Latest news

Research news

November 2014

Latest funding outcome

The School has been successful in seven DP grants that we led this year providing a total of $3.00M in new direct research funding to the School.  Read more.

October 2014

Some light reading

The science of light is a subject that has long-since fascinated me, consisting of millions of so-called photons these part-time-waves/wannabe-particles are taken for granted almost as much as the air we breathe, yet they form such a vital part of our modern world. There is the obvious, that orange fireball in the sky and the humble light bulb that lets us go about our business 24 hours a day, all year round. Read more.

Opening new ways to treat malaria

In 2012, according to World Health Organization estimates, about 207 million cases of malaria worldwide resulted in about 627,000 deaths, mainly of young children in Africa. Read more.

Tiny particles with a big future. From cancer treatment to space!

Nanoparticles technology is a fascinating technology with many potential applications. The collaboration between The University of Sydney’s Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids and Sirtex Medical Ltd is investigating possible applications for chemotherapy treatments in solid tumours as well as navigational thrusters for mini satellites in space. Read more.

April 2014

Development of novel glycopeptide-based cancer immunotherapies

Over 120,000 Australians are diagnosed with cancer each year, and more than 43,000 died of cancer in 2011 alone. Our laboratory is among a number around the world working towards finding better treatments for cancer sufferers, and one of nearly 500 supported by Cure Cancer Australia, an initiative that began in 1967 to provide research support to Australian laboratories searching for cures for cancer. Read more.

October 2013

Synthetic drugs of abuse

The past few years have seen a paradigm shift in recreational drug use throughout the world. There has been a sudden explosion in the availability of many synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of cannabis but are without complete characterisation. Read more.

Other news


Dr Elizabeth New, Dr Chris McErlean McErlean, Professor Greg Warr and Dr Toby Hudson were awarded the 2014 Faculty of Science Learning and Teaching Fellowship. This group, led by Dr Elizabeth New, has the demonstrated ability to deliver a research-enriched learning experience for second and third year students in the School of Chemistry. By integrating the experimental approaches of the traditional disciplines of Chemistry within an engaging and authentic inquiry focussed program, this work has the potential to greatly enhance the learning experience of students. Their project is entitled “Research-led teaching in 2nd and 3rd year chemistry laboratory classes”.

Dr Deanna D'Alessandro has been awarded the 2014 Rennie Medal of the RACI for outstanding research for a young researcher. The Rennie Memorial Medal is awarded annually to a financial member of the RACI with less than 10 years of professional experience since completing their most recent relevant qualification of a BSc, BSc (Hons), MSc or PhD Degree, or the equivalent, who in the opinion of the Board of the RACI, has contributed most towards the development of some branch of the chemical science. The contribution is judged by the research work published during the 8 years immediately preceding the award.

Dr Liz New was awarded one of two AsBIC Early Career Researcher Awards for excellence in the broad field of biological inorganic chemistry at the Asian Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference.

Ms Carol Hua (PhD student with Dr Deanna D'Alessandro) has won a RACI Graduate Student Travel Bursary during the recent National Awards.

Students from the School of Chemistry won two of the six poster awards at the Asian Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference in the Gold Coast during 30/11/2014 to 5/12/2014. They were Jun Liang and Anna Safitri (PhD students from Professor Lay’s group) and Isaac Carney (joint Honours student in the groups of Dr Liz New and Professor Trevor Hambley).  Photos can be found here.

Honours student, Mr Isaac Carney has won third prize at the RACI NSW Analytical and Environmental Presentation Evening held on the 26 November. Honours and Master-by-Research students from several universities working on analytical chemistry and/or environmental chemistry related research projects delivered an oral presentation on their work at this annual event.

Congratulations to postgraduate candidate, Mrs Zakiah Mohamed, who won best student poster prize at AANSS 2014. The AANSS conference is the annual get-together of the Australian neutron scattering community.

A/Prof Siegbert Schmid FRACI, has been awarded the 2013 Archibald Ollé Prize. This prize is awarded to a member of the RACI who submits the best treatise, writing or paper on any subject relevant to the interests of the Institute.  A/Prof Schmid is author to five of the twenty-seven chapters in the undergraduate text, Chemistry by Blackman, Bottle, Schmid, Mocerino and Wille, and their revisions in the Second Edition.

In collaborative news, Prof John Canning's phd student, Mr Arafat Hossain, an IPRS holder enrolled in engineering but working on a collaborative project between engineering (Abbas Jamalipour) and chemistry (John Canning, Sandra Ast and Peter Rutledge), has won a biomedical engineering award in his faculty student conversasione for his smartphone work in Prof Canning's labs. There were more than 70 students competing and only ten awards, only two of which went to the category biomedical engineering.

This is a great example of the potential of interfaculty collaborative research, making use of expertise across disciplines.

Congratulations to Ms Mouna Hamad who has been awarded the demonstrator-of-the-semester award for Semester 2, 2014, for her excellence in demonstrating in the First Year Laboratories.

Congratulations to Dr Toby Hudson, who has been promoted to Senior Lecturer, effective from 1 January 2015.

Dr Bun Chan, Research Fellow, has received a JSPS Invitation Fellowship (Long-Term) to undertake collaborative research in Japan with Professor Kimihiko Hirao at RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science during the second half of the year.

Congratulations to PhD candidate, Mr Weibin Liang, who won a student poster prize at the recent international conference on Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOF2014) in Kobe, Japan. Weibin was supported by the PRSS scheme to attend this conference.

Associate Professor Lou Rendina has been awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Fellowship at the University of Missouri and The International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine, the first Australian chemist to be awarded such an honour. Read more.

Congratulations to PhD candidates, Mr Marcello Solomon and Ms Chanel Leong, who have been awarded a Joan R. Clarke Scholarship (Round 2). The purpose of the Scholarship is to assist a postgraduate student proceeding to a Doctorate in the School of Chemistry to undertake research in connection with his/her doctoral thesis topic at a leading university overseas for a period of not less than six weeks.

Chemistry at USyd ranked 42nd in the QS World University rankings and in the 51-75th bracket in the Shanghai Jiaotong Academic Rankings of World Universities. Read more.

KCPC's recent publication, "Ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle prelabelling of human neural precursor cells", has been identified as a Key Scientific Article contributing to excellence in biomedical research. Global Medical Discovery alerts the scientific, clinical and industrial community to innovative papers dedicated to investigating causes and discovering cures for major diseases and debilitating illnesses. View abstract here.

Mr Jacek Kolanowski (post-doc), Mr Edward O'Neill (postgrad) and Ms Clara Shen (postgrad), have all received a Travel Bursary to attend the AsBIC7 (7th Asian Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference), at the Gold Coast during 30 November-5 December. Well done!

Professor Peter Lay has accepted an invitation to be on the "ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships – Selection Advisory Committee” for 2014. The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to support excellence in research by attracting world-class researchers and research leaders to key positions in Australia.

Last year, Peter accepted an invitation to be on the “CRC Interview Panel for the Cancer Therapeutics CRC”.

The 2014 Alumni Awards have been announced and Ms Katrina Badiola, now a PhD candidate, has been awarded the Convocation Medal for undergraduate achievements during her Honours year. Katrina graduated with BSc(Adv)(Hons) in 2014. Read more about the 2014 awards here.

Postgraduate students, Ms Anna Safitri and Mr Jun Liang , have both received a Travel Bursary to attend the AsBIC7 (7th Asian Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference), at the Gold Coast during 30 November-5 December.

PhD candidate, Ms Carol Hua, has received a 2014 MRACI Postgraduate Student Travel Bursary.

Associate Professor Richard Payne has been shortlisted for the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher. Richard is pioneering the development of much-needed therapies for tuberculosis, malaria and cancer, which are responsible for enormous morbidity and mortality worldwide. He has developed and used highly innovative synthetic chemistry methods and drug-screening technologies to develop novel molecules for treating these diseases. A short presentation can be viewed on YouTube. Read more about Richard's research here.

Dr Nick Proschogo has become a Chartered member of RACI (MRACI CChem).

A/Prof Siggi Schmid and A/Prof Adam Bridgeman, have been awarded funding in the first 2014 round of grants funding from the Office for Teaching and Learning.

Siggi and Adam are leading the project "Assessing the assessments: evidencing and benchmarking student learning outcomes in chemistry", with partners at Curtin University, Deakin University, Macquarie University, Queensland University of Technology, The University of Adelaide, and the University of Wollongong. Adam says 'The TLOs have been agreed, but we need to work out how to assess them and make them a reality. All the major chemistry schools in Australia are involved, and we'll be benchmarking against similar projects in the US and UK'.

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer has been made a "Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW". The Royal Society of NSW is the oldest learned society in the Southern Hemisphere, tracing its origin to the Philosophical Society of Australasia, founded in Sydney in 1821.

Professor Leo Radom has been selected as the 2014 Almlöf-Gropen Lecturer at the University of Oslo and University of Tromsø in Norway.

PhD candidate, Mr Gerard O'Connor, has been awarded the 2013 Rao Prize at the 69th International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy at the University of Illinois at Campaign-Urbana in June. The prize included free accommodation and registration, as well as a copy of "Molecular symmetry and spectroscopy" and a certificate. This prize was awarded for the best talks, given by students, at the 68th International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy at Ohio State University in 2013. There were three winners out of 80 eligible speakers. Gerard has also been given the opportunity to be a judge for the 2014 competition.

PhD candidate, Ms Clara Shen won a highly commended prize for her poster and presentation at the Australian Society for Molecular Imaging Meeting.

In 2012, according to World Health Organization estimates, about 207 million cases of malaria worldwide resulted in about 627,000 deaths, mainly of young children in Africa. Associate Professor Mat Todd talks about his open source malaria project with SHARE, a newsletter of the Australian National Data Services.

Postgraduate candidate, Ms Karen Yuen, has been awarded the 2014 Faculty of Science Postgraduate research Prize. Established in 2007 by the Faculty of Science to recognise outstanding Postgraduate student academic achievement, particularly during the early phases of candidature. The criteria for the prize is the significance and quality of a manuscript which has been accepted for publication, and the role the student played in that particular research project. Value of prize is $500.

Associate Professor Siggi Schmid has been awarded an Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) grant for "Assessing the assessments: evidencing and benchmarking student learning outcomes in chemistry". The awarded grant is considered to be innovative and have great potential for a lasting positive impact on the quality of learning and teaching. Well done!

Professor Peter Harrowell has been selected as an Outstanding Referee by the Editors of American Physical Society journals, one of only three Australians selected in 2013, and thirteen named since 2008. The Outstanding Referee program was instituted to recognize scientists who have been exceptionally helpful in assessing manuscripts for publication in the APS journals. The highly selective Outstanding Referee program annually recognizes about 150 of the roughly 60,000 currently active referees. Our Editors select the honorees based on the quality, number, and timeliness of their reports, without regard for membership in the APS, country of origin, or field of research. The decisions are difficult and there are many excellent referees who are still to be recognized. By means of the program, APS expresses its appreciation to all referees, whose efforts in peer review not only keep the standards of the journals at a high level, but in many cases also help authors to improve the quality and readability of their articles – even those that are not published by APS.

PhD candidate, Ms Anh Tran, has been awarded an Eleanor Sophia Wood Travelling Fellowship (tenable for 1 year) to carry out post-doctoral research with Professor Jin-Quan Yu at the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, California).

PhD candidate, Mr Manuel Ghezzi has been awarded the George Harris Scholarship ($400) and the 2014 Surface Coating Association Australia (SCAA) Scholarship ($1,500). Well done!

Associate Professor Brian Hawkett has been awarded US$100k from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (International AOARD) for his project on ionic liquid ferrofluid based space thrusters. This represents a 12 month extension of the project, which is in collaboration with Brad King at Michigan Tech.

An international conference was held in honour of Professor Leo Radom in Shenzhen, China, in May 2014 entitled: "International Symposium on Frontiers of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry: A Celebration in Honor of Henry F. Schaefer and Leo Radom.

Professor Peter Lay has been seconded to a 0.2FTE position within the Research Portfolio following his appointment as Director, Vibrational Spectroscopy Core Facility of the University of Sydney during the period March 3, 2014 to February 28, 2017. He will remain in his current position as Professor of Inorganic Chemistry within the School of Chemistry on a 0.8FTE basis.

Dr Liz New has received an award from the Chinese University of Hong Kong Inbound Mobility Scheme. This will allow Liz to visit Hong Kong to set up collaborations.

Associate Professor Adam Bridgeman, wins 2014 Vice-Chancellor's "Support of the Student Experience" award. The Student Transition and Retention (STAR) team, which includes Ms Cassandra Khamis, Ms Ana Munro, Dr Tim Wilkinson and A/Prof Adam Bridgeman, is responsible for an initiative which combines central and faculty expertise in Track and Connect, a program which has well developed goals and procedures for supporting first year students in transition and retention. The Faculties of Science and Engineering & IT have joined the Student Transition and Retention Team of Student Support Services to provide a coordinated systematic approach. More information about the Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Teaching and Learning can be found at here.

Dr Bun Chan, Research Fellow, has received a JSPS Invitation Fellowship (Long-Term) to undertake collaborative research in Japan with Professor Kimihiko Hirao at RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science during the second half of the year.

PhD candidate, Mr Sam Liu, has won an Oral presentation prize at this years AXAA meeting in Perth. This award consists of AU$1000 travel sponsor ship and the Robert L Snyder award (US$1000) and registration to attend the 2014 Denver X-ray Conference held in Big Sky, Montana USA.

Meet our newest Postgraduate Teaching Fellows. They are: Clara Shen; Katrina Badiola; James Timothy Williams; Mingyue Kardashinsky; David McDonald and Edward O'Neill.

The Australian Academy of Science Selby Fellow, Professor Ullrich Steiner, visits the University of Sydney. "From lotus leaves to geckos' feet, the intricate structures of natural materials still hold many secrets that intrigue humans, and can benefit them. On 20 February at a Sydney Ideas lecture at the University of Sydney, Professor Ullrich Steiner, the John Humphrey Plummer Professor of the Physics of Materials at the University of Cambridge, described the latest research based on recreating the extraordinary properties of natural materials." Read more here.

Professor John Canning has won CONSELHO NACIONAL DE DESENVOLVIMENTO CIENTÍFICO E TECNOLÓGICO - (CNPq)  Science without Borders 3yr Program funding (Visiting professorship, student exchange and project funding) between UTFPR Curitiba, Brazil and The University of Sydney, Australia to develop the next generation of optical sensors.

Professor John Canning was a partner applicant of a successful Chinese Government Research Program to bring foreign experts in a joint new technology research between Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu and The University of Sydney, Australia. His work will focus on sensor device development using the self-assembly work he and his group have pioneered.

Micron Optics Incorporated, the world’s leading industrial optical fibre sensing company has partnered with iPL and donated more than $US 54k worth of interrogation and sensor equipment to help teach state-of-the-art optical fibre sensing at The University of Sydney.

Technology milestone! In a joint collaboration between Professor John Canning, Dr Sandra Ast and Associate Professor Peter Rutledge (School of Chemistry) and Professor Abbas Jamalipour (School of Engineering), the world’s first demonstration of a smartphone fluorometer (i.e. “lab-in-a-phone”) was used to measure live the field pH of both ocean and freshwater samples around Sydney (recently submitted for publication). The measurements were carried out by joint iPL/Engineering PhD student Mr Arafat Hossain.

Congratulations to PhD candidate, Ms Josie Auckett, who has received a Rising Star Award from the Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand (SCANZ) to speak at the upcoming Crystal29 conference in Queensland.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Ron Clarke, who has been awarded a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to go and do research at the Technical University Berlin at the end of the year.

Congratulations to PhD candidate, Ms Jessica Stanley, who received a 2014 Australia Day Award by the National Council of Women NSW, sponsored by the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts (SMSA). Jessica received her award by Verity Firth, CEO of the Public Education Foundation, in the distinguished presence of Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO Governor of NSW, at the "Celebrate Being an Australian" Australia Day Luncheon at Parliament House, Sydney on 23 January, 2014.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Richard Payne, who has received the 2014 Le Fèvre Memorial Prize for chemistry research. The RJW Le Fèvre Memorial Prize commemorates the work of the late Professor RJW Le Fèvre, FAA, FRS. Its purpose is to recognise outstanding basic research in chemistry by researchers up to 15 years post-PhD in the calendar year of nomination. The prize of $3000 (GST exempt) is awarded annually at a Royal Australian Chemical Institute function.

Congratulations to Chemistry graduand, Mr Yue Wu, who has received a 2014 Endeavour Fellowship to undertake a postdoctoral position with Professor Jeffrey R. Long from the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Endeavour Fellowships are an internationally competitive program for Australians to undertake study, research and professional development abroad.

Congratulations to Professor Michael Kassiou who was officially elected into the Fellowship of Asian Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (AFMC) in 2013 for his outstanding and significant contribution to science, medicinal chemistry, and to the federation.

Congratulations to PhD candidate, Ms Jessica Stanley, who has been awarded one of four Royal Society of New South Wales Scholarships for 2013. The award consists of a certificate acknowledging her achievement, a $500 prize and a complimentary year of membership of the Society. Jessica will be expected to submit a paper to the Society's Journal and to deliver a short presentation of her work at the general meeting of the Society in February 2014.

Congratulations to Mat Todd, Siggi Schmid and Peter Rutledge who have been promoted to Associate Professors as of 1 January, 2014.



David Sangster, a long-serving and much-loved member of the School, particularly in the Key Centre for Polymer and Colloids, died on Saturday, 18 October 2014 from pneumonia, aged 90.  The follow article appeared in ChemNEWS, Issue 12, 2008.

Our friend, colleague and Chemistry alumnus Dr Jim Eckert passed away peacefully on 14 March 2014 at the age of 77. Many of you will remember Jim from his fascinating historical articles.  If you were not lucky enough to know Jim you may like read more about him here.



A/Prof James Beattie: On the evening of Friday, 8 August 2014, some forty colleagues and past students gathered in the Lecture Foyer of the School of Chemistry to pay tribute to James Beattie and to help him celebrate his ‘liberation’ from teaching and administration duties, and to encourage him in his continuing research activities. Tributes can be found here.

Mr Bruce Dellit:  After 34 years of working for the School of Chemistry, Bruce Dellit retires. Read more.