Dr Zhigao Niu received his PhD degree with distinction (2016) in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He was involved in a European 7th Framework Program (TRANS-INT) focusing on advanced technologies for oral peptide delivery and the understanding of absorptive barriers.

Currently, he is a postdoctoral fellow at the Riddet Institute, Massey University and AgResearch Ltd. His research involves (i) biopolymer and/or lipid-based systems for gastric protection, controlled release, and enhanced absorption of food-derived bioactives; (ii) colon-targeted delivery of therapeutics for local disease treatment; (iii) impact of food digestion on the oral bioavailability of bioactive compounds at a molecular level; and (iv) application of 3D organoids in food, nutrition and pharmaceutical sciences.

Dr. Niu is an inventor of two international patents. His work has been published in top journals across pharmaceutical science, food science, material and colloidal sciences, such as Journal of Controlled Release (IF 7.9), Advanced Materials (IF 25.8), Food Hydrocolloids (IF 5.8), Journal of Colloid and Interface Science (IF 6.4), etc. He is a reviewer of nine international journals including Food & Function, Food Hydrocolloids, Food Chemistry, Drug Delivery and Translational Research, and European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Area of Expertise

  1. Oral delivery of bioactive peptides, proteins and phytochemicals;
  2. Rational design of biopolymer and/or lipid-based nanocarriers;
  3. Strategies to enhance the solubility, stability and permeability of BCS II, III, IV compounds;
  4. In vitro and in vivo characterization and analysis of bioactive-loaded colloidal systems, i.e. physicochemical properties, morphology, cell/mucus-interaction, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Research Interest:

  1. Natural food materials as delivery systems for bioactives and drugs
  2. Mechanistic understanding of gastrointestinal digestion and absorption