Engineering and Information Sciences


Moeava Tehei

Current Positions:

Research Fellow


Head of the Targeted Nano-Therapies, University of Wollongong, School of Physics, 2014 - present

AINSE Research Fellow, University of Wollongong, School of Chemistry, 2008 - 2013

Physicist and Co-Manager of IN13, Institut Laue Langevin-Science Division, 2004-2008

Reserach Staff Scientist, The Univeristy of Waikato-Department of Biological Sciences, 2003-2004

Postdoctoral Fellow, Institut Laue Langevin-Science Division, 2002

Research Interests:

From Neutron Scattering and Instrumentation through Physical Chemistry to Human Health Applications

Tehei is a recognized expert in the use of radiation (neutrons, X-rays and Synchrotron) to study biological systems. During his Ph.D. in Physics, Dr Tehei initiated neutron scattering experiments on complex biological samples (ribosomes, proteins, entire cells). He was financed by a competitive studentship from the Région Rhône-Alpes (France), and worked on the development of neutron scattering methods, coupled with protein purification and biochemical sample characterization. The studies were highly successful, yielding publications in high impact journals and the Thesis Prize from the French Neutron Society. His postdoctoral period in New Zealand fostered Tehei's capacity for high quality research in different biomedical/biotechnology fields. For his Ph.D. and postdoctoral works, he was awarded the Young Researcher Prize from the French Society of Biophysics. In 2004, he was physicist and co-manager of the backscattering instrument IN13 at the world leader neutron centre Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble. In parallel with his neutron work on protein dynamics, he has used SANS and synchrotron radiation to characterize the structures of the systems studied.

Dr Tehei's neutron studies of molecular dynamics in whole cells and in DHFR combined with his work on the medical beam line at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF-Grenoble-France), led to his interest in human health applications of his work and inspired him to develop an independent research program on the effects of radiation and drugs on various cell types in a cancer context.

At the University of Wollongong from 2008, he initiated a collaborative interaction with Prof. Nick Dixon. Prof. Dixon strives for a better understanding of the relations between dynamics, structures and function of proteins in the multiprotein molecular machine that synthesizes and repairs DNA. The study of DNA replication and reparation not only reveal the elegance of the cellular world, but also has potential to guide the rational design of new therapeutics and to optimize our cancer treatment approach. Since January 2010, Tehei started to collaborate with all the investigators from the CMRP at the UOW and co-founded the team Targeted Nano Therapies at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute. The main research program of the team is to elaborate cancer therapies by combining the effects of targeted radiation and drugs or nanoparticles at the nano-scale.


2015 Appointed in the Executive committee of the Australian Neutron Beam Users Group
2012 Appointed Scientific Director Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), Wollongong, Australia, July 2012
2011 AINSE award for the organization of Radiation 2012, Lucas Heights, Australia, February 2012
2011 AINSE travel award for the 1st Asia-Oceania Conference on Neutron Scattering 2011, Tsukuba, Japan, November 2011
2011 AINSE travel award for the International Congress on Radiation Research, Warsaw, Poland, August-September 2011
2011 AINSE travel award for the 1st neutron dynamics data bank workshop 2011, Grenoble, France, January 2011
2010 AINSE award for the organization of AANSS2010, Lucas Heights, Australia, December 2010
2009 AINSE travel award for the International Conference on Neutron Scattering 2009, Knoxville, USA, May 2009
2007 TV News interview (Moeava Tehei, a polynesian biophysicist) broadcast on France Ô on 16 February 2007 and RFO Polynesia on 17 February 2007
2007 `Un Biophysicien de réputation mondiale, Moeava Tehei, fierté du fenua - article on the cover page and two centre pages of `La Dépèche (French Polynesia Newspaper)
2004 PhD Thesis prize (1000 Euros) of the French Neutron Society
2004 Young research scientist prize (1500 Euros) of French Society of Biophysics for research on the relationship amongst dynamics - structure - function in extremophile biological systems.

Future Research Topics:

Chemo-Radiation Therapies

Nanoparticles and Cancer treatments

Structure-dynamics-function relationships

Research Students

  • Dean Cardillo : Multifunctional Metal Oxide Nanoparticles for Biomcdical Applications
  • Lee Taylor : In vitro investigation of the effectiveness of cerium oxide nano particles as radio protectors of cancer and noncancer cells in megavoltage photon fields
  • Ryan Brown : Investigating The Properties And Application Of Tantalum Pentoxide Nanostructures For Cancer Radiotherapy
  • Kathrin Bogusz : Engineering and study of multifunctional biocompatible nanoceramics.
  • Elette Engels : Lanthanide nanoparticles for image guided multimodal therapies
  • Carolyn Hollis : Multimodal Therapy: A Combination of Oncothermia, Microbeam Radiation Therapy and Nano Therapy
  • Nai-sheng Hsu : Drug Delivery Multifunctional Systems Based on Nanoceramic Particles for Cancer Treatment
  • Matt Westlake : Synthesis and Characterisation of Nanoparticles Such As Bismuth Ferrite For Implementation in MRI and CT