Killugudi Swaminatha Iyer


  • The University of Western Australia (M310), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Dr. Iyer graduated with a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Clemson University, South Carolina, USA in August 2004. Following this he was awarded President’s postdoctoral fellowship at Clarkson University, New York, USA where he developed Bio-Atomic Force Microscopy method. Dr Iyer relocated to The University of Western Australia (UWA) in 2006 and was awarded three consecutive ARC fellowships (APD, QE II and Future Fellowship). He is currently the Director- Australian Research Council Training Centre for Next-Gen Technologies in Biomedical Analysis, and Deputy Head- School of Molecular Sciences.


Dr Iyer leads a research program in the field of bionanotechnology. The team has made a significant impact in this field by integrating fundamental concepts of high-resolution imaging, polymer/materials chemistry, surface science, cell and molecular biology, nanotechnology and bioengineering. 

The research has had a translatable impact in the treatment of untreatable medical emergencies like traumatic brain injuries, cardiovascular diseases, placental related disorders in pregnancy, cancers (breast, cervical, colorectal) and traumatic burn injuries. The trans- disciplinary research has resulted in redefining treatment using the traditional diagnostic, imaging, drug delivery methodology by adopting nanotechnology to alter the pharmacokinetic profile of drugs, reduce off-target toxicity, and improve the overall therapeutic index. The nanoformulations developed by the research group have enabled simultaneous imaging and therapy to specific sites or organs, facilitating detection and treatment of disease in a single procedure. This will help make informed decisions about timing, dosage, drug choice, and treatment strategies. Such personalized medicine will lead to improved efficacy, lower off-target toxicity, and an overall increase in quality of life and patient outcome. 


  1. Ho, et al. 2018, ‘Intracellular speciation of gold nanorods alters the conformational dynamics of genomic DNA’, Nature Nanotechnology, vol. 13, no. 12, pp. 1148.
  2. Swaminathan,,2009, ‘Atomic force microscopy detects differences in the surface brush of normal and cancerous cells’, Nature Nanotechnology, vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 389.
  3. Vogel, et al. 2020, ‘The corona of a surface bubble promotes electrochemical reactions’, Nature Comm., vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1-8. 
  4. Kretzmann, et al. 2021, ‘Regulation of Proteins to the Cytosol Using Delivery Systems with Engineered Polymer Architecture’, Journal of the American Chemical Society,
  5. King, et al. 2020, ‘DNA G-Quadruplex and i-Motif Structure Formation Is Interdependent in Human Cells’, Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 142, no. 49, pp. 20600-20604.
  6. Kretzmann, et al. 2019, ‘Tumour suppression by targeted intravenous non-viral CRISPRa using dendritic polymers’, Chemical Science, vol. 10, no. 33, pp. 7718– 7727.
  7. Kretzmann, et al. 2017, ‘Synthetically controlling dendrimer flexibility improves delivery of large plasmid DNA’, Chemical Science, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 2923–2930. 
  8. Evans, et al. 2011, ‘Multimodal analysis of PEI-mediated endocytosis of nanoparticles in neural cells’, ACS Nano, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 8640–8648.
  9. Clemons, et al.,2013, ‘Examining Efficacy of TAT- less Delivery of a Peptide against the L-Type Calcium Channel in Cardiac Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury’, ACS Nano, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 2212– 2220.
  10. Hardy, et al. 2014, ‘Nanoparticle-mediated dual delivery of an antioxidant and a peptide against the L-Type Ca2+ channel enables simultaneous re- duction of cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury’, ACS Nano, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 279–289.
  11. Ho, et al. 2015, ‘Hierarchical patterning of multifunctional con- ducting polymer nanoparticles as a bionic platform for topographic contact guidance’, ACS Nano, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 1767–1774.


•    Australian Academy of Sciences 2018 Jacques Miller Medal for Experimental Biomedicine.
•    Fellowships from the Australian Research Council: ARC APD (2006-2008), ARC ARF (2009-2013), ARC Future Fellowship (2013/14-2017/18)
•    UWA Vice Chancellor’s Inaugural Research Excellence Award, 2014.
•    WA Early Career Scientist of the year finalist award, 2010. 
•    Inaugural WA Young Tall Poppy Award, 2010.
•    WA Young Scientist of the year finalist award, 2009. 

Roles and responsibilities

President and WA State representative for Polymer Division of The Royal Australian Chemical Society (RACI)

Previous positions

(2016-2018) Australian Research Council: Member of the College of Experts.

(2019-2020) The National Health and Medical Research Council Ideas Grant Panel

Industrial relevance


  1. Surface treatment of polymeric and inorganic surfaces. Inventors: I. Luzinov, S. Iyer, V. Klep and B. Zdyrko. Clemson University, USA, 2004 (US 7026014).
  2. Ultrahydrophobic substrates, Inventors: I. Luzinov, P. J. Brown, S. Iyer, V. Klep and B. Zdyrko. Clemson University, USA 2006. PCT/US2006/012030
  3. Method for coating nanoparticles. Inventors: S. Iyer and C. L. Raston , The University of Western Australia, 2007. PCT/AU2007/001976.
  4. Universal multimodal nanoparticle platform, Inventors: S. Iyer, C. Evans, I. Luzinov and B. Zdyrko. The University of Western Australia, Patent, 2012075533, 2012.: Led the UWA-Spin off company Eridan Technology.
  5. Non-viral gene delivery technology, Inventors: M. Norret, S. Iyer, D. Ho and J. Kreztmann, PCT-2018. 



  1. Honeybee venom 'kills some breast cancer cells'-Featured in BBC, ABC news-2020.
  2. Gold nanorods and genomic interactions, Featured in Science Daily 2018, Publication: Nature Nanotechnology, 2018.
  3. American Chemical Society Press Release, Philadelphia, Aug. 21, 2016, “Stopping scars before they form” featured as breakthrough technology.
  4. “New way to distinguish cancerous from normal cells” Featured in Science Daily, Institute of physics (UK), Lab Space and PhysOrg; Publication: Nature Nanotechnology, 2009, 4, 389-393
  5.  “Controlled release of nutraceuticals using nanopores” feature article: ‘East meets West’, feature in Royal Society of Chemistry
  6. “A novel nano-mechanical approach to study ageing” front page of the American Physical Society News magazine, was overviewed in New Scientist and BBC Health news. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Research expertise keywords

  • Bionanotechnology


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