Dr Susan Hua (BPharm, Hons, PhD, MPS) has been a full-time teaching and research (T&R) academic at the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy since 2010. She is a registered pharmacist in Australia and has several years’ experience across various fields of pharmacy, including hospital, community and research. Dr Hua has a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree and a PhD from the University of Queensland in the field of neuroscience and nanotechnology. Since her appointment at the University of Newcastle, Dr Hua has independently established the first translational nanopharmaceutics laboratory and research program in the Hunter region focused on therapeutic targeting using nanotechnology. Her background as a clinical pharmacist has given her a thorough clinical understanding of therapeutics and disease states, and has allowed her to identify promising research avenues in therapeutics and drug delivery.
The general research focus of Dr Hua’s laboratory is on therapeutic targeting utilising novel drug delivery platforms in biomedical applications. She is particularly interested in using nanotechnology to study novel mechanistic pathways, as well as to develop more efficient therapeutic delivery systems. For example, a number of her projects are focused on translational pain research in the areas of peripheral analgesia and inflammation. Dr Hua has established important animal models of acute and chronic pain at the University of Newcastle, including the AIA rodent model of chronic arthritis and the CFA rodent model of acute inflammatory pain. Her research expertise covers the areas of advanced pharmaceutical formulation, in vitro cellular studies and preclinical in vivo animal studies. This expertise provides a solid foundation to formulate and evaluate new drug delivery systems and to apply them to pathological disease states, in order to assess potential clinical applicability and identify novel therapeutic targets. Dr Hua’s research provides a platform for the translational development of targeted therapeutics that will ultimately provide a novel therapeutic strategy in clinical disease management.
Dr Hua’s research program has provided a translational component to the research currently conducted in Newcastle and the Hunter New England Health region. This has led to research collaborations with several key Priority Research Centres at UoN and HMRI, including Digestive Health and Neurogastroenterology (in which she is also a member); Reproductive Science; Cancer Research, Innovation and Translation; Healthy Lungs; and Brain and Mental Health Research. Dr Hua has also established research collaborations with national and international institutes, including University of Queensland, Monash University, University of Adelaide, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Utrecht University, University of Twente, and University of Washington.
Dr Hua has secured in excess of $2.4 million in competitive research grants and infrastructure funding from a number of different sources. Highlights include successful NHMRC funding, a GAPPS international grant, the Pharmacy Research Trust of NSW grant, and funding from the Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation. Dr Hua has also generated novel IP where she designed, manufactured, characterised and optimised novel drug delivery platforms for targeting reproductive pathologies (APP1050584 and APP1113847, #2014271207), as well as developed new delivery models for drugs that target inflammatory cells in the gut (#2016904629). Despite IP restrictions on a number of her projects, Dr Hua has established a productive publication track record, having first or senior authorship positions on over 85% of her publications. Dr Hua’s research has also led to invitations to speak at various conferences/symposiums both locally and internationally. She is an editor for Frontiers in Science – Neuropharmacology, a member of the NHMRC Research Translation Faculty, and an active external reviewer for grants and publications in the field of pain, pharmaceutics, and inflammation. Dr Hua was awarded the prestigious 2016 NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award, 2016 Newcastle Innovation’s Excellence in Innovation Award, 2016 Faculty Award for Research Excellence, and 2015 Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Early Career Researcher of the Year Award.
Teaching and Administration
Dr Hua is teaching into the areas of Pharmacotherapeutics and Pharmacy Practice in the Bachelor of Pharmacy program at the University of Newcastle. She is the Course Coordinator for both PHAR2101 (Dermatology and Topical Formulations) and PHAR2102 (Cardiovascular and Renal Health). Her teaching style incorporates a diversity of teaching methodologies and techniques in which she has developed and adapted from her own experience in Pharmacy. Her goal as a teacher is to instil a passion for learning within her students while providing them with an educational environment that is encouraging and positive. Dr Hua is also the Bachelor of Pharmacy Year 2 Coordinator and Pharmacy Advisor on the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).
Dr Hua strongly believes in the importance of high quality teaching and positive motivation of pharmacy students and junior pharmacists to sustain the quality use of medicines in the community.
Communication & Community Engagement
Dr Hua was awarded the 2016 NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award, 2016 Newcastle Innovation’s Excellence in Innovation Award, 2016 Faculty Award for Research Excellence, and 2015 Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Early Career Researcher of the Year Award, for her significant and valued contribution to the research community. Her nanopharmaceutics research is frequently covered by the media, including radio and newspaper. In 2015, her research was front page news in The Newcastle Herald “Nanotechnology is one of the Hunter’s fastest growth industries”. Notably Dr Hua’s research into the design of safer and effective medicines using nanotechnology generated national interest, with Today Tonight (Channel 7 television news) dedicating an entire news segment on her research “The miracle of nanomedicine”. Aside from mainstream media, she has also utilised a multitude of other platforms to expose students and the general public to the world of science, pharmaceutics and nanotechnology. Dr Hua regularly participate in high school work experience programs and talks to encourage students into the field of science. She has also given public talks, Q&A sessions and utilised social media to communicate her work. She is regularly involved in organising and presenting at public forums in science, including the HMRI Medical Research Week, HMRI Open Day, and Nanotechnology Symposium. Dr Hua’s efforts are fostering young women and men to become the next research generation.
- Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland
- Bachelor of Pharmacy, University of Queensland