Professor Frank Caruso

2014 Victoria Prize for Science & Innovation

Patients with cancer, AIDS and cardiovascular disease are the potential beneficiaries of ground-breaking research by 2014 Victoria Prize for Science & Innovation recipient Professor Caruso.

Professor Caruso’s work is focused on the development and application of nanomedicines which have the potential to supersede current therapeutics and significantly improve healthcare and medical outcomes.

His scientific research has led to the development of a new field based on particle-templated assembly of materials. Using particles as templates for the sequential deposition of ultra-thin layers of materials, the templates are then removed to create a new generation of miniature capsules. Professor Caruso’s work on engineered capsules has transformed the field of particle engineering and has inspired researchers in a number of other related fields.

The innovative use of a nanotechnology-based approach has resulted in the development of new classes of stimulus-responsive capsules, novel strategies for loading capsules with therapeutics, pioneering studies in targeting capsules to cancer and immune cells for drug and gene delivery, and applying capsules for neuron preservation in the inner ear, bone formation in mice, and vaccine translational in vivo studies.

The economic and social significance for Australia of his work is considerable as particle-based nanomedicines are likely to supersede current treatments.

In 2006, Professor Caruso led research between The University of Melbourne and iCeutica Inc. that developed early drug formulations of the SoluMatrix Fine Particle Technology™, a scientific process that breaks drug particles into smaller pieces so that they dissolve faster and allow for lower doses of medication. This led to the development of ZORVOLEX™, a capsule that moderates acute pain in adults.

Professor Caruso is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at The University of Melbourne. Among his numerous awards, he was the recipient of the inaugural 2012 American Chemical Society Nano Lectureship Award, the Royal Society of Victoria Medal for Excellence in Scientific Research in the Physical Sciences and in 2013 was awarded the prestigious CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science.