Dr Zhigao Niu

Affiliated Researcher, Massey University
PhD, MSc, BEng


PhD in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology (Spain)

MSc in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology (Spain)

BEng in Pharmaceutical Engineering (China)


Dr. Zhigao Niu did his PhD in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, focusing on oral delivery of peptides and proteins using advanced drug delivery systems. Currently he is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Riddet Institute, working on gastric protection and targeted delivery of hydrophilic/hydrophobic bioactives. His expertise comprises the rational design of polymer and/or lipid based nanocarriers for oral delivery, ingredient functionality for biomedical use, protection, controlled release and enhanced absorption of bioactives in gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Niu’s research interest lies in: (i) Advanced delivery technologies to solve the solubility, stability and permeability issues of BCS II, III, IV bioactives associated with oral modality of administration. (ii) Fundamental understanding of nanocarriers, i.e. the dynamic structural changes under biological conditions and its correlation with release profile, interaction with absorption barriers, biodistribution and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics in vivo; (iii) Novel delivery technologies modified or inspired from the nature. Dr. Niu is an inventor of 2 international patents. He has published in top pharmaceutical journals including Journal of Controlled Release and Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews.

Current research summary

Bioactive Food System (New Zealand National Science Challenge, High Value Nutrition):

-          Encapsulation of bioactive proteins in carbohydrate, lipid or poly(amino acid)-based systems for gastric protection against pepsin-mediated proteolysis. Effect of multiple layer on colloidal stability, bioactive encapsulation efficiency and gastric protection effect.

-          Encapsulation of lipophilic bioactives in lipid-based systems for gastric protection and intestinal targeted release and enhanced absorption.