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Prof David Harding staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84616

Prof David Harding PhD, BSc

Professor of Separation Science

School of Fundamental Sciences

Harding’s MU profile is highlighted by two issues above all others: development of the Hydrophobic Charge Induction Chromatography (HCIC) system for protein purification and a 1999 Massey University Research Fund (MURF, $96,000) grant awarded to him for a two year postdoctoral fellowship (PDF). The HCIC system is now a commercially available product that has seen papers, patents and royalty returns (USD30,000 p.a. - still active in 2019) credited to Massey University. The MURF PDF gave him the opportunity to expand his career in the development of polymer systems from the synthesis of peptides and small proteins and the purification of larger natural proteins into the world of hydrogels for drug delivery and waste water treatment. Indeed, this MURF grant laid the foundation for his still current network in the Middle East.


The analytical demands of this aspect of his career led to his producing analytical techniques and protocols. Chemical analytical systems have been developed as needed. His modest public publication record (h = 22) runs alongside a number of commercial projects. The contents of numerous confidential commercial reports unfortunately cannot be discussed in detail.


What issues that can be noted are listed as follows:


  • Contractual research for the Lactose Company, NZ Ltd in collaboration with Industrial Research Ltd. NZ.
  • Massey University New Technology Award, 1997 for Mixed Mode Chromatographic Resins for Low Cost Protein Purification.
  • MURF - New Hydrogels for Controlled Drug Delivery - two years funding $96,000 for a postdoctoral fellow and expenses.
  • Major equipment $710,050 grant from The Wellcome Trust, U.K. which was augmented by $100,000 from Massey University to allow the purchase of a MALDI R/L and a ZMD ESI mass spectrometer, a half-time technician salary and working expenses for 3 years  
  • Marsden Grant of $575,000 over 3 years for a study aimed at the Design and Synthesis of Hydrogel Scaffolds to Support Liver Cell Growth. The funds covered postdoctoral level studies.
  • Contractual research for KiwiTech Ltd (part of Fonterra) with funding $478,000 for three years investigative research into the development of new products for them.
  • MURF grant for the study From Mucus to Unique Giant Polymers - two years funding $121,000 for a postdoctoral fellow and expenses.
  • Massey University Grant $155,999 for an AKTA Explorer 100 protein purification facility.
  • Memorandum of Understanding - Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute, Cairo, Egypt.
  • Memorandum of Understanding - Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan.
  • New Zealand Industry of Chemistry Fonterra Prize, Excellence in Industrial & Applied Chemistry.
  • Contractual research for NZ Pharmaceuticals, Linton and Life Technologies (NZ) Ltd, Auckland/Nelson.


In more recent times, his interests have also taken on the following topics:


  • Nanocellulose hydrogels for, in particular, drug delivery
  • Pain relief when dealing with farm animals: for example, dehorning and castration.
  • Approaches to dealing with the nematode problem in NZ with respect to ruminants.

Harding has been involved in a number of projects involving synthetic organic and analytical chemistry with projects ranging from new chromatographic procedures (one patent still delivering royalties to Massey University in 2019) to drug delivery. Despite receiving NZ grants and strong endeavours to support NZ industry and Crown Research Institutes over the years, Harding has had greater success overseas. Currently (2019), he is involved in hydrogel drug delivery systems, nematode (worm) eradication and pain reduction in dealing with farm animals. He is involved with a dental surgery project in the United Arab Emirates and has research projects in Egypt.

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  • Doctor of Philosophy - University of Western Ontario (1973)
  • Bachelor of Science - University of Canterbury (1967)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Organic and Analytical Chemistry


Health and Well-being

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Chemical Science (030000): Organic Chemical Synthesis (030503): Organic Chemistry (030500)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Not Specified 1 0
Project Leader 2 10

Completed Projects

Project Title: Hydrogels and other biopolymers.

Date Range: 2012 - 2012

Funding Body: Use MINBIE -- Ministry of Science and Innovation

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Teaching and Supervision

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 2 11
Co-supervisor 1 1

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Arka Gupta - Doctor of Philosophy
    Development of novel CT based Anthelmintics to overcome the drug resistance problem in nematode infested ruminants.
  • Jin Xiang Wong - Doctor of Philosophy
    Modular Functionalization of Engineered Polyhydroxyalkanoate Scaffolds

Co-supervisor of:

  • Wenliang Xu - Doctor of Philosophy
    Screening a select group of New Zealand grown plants: the hunt for bioactive molecules.

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2014 - Iman Kavianinia - Doctor of Philosophy
    Stimuli Sensitive Polysaccharide Based Hydrogels as Colon Targeted Drug Delivery Vehicles
  • 2013 - Olekile Tibe - Doctor of Philosophy
    Phenolics and Condensed Tannins from Botswanan Forage Plants and their Biological Significance
  • 2010 - Rachel White - Doctor of Philosophy
    Synthesis of cyclodextrin composites incorporating targeting and drug carrying capabilities
  • 2009 - Medhat Al-Ghobashy - Doctor of Philosophy
    Downstream purficiation and analysis of the recombinant human myelin basic protein produced in the milk of transgenic cows.
  • 2006 - Ibrahim Abdelhalim - Doctor of Philosophy
    Preparation, characterisation and in-vitro evaluation Chitosan-based smart hydrogels for controlled drug release
  • 2006 - Kyong-A Bang - Doctor of Philosophy
    Synthesis and Analysis of Libraries of Potential Flavour Compounds
  • 2000 - Simon Fielder - Doctor of Philosophy
    Synthesis of a-Farnesene Autoxidation Products and Cross-conjugated Polyenes.
  • 2000 - Rachel Williamson - Doctor of Philosophy
    Stereocontrol Of Intramolecular Diels-Alder Reactions.
  • 1998 - Michael Lilly - Doctor of Philosophy
    Investigations Into The Stereochemical Outcome Of Intramolecular Diels-Alder Reactions.
  • 1996 - Simon Burton - Doctor of Philosophy
    Preparation of Chemically Modified Bead Cellulose Resins and their Application to Protein Purification.
  • 1993 - Darren Englebretsen - Doctor of Philosophy
    Solid Synthesis on a Beaded Cellulose Support

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2015 - Dunusinghe De Silva - Doctor of Philosophy
    Magneto-structural correlations of Iron-salicylaldoxime clusters

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