A world leader in RNA research


The UNSW RNA Institute is Australia’s leading RNA research institute, uniting UNSW researchers and collaborating with other universities and institutes.
This interdisciplinary research approach is significantly shaping the landscape of RNA technologies and therapeutics, creating a substantial impact on advancing solutions for human welfare.


Our Expertise
We are proud of our visionary leaders in RNA biology, chemistry and medicine, forming the cornerstone of our expertise.
RNA Biology

Led by Prof Irina Voineagu (School of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences)

RNA Chemistry

Led by Prof Pall Thordarson (School of Chemistry)

RNA Medicine

Led by Prof Maria Kavallaris (Children’s Cancer Institute and UNSW) and Prof Anthony Kelleher (Kirby Institute and UNSW)


Academic Team

To support these RNA pioneers, the Institute has over 20 research groups in UNSW Science, Engineering, and Medicine and Health.

The Institute also has strong connections with other organisations within UNSW to facilitate research and development such as the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre, Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics (a node of Bioplatforms Australia), and the Recombinant Products Facility.

Merlin Crossley (Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences)

Albert Fahrenbach (Chemistry)

Selene Fernandez-Valverde (Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences)

Justin Gooding (Chemistry)

Christopher Marquis (Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences)

John Mattick (Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences)

Kate Quinlan (Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences)

Martina Stenzel (Chemistry)

Pall Thordarson (Chemistry)

Irina Voineagu (Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences)

Anna Wang (Chemistry)

Cyrille Boyer (Chemical Engineering)

Rona Chandrawati (Chemical Engineering)

Sophia Gu (Chemical Engineering)

Megan Lord (Biomedical Engineering)

Robert Nordon (Biomedical Engineering)

Chantelle Ahlenstiel (Kirby / Medicine)

Jake Baum (Biomedical Sciences)

Scott Berry (Biomedical Sciences)

Michelle Farrar (Randwick / Medicine)

Daniel Fernández Ruiz (Biomedical Sciences)

Maria Kavallaris (CCI / Medicine)

Anthony Kelleher (Kirby / Medicine)

Joshua McCarroll (CCI / Medicine)

Stuart Turville (Kirby / Medicine)

Our Mission

Our mission is to grow and support the NSW RNA Ecosystem through research of four key challenge areas:


Understanding sequence, structure and functional relationships of RNA.


Delivery vehicles, targeted delivery, RNA design and stability, transport into cells, the fate of nanoparticles in vivo, crossing the blood brain barrier.


The development of sensing technologies for commercialisation and advancement of scientific knowledge.


RNA synthetic chemistry for sustainable manufacturing, lab-on-a-chip platform for synthesis and scale-up, scale-up of novel delivery systems, and documented production for pre-clinical studies.

Health Areas

The UNSW RNA Institute will make critical contributions that advance human health, with a special emphasis on priority health areas.

Infectious diseases
– the treatments and vaccines for current and future infections (and their variants), including COVID-19 

– focus on hard-to-treat cancers in children 

Rare and genetic disorders
– including neuromuscular diseases 

Neurodegenerative diseases
– with emphasis on the fundamental role of non-coding RNA in diseases such as Alzheimer’s