Dr Marija Gizdavic-Nikolaidis

Physical Chemistry and Green Technologies
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Marija’s research background is in physical chemistry and she brings 20+ years of experience as researcher, innovator, entrepreneur, and science leader in multidisciplinary, national and international research projects in areas of physical chemistry, biotechnology, materials science and green polymer chemistry, with a focus to link academic research with industry needs. Her main research interests are in production and physical characterisation of bioactive compounds, biopolymers and polymer nanocomposites using green microwave assisted or electrospinning methods.


Dr Marija Gizdavic-Nikolaidis is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Auckland and a Fellow of New Zealand Institute of Chemistry. Marija received her Bachelor of Chemistry (Hons) from the University of Belgrade, Serbia in 1995, and her PhD in the area of polyaniline-based conducting polymers from the University of Auckland in 2005. In 2007, she was awarded a prestigious New Zealand Foundation for Research and Technology (FRST) Research Fellowship to develop electrospun bioactive polymer based nanofibrous composites for health care applications focused on would care technology. Marija is an inventor of patented antimicrobial polymer technology (AMP) which arose from her FRST project and was a cornerstone of the MBIE “Hybrid Polymers” project (2008-2014).

During 2016-2017 Marija was Chief Technical Officer at Hydroxsys NZ Ltd, a TIN100 early stage award start-up making clean-tech membranes. During 2018-2019 Marija was a Senior Research Fellow within James Henare Research Centre, the University of Auckland working to develop an inexpensive and sustainable alternate method based on AMP technology to directly improve water quality and thereby protect and advance the mauri of local waterways. 

Marija has retained an academic role at the Faculty of Physical Chemistry, University of Belgrade, working on the research projects awarded by Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection of Serbia, developing approaches for the large-scale production of advanced polymer nanomaterials for sensors, energy storage, water reuse, food and biomedical applications. In 2019 she was appointed as the Scientific Ambassador of Republic of Serbia in New Zealand.

Current research interests:

•    Eco-friendly synthesis of advanced nanomaterials and biopolymer based composites
•    Green approaches of obtaining bioactive compounds and biodegradable polymers from food waste
•    Antimicrobial surface coatings
•    Natural preservatives for cosmetics
•    Antimicrobial polymer for water filters
•    High performance sensors based on nanostructured biocomposites for food quality and environmental monitoring applications


University profile