, organic and medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, state- of-the-art core facilities, access to GU's High Performance Computing Cluster, and office and meeting spaces. 

The Griffith University node of the CNBP is led by A/Prof Daniel Kolarich.

As a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, the CNBP team at the University of New South Wales





The Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics links Australia's key nanophotonics groups and builds on Global Collaborations with a focus on doing the science required to advance biology.