Professor Wei Shen

Professor Wei Shen

Department of Chemical Engineering
Room 307, 82, Clayton Campus.

Professor Wei Shen received his BEng (Chem) from Tsinghua University (China) in 1982. He then worked for four years at the Beijing Printing Institute. In 1987 he moved to Australia to pursue his PhD in physical Chemistry from La Trobe University, which he attained in 1991. This was followed by a postdoctoral appointment at La Trobe University. Joining Monash University in 1995, researching paper surface modification and printing engineering. He leads several research projects at the Australian Pulp and Paper Institute (APPI) within the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University. Since 2008, he has led research in bio-active paper, and thread-based micro-fluidic sensors. His group has applied their skills in paper surface modification and printing to fabricate micro-fluidic systems on paper, thread and polymer films and has filed a family of patents in this field. More recently Professor Shen has begun new research into powder-liquid interfaces, constructing soft reactors using liquid drops and liquid marbles for stem cell research he has also applied surface engineering to modify powdery materials for oil spill control.  He invented the text-reporting paper sensors, this invention has led the commercial development of the text-reporting Technology for blood analysis. In 2012, he led his group to win the Australian Museum Eureka Prize and the IChemE Award (UK) for their innovation in bio-active paper diagnostics. In 2013 he was selected as a finalist in the Australian Innovation challenge.

Major professional involvement

  • CRC for Hardwood Fibre and Paper Science. Project Leader for cellulose fibres paper surface modification.
  • National Printing Laboratory. A founding member and an Advisory board member.
  • CRC for Smart-print. Project leader for fundamental and industrial printing research.
  • Paper-based and thread based microfluidic sensor innovations, supported by an ARC DP as the lead CI, and first inventor. Eureka Prize, IChemE Prize.
  • Cellulosic and Paper-Based Biosensors for Blood Analysis, funded by ARC Linkage. Chief investigator and first inventor. Finalist in the Australian Innovation challenge.
  • MIME Seed project, collaborated with Monash Medical Center on low cost diagnostics. Project leader and Chief Investigator.

Research Interests

Professor Shen’s research group is currently investigating:

  • Surface engineering: surface engineering projects that aim to understand wetting and drying of particulate materials and design interfaces for engineering and biological applications.
  • Bio-active paper and bio-active thread: diagnostics and environmental sensors: Design of bio-functionalised papers for construction of sensory devices for diagnostics and environmental monitoring applications.
  • Soft micro-reactors: liquid drops and liquid marbles are used to design highly efficient biological reactions for cell and stem cell research, and biochemical analysis.
  • Functional printing.
  • Super-hydrophobic paper for liquid and food packaging.
  • Nano cellulose materials and their applications.
  • Lignocellulose as an industrial absorbent.

Research Projects

Current projects

Novel concepts to engineer low cost blood diagnostics.

This project aims to deliver the next generation of on-paper blood diagnostics: cheap, fast, easy to use, reliable, specific and robust. Indirect and weak blood typing will for the first time be possible by the exploration of
transformational methods in on-paper and thread-based diagnostics. On-paper testing for fibrinogen to assess clotting capability will be developed, potentially revolutionising the way massive blood loss is treated. The results
of this project will be a new class of on-paper and thread-based diagnostic tests with enhanced sensitivity, readability and lower cost. This has the opportunity for significant impact in trauma, rural medicine and developing

BioProcessing Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (BAMI).

BAMI will develop: 1) functional materials to maximize the value of forest resources 2) green chemistry & energy solutions for bioprocessing industries. Lignocellulosic streams will be converted into a complement of marketable materials, chemicals and energy products. Examples include new polymers and composites, smart packaging, chemical intermediates, fuel, green energy and nanocellulose and cellulosic fibre applications. These will drive advances in chemical engineering, materials and green chemistry for the full conversion of lignocellulosics. BAMI will complement research developments with short courses and a problem-based Masters in BioProcess Engineering to keep industry workers up to date with evolving science and technology.

Paper fluidics - A novel approach to low cost printable microsensors.

Paper-based microfluidic system is an emerging concept leading to a new platform for low-cost and rapid sensing devices for bioassays and environment monitoring. This proposal will develop the fabrication of paper microfluidic devices and combine them with highly sensitive optical and electrochemical detection techniques to significantly increase their capability and sensitivity for environmental and healthcare applications. The successful combination of paper microfluidic systems with advanced detection techniques promises a new class of low-cost, portable, sensitive and rapid analytical devices with wide applications in water analysis, environmental monitoring and healthcare.

Past projects

Developing Multi-Scale Technologies for Two-Dimensional Metal Nanoparticle Superlattice Sheets.

Nanoparticle superlattices refer to highly ordered nanoparticle arrays, which are a new class of crystalline materials with collective properties different from those of bulk phase crystals, isolated nanocrystals and even disordered nanocrystal assemblies. However nanoparticle superlattice is still in the embryonic stage of development due to the lack of multiscale technologies. This project aims to develop such important technologies to produce two-dimensional nanoparticle superlattice sheets for novel energy-harvesting devices. This will generate new knowledge and important patentable technologies for future energy industries, contributing to further advance Australian knowledge base and build a greener world.

Low cost cellulosic biomedical diagnostics.

Cellulosic and Paper-Based Biosensors for Blood Analysis.

Fluid flow and multi-component fluid separation by capillaries in paper, thread and other porous cellulose materials offer a completely novel platform for rapid forward and reverse blood typing. Further, bio-modification of those materials is expected to offer new, rapid and versatile methods for a range of analyses of blood antibodies. This proposal aims at developing disruptive concepts based on the use of patterned porous cellulosic materials to create novel immuno-haematology diagnostics. The expected outcome of this research will be to generate a class of novel technologies which will significantly improve accuracy and efficiency of immuno-haematological analyses at very low costs.

Fundamental Investigations of the Physics and Chemistry of Ink/Paper Interactions in Ink-Jet Printing.

Facility for innovation in structural biomaterials engineering.

The fabrication of smart biomaterials requires a thorough understanding of the intricate interactions at the interface with the biological system. This proposal aims to provide state-of-the-art, high speed microfabrication and characterisation instrumentation specifically targeted at the development of biomaterial structures. The facility will provide a platform for cross-disciplinary teams to undertake a broad range of research programs with applications in tissue engineering, diagnostic devices, drug delivery, stem cell technologies and biological corrosion. The facility will help attract leading researchers to Australia and enhance the national competitiveness on a global stage.

Self Assembling Polymers for Novel Packaging Products.

This project will develop and test novel polymer systems as additives for the manufacture of a new generation of paper products with superior strength, especially under high moisture and wet conditions. The challenge is to produce very strong paper packagings made of recycled fibres resisting frequent moisture changes and that remain fully recyclable. Fundamental understanding of the assembling and morphology of polyelectrolyte and polyelectrolyte/nanoparticle complexes in aqueous solution as a function of polymer/nanoparticle chemistry, ionic strength and shear will be developed. The effect of the polymer and polymer complexes on the paper mechanical properties will be modeled under cyclic humidity conditions.

Novel Cellulosic Products and Sustainable Bioresource Engineering.

This grant proposes a portfolio of linked projects to transform the Australian paper industry. Methods will be developed to assess industry and product sustainability and compare with competing materials. Chemical and treatment technologies will be developed to improve to radically reduce fresh water requirements for production. Innovative new products will be developed by controlling cellulose interaction with water to resist atmospheric and liquid water penetration, while reducing sheet density. Nano-structured zeolite-paper composites for greenhouse gas adsorption and storage and filtering applications will be developed and deployed for water use reduction. Innovative models will be developed relating structure to performance.

Paper sizing and sizing reversal.

Manipulating nano-fibres to control nerve regeneration.

Neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and brain injury result in the depletion of nerve cells as well as their associated tracts or pathways. Effective repair of the brain will not only require nerve cell replacement but reconstitution of these tracts. This proposal will work towards novel approaches to reconstitute these pathways (tracts) by constructing permissive scaffold environments for neurite extension. In specific terms, the proposal will build upon preliminary research, to obtain an understanding of the enhanced contact guidance behaviour of neurites in contact with novel nano-structured fibres, in vitro.

Research articles, papers & publications.

See Wei Shen’s research contributions through published book chapters, articles, journal papers and in the media.


Fabrication of single-crystalline gold nanowires on cellulose nanofibers

He, H., Chen, R., Zhang, L.Williams, T.Fang, X. & Shen, W.7 Mar 2020In : Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 562p. 333-341 9 p.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review

1Citation (Scopus)

Growth of gold nanoparticles on cellulose nanofibers

He, H., Chen, R., Zhang, L. & Shen, W.10 Apr 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Cellulose. 13 p.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review

Study of paper-based assaying system for diagnosis of total serum bilirubin by colorimetric diazotization method

Tan, W., Zhang, L.Doery, J. C. G. & Shen, W.15 Feb 2020In : Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. 3058 p., 127448.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review

Three-dimensional microfluidic tape-paper-based sensing device for blood total bilirubin measurement in jaundiced neonates

Tan, W., Zhang, L.Doery, J. C. G. & Shen, W.21 Jan 2020In : Lab on a Chip. 202p. 394-404 11 p.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review


Desiccation patterns of plasma sessile drops

Chen, R., Zhang, L., He, H. & Shen, W.28 Jun 2019In : ACS Sensors. 46p. 1701-1709 9 p.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review

1Citation (Scopus)

Effects of the perspiration on the photo-fading of reactive dyes

Jia, Y., Zhang, L.Liu, K., Chen, R., Zhang, C., Yin, J., Shen, W. & He, J., 1 Mar 2019In : Textile Research Journal. 895p. 688-697 10 p.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review

1Citation (Scopus)

Enhancing water evaporation by interfacial silica nanoparticles

Lin, K., Chen, R., Zhang, L.Shen, W. & Zang, D., 23 Aug 2019In : Advanced Materials Interfaces. 6167 p., 1900369.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review

1Citation (Scopus)

Intrinsic fluorescence from cellulose nanofibers and nanoparticles at cell friendly wavelengths

Khalid, A., Zhang, L., Tetienne, J. P., Abraham, A. N., Poddar, A., Shukla, R., Shen, W. & Tomljenovic-Hanic, S., 27 Feb 2019In : APL Photonics. 4210 p., 020803.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review

Open Access
2Citations (Scopus)

Transparent bioreactors based on nanoparticle-coated liquid marbles for in situ observation of suspending embryonic body formation and differentiation

Lin, K., Chen, R., Zhang, L., Zang, D., Geng, X. & Shen, W.6 Mar 2019In : ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 119p. 8789-8796 8 p.

Research outputContribution to journal › Article › Research › peer-review

Teaching Commitments

  • CHE2164 - Thermodynamics 1
  • CHE2165 - Bio Nano Engineering
  • CHE3172 - Nanotechnology and materials 1
  • CHE3175 - Sustainable engineering case studies
  • CHE4180 - Chemical engineering Projects
  • CHE5160 - Printing and coating engineering
  • CHE5201 - Special topics
  • CHE5292 - Chemistry and biomass processing
  • CHE5294 - Performance of paper products
  • CHE5297 - Recycling and contaminant removal
Last modified: 15/05/2020