Misti is a health tech startup driven by the mission to shield children from respiratory illnesses, offering accessible, effective, and enjoyable treatments that parents can effortlessly provide at home. Their aim is to empower families to reclaim their healthy, vibrant lives using hospital-grade nebuliser.

The access to Australia’s brightest emerging research talent inspired Misti to partner with APR, to support PhD students gaining practical experience with an innovative start-up conducting rigorous pre-clinical testing to put an end to children’s respiratory viruses and the discomfort they cause and safely breathe back health into households. One former intern is Bangyan Xu from the University of Melbourne, who worked on developing an innovative method for vaccine delivery using surface acoustic wave (SAW) nebulisation technology.

Bangyan’s PhD research at the University of Melbourne focused on using chemical tools to investigate the role of cathepsin X in dendritic cells. Cathepsin X is an enzyme found within cells and has been reported to associate with various diseases including cancer and neuroinflammation. Its precise function in dendritic cells, which are key players in our immune system, was not well understood. APR. Intern’s focus on bridging academic research with industry needs was a perfect fit for Bangyan. This project, applying his expertise in immunology and cellular biology to a novel drug delivery platform, offered an exciting opportunity to translate his skills into real-world impact.

During Bangyan’s internship at Misti, he focused on developing an innovative method for vaccine delivery using surface acoustic wave (SAW) nebulisation technology. This groundbreaking approach utilises sound waves to aerosolise vaccines, specifically mRNA-based formulations, enabling targeted delivery to the lungs. Traditional vaccine administration methods, such as intramuscular injection, may not be optimal for respiratory diseases and may cause more side effects. Nebulisers offer a needle-free alternative with the potential for enhanced efficacy due to direct delivery to the respiratory mucosa, a key site for immune response against respiratory pathogens. This technology could also enable dose-sparing, reducing the amount of vaccine required per individual and potentially improving the scalability of vaccine production and distribution. While this technology is still under development, it holds significant promise for revolutionising vaccine delivery and improving global health outcomes, particularly in the face of respiratory disease outbreaks.

“I created pre-clinical study protocols and generated crucial data that were instrumental in the grant application process. This data not only validated the technology’s potential but also laid the groundwork for further research and development.”

– Bangyan Xu, Former APR Intern at Misti.

Image: Bangyan Xu, APR Intern (supplied).

Misti stands strong in their commitment to fostering next-generation talent, it’s crucial to equip young scientists with commercial innovation skills. They really are next in-line to drive growth, provide a competitive advantage, solve problems, build upcoming talent pipeline, and need to quickly adapt to change with the growth of digital technologies.

Bangyan’s experience is a perfect example of how a young immunologist with a pure academic background who could successfully contribute to commercial innovation. His work on pre-clinical evaluation of the MISTI nebuliser is a valuable asset for the product development, demonstrating the potential of his research to lead to real-world applications.

Bangyan has been a valuable member of Misti from his day one, diving straight into the project goals with a deep dedication and thoughtful consideration on his project ‘Misti for inhaled mRNA for lung applications’. He is an independent thinker and was able to execute tasks involving complex immunology and development of protocols for in-vitro assessment to successfully develop proof-of-concept data for Misti’s applications for lung delivery of mRNA.


The protocols he developed have already benefited our academic partners meaning that Misti’s relationship with academic partners have been both leveraged and strengthened. The pinnacle of his work – should be preparing a data package comprising his work to share with Dr. Katalin Kariko (inventor of modern mRNA vaccines and senior VP of BioNtech). Bangyan also contributed to the strategy development for potential partnerships being planned for Misti. The true impact of his contribution at Misti is yet to be realised as we develop Misti nebulizer in the coming months with noteworthy contributions evident for both the Misti and academic partners involved.


– Dr. Anushi (Kulasiri) Rajapaksa, Founder and CEO of Misti. 

The work Bangyan participated in at Misti has the potential to revolutionise respiratory healthcare in Australia and beyond. By developing innovative vaccine delivery platforms like SAW nebulisers, we can enhance vaccine efficacy, accessibility, and ultimately reduce the burden of respiratory infections globally. This translates to improved health outcomes, reduced healthcare costs, and enhanced pandemic preparedness in Australia. Globally, this technology could provide equitable access to vaccines, alleviate disease burden in vulnerable populations, and contribute to sustainable healthcare solutions.

“The APR.Intern experience has solidified my passion for scientific inquiry and broadened my career horizons. I am confident that the skills and knowledge gained during the internship, particularly in translational research and interdisciplinary collaboration, will open diverse opportunities for my future career development. Whether I continue an academic path or transition into industry research, I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.”


Bangyan Xu holds a PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Melbourne.

Bangyan Xu was a recipient of the MTPConnect subsidy