news from the school - 2010


Also see our Achievements page.


6 December 2010

Dr Ron Clarke awarded the inaugural McAulay-Hope Prize

Dr Ron Clarke has been awarded the inaugural McAulay-Hope Prize for Original Biophysics at the Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Biophysics (ASB), held last week in Adelaide. The McAulay-Hope Prize for Original Biophysics is designed to recognise true originality and innovation in the field of biophysics, rather than the use of existing techniques or applications.  Further details are available at the ASB website

1 December 2010

The University of Sydney wins $967,000 for Solar Energy Research

The Australian Solar Institute (ASI) has announced the results of Round 2 funding for photovoltaic energy research. A research team led by Dr Timothy Schmidt, in collaboration with Professor Maxwell Crossley and A/Prof Sebastien Perrier has received funding from The Australian Solar Institute (ASI) and the NSW Government through its Science Leveraging Fund totalling $967,000 for a project entitled "Upconversion of the solar spectrum for improved PV energy conversion". Other participants include the Imperial College, London; the University of NSW; the University of Adelaide; and the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy, Berlin.
In addition, Dr Raphaël Clady (School of Chemistry) has been awarded a three year fellowship by the ASI. He will be performing ultrafast spectroscopic experiments on a range of new generation solar energy materials to track the degradation and processing of energy on the femtosecond timescale.
Project Summary:
Most commercial solar cells are limited to absorbing particles of light above a certain threshold energy. This causes their energy conversion efficiency to be limited to about 33% under standard illumination. This project will develop a coating for solar cells which can harvest the sub-threshold light. By joining the energy of two low energy particles together, the material will re-radiate the light into the solar cell above the absorption threshold. Doing this efficiently raises the energy conversion efficiency limit considerably. Cells with thresholds corresponding to 620nm (reddish-orange) light have their efficiency ceiling doubled. By raising the ceiling, the project aims to bring about 10% improvements in real cells within three years.

26 November 2010

Dr Richard Payne awarded a NH&MRC Grant

Dr Richard Payne, along with his collaborators Dr Nicholas West and Professor Warwick Britton from the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology have  awarded a NH&MRC research grant valued at $702,165 for their work on the Design, development and analysis of new tuberculosis drugs.

Dr Rich Payne

26 November 2010

Professor Cameron Kepert awarded an ARC Future Fellowship

Professor Cameron Kepert has been awarded a prestigious ARC Future Fellowship for his work on functional molecular nanomaterials.  These Fellowships were established in 2008 to promote research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia. The aim of Future Fellowships is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers.

Prof Cameron Kepert

26 November 2010

Dr Siggi Schmid awarded the Pearson RACI Centenary of Federation Chemistry Educator of the Year Award

Dr Siggy Schmid has been awarded the Pearson RACI Centenary of Federation Chemistry Educator of the Year Award for 2010 for his outstanding contribution to chemistry teaching. Pearson Education Australia is Australia's leading publisher of educational resources. Pearson Education Australia have established this joint award with the RACI for academics whose primary activity is teaching in the chemistry discipline. This award is designed to encourage developing teachers, and is open to tutors, lecturers and senior lecturers (academic levels A, B and C) teaching in undergraduate or postgraduate University courses.

Dr Siggi Schmid

28 October 2010

School awarded $4.5 million in ARC Discovery/Linkage Funding

The School has once again performed exceptionally well in the latest round of ARC Discovery and Linkage Grant outcomes. The overall success rate for Discovery Grant applications submitted through the School was 43.4%, which is twice that of the national average. It's success rate for Linkage Grants was 100%. The total funding awarded was $4.5 million.

The following Discovery Grants were awarded:

  • Dr. Deanna M D'Alessandro - QEII and project Conducting nanoporous materials: toward molecular devices
  • Professor Trevor Hambley - Development of prodrug strategies for achieving increased penetration and selective activation in solid tumours
  • Professor Kate A Jolliffe - New synthetic receptors for selective recognition and sensing of biologically important anions
  • Dr Amir Karton - The role of hypohalous acids and related oxidants in the oxidative damage of biological systems: a computational investigation
  • A/Professor Michael Kassiou, A/Professor Lou Rendina - The development of carboranes as new agents in the diagnosis and treatment of brain disease
  • Professor Brendan J Kennedy and Dr Chris D Ling - Crystal-chemical tuning of order and disorder: a strategy for the discovery of novel solid conductors
  • Dr Chiara Neto - Tailoring surface properties to maximise boundary slip for microfluidic applications
  • A/Professor Sebastien Perrier and Professor Kate A Jolliffe - Polymer-functionalised nanotubes: controlled formation by self-assembly
  • Professor Jeffrey R Reimers - Chemical physics for nanotechnology and biotechnology
  • Dr Timothy Schmidt - Photochemical upconversion for third generation photovoltaic devices

The School was also awarded a new linkage project grant: A/Professor Brian Hawkett and Dr Chiara Neto - Janus particles and nanorattles: new materials for paint technology.


15 October 2010

Dr Richard Payne awarded a 2010 NSW Young Tall Poppy Award

Dr Richard Payne has been awarded a 2010 NSW Young Tall Poppy Award for his work on the use of organic chemistry to discover new drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis and cancer vaccines. These awards recognise young scientists who are doing outstanding work in their field and actively engage and educate the community about their work.








23 September 2010

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer's Ignite Energy Resources team wins National Excellence in Mining Award for Innovation

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer who, as part of the Ignite Energy Resources team as non-executive Director, has won the Mining Journal's National Excellence in Mining Award for Innovation "For the development of a supercritical water process for the upgrading of brown coal and biomass".





14 September 2010

Dr Deanna D'Alessandro's research featured on ABC news

Dr Deanna D'Alessandro research on a material that can soak up large amounts of greenhouse gases has been featured in an ABC news report.





14 September 2010

New Plant to improve biofuels

The NCRIS Hydrothermal Biofuels Research Pilot Plant, jointly operated by researchers from the School of Chemistry led by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer and from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering led by Professor Brian Haynes, will be officially opened on Friday by the DVC (Research), Professor Jill Trewhella. As Peak Oil approaches, demand for renewable liquid transport fuels is increasing but a cost-effective means to produce non-food based biofuels on a large scale is yet to be found. The new Plant allows experimentation with the variables of production, with the aim of finding a viable processing method. For more information, please click here.






25 August 2010

University of Sydney Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Deanna D'Alessandro, has been awarded one of three 2010 L'Oreal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships worth $20,000 for her work on molecules that can capture and release gases such as carbon dioxide using light. The Fellowship will provide equipment, travel support and a summer vacation student to assist her research.





24 August 2010

The School of Chemistry was heavily represented at Science EXPOsed at the Powerhouse Museum on Saturday 21 August, the culmination of National Science Week and the Ultimo Science Festival. Our school ran two workshops for 11-16 year olds: "fantastic plastic" and "make your own blackberry solar cell". Both were highly successful. Members of the Perrier and Schmidt research groups also participated in public talks about their research. We gave six of the nine public presentations on the day. Thanks to Andy West, John Moraes, Dom Konkolewicz, Rowan MacQueen, Dennis Cheng, Jennifer Pong and Burkhard Fückel for giving up their Saturday to promote the wonders of chemistry.



20 August 2010

A fifth form of Chlorophyll has been discovered by Senior Research Associate, Dr Zheng-Li Cai along with collaborators Dr Min Chen and Dr Martin Schliep from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, Associate Professor Robert Willows of Macquarie University, Professor Brett Neilan of the University of NSW and Professor Hugo Scheer of University of Munich. This research has been published online in Science 19 August 2010 (doi:10.1126/science.1191127) and highlighted in Scientific American, New Scientist, Science News and Eurekalter AAAS.




11 August 2010

Dr Mat Todd has explained how the net can be used to its full potential as a collaborative tool for scientific research at the recently held Ignite Sydney. Ignite is an event in over 100 cities worldwide. At the events Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions.



mat todd

5 August 2010

Professor Leo Radom, who has been awarded the 2010 RACI Physical Chemistry Division Medal for his outstanding achievements in theoretical and computational chemistry research. The Physical Chemistry Division Medal is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to any or all of research, teaching, industry and service to the Division and in the field of Physical Chemistry in Australia.


19 July 2010

Associate Professor James Beattie’s research on characterizing the surface of water has been highlighted in the latest issue of Chemical and Engineering News, the magazine for members of the ACS. The article includes comments from all the big players in the field.

Click here to read the article.

2 July 2010

Dr. Richard Payne was featured in a recent issue of Chemistry World, a monthly magazine published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The article profiles Dr. Payne's recent research successes in the areas of tuberculosis drug discovery and glycopeptide cancer vaccines. The article also discusses how Dr. Payne chose chemistry as a career. Click here to read the article.




11 June 2010

Dr Chiara Neto and Dr Stuart Thickett, along with their collaborator Associate Professor Andrew Harris in Chemical Engineering, featured on SBS News Australia on June 9 for their research on water capture devices.

Neto, Thickett and Harris

7 June 2010

More news on Dr Todd's Open Science work has appeared in Chemistry in Australia (June issue). Open Science is where the data for collaborative projects are published on the Internet before peer review and in which anyone can take part. Click here to read to article.



mat todd

4 May 2010

Dr Mat Todd has given an Open Science lecture at Google last month on the topic of "How can we Crowdsource Chemistry to solve important problems" which deals with doing Chemistry on the web. Click here to watch.



mat todd

23 April 2010

Associate Professor Adam Bridgeman and Dr Peter Rutledge have been awarded one of two 2010 Vice-Chancellor's Awards for the Support of the Student Experience. The Award was for their innovative and very effective program for delivering feedback to large classes. The program is now being used in other faculties.

Adam BridgemanPeter Rutledge

20 April 2010

Dr Mat Todd is part of a UNSW-led international team that was awarded $215K from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council for a project entitled "Extending the science curriculum: teaching instrumental science at a distance in a global laboratory using a collaborative electronic laboratory notebook".

mat todd

25 March 2010

Professor Jeff Reimers is one of the seventeen new Fellows announced by the Australian Academy of Science yesterday , in recognition of his contributions over many years elucidating the electronic and vibrational structure of complex materials.



24 March 2010

Associate Professor Sébastier Perrier has been recently interviewed by Nature Chemistry. The interview can be found here.

19 March 2010

A Science Forum, Thursday March 25 2010 at 6.30pm St Andrews College Chapel

This will be an informal forum in which the new Deans of Science at The University of Sydney (Professor Trevor Hambley) and The University of New South Wales (Professor Merlin Crossley) will discuss their visions for the development of Science within their institutions and potential areas of inter-institutional cooperation.

Professor Merlin Crossley took up his appointment as Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales in January 2010 after moving from The University of Sydney where he was Professor of Molecular Genetics. Merlin completed his BSc degree at the University of Melbourne, majoring in genetics and microbiology then moved to Oxford University for postgraduate studies as a Rhodes Scholar. Subsequently, he took up post-doctoral position at Oxford. This was followed by a research position at Harvard Medical School before returning to Australia to establish a laboratory investigating DNA-binding molecules and gene control at the University of Sydney. This research has been recognised through several awards, including the Australian Academy of Science’s Gottschalk Medal, the Royal Society of NSW's Edgeworth David Medal, and the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Roche Medal. Merlin has previously served as in major administrative roles at the University of Sydney including: Acting Dean of Science; Director of Research in the University’s College of Sciences and Technology; and most recently, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research.

Professor Trevor Hambley is currently Professor of Chemistry within the School of Chemistry, the University of Sydney and will take up the position of Dean of Science in the middle of 2010. Trevor completed his BSc(Hon H1) at the University of Western Australia and PhD at the University of Adelaide. After moving to the University of Sydney he has developed internationally recognized research programs in medicinal inorganic chemistry, molecular mechanics, and crystallography. He was Head of the School of the Chemistry for four years and has held many senior roles within the University of Sydney in Research, including his most recent role as Coordinator of Research Assessment for the University of Sydney in organising the University’s response and procedures for the Excellence in Research Evaluation exercise of the ARC. He is also currently President of the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry. Trevor was the recipient of the Edgeworth David Medal of the Royal Society of NSW and has received the “Supervisor of the Year” award at the University of Sydney in 1997 and an Excellence in Teaching Award for Postgraduate Supervision in 1998.

Please e-mail or telephone Mr Philip Penwright on or 9351 4504 if you wish to attend the Forum.

1 March 2010


Professor Kate Jolliffe has received a University of Sydney Cancer Research Fund grant for 2010 - Bim replacement as a therapeutic strategy to overcome glucocorticoid resistance in the treatment of paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia - $40,000.


10 February 2010


Dr Mat Todd's open source Chemistry project on the development of a front-line drug against the tropical disease schistosomiasis has featured as a news item in Nature:


mat todd

10 February 2010

An article on the School's innovative undergraduate video respository project run by Dr Mat Todd, Dr Peter Rutledge and Associate Professor Adam Bridgeman has appeared in C&E News:

As part of this project, undergraduate students are encouraged to record with their mobile devices the procedures and results of their laboratory work.

Mat ToddPeter Rutledge Adam Bridgeman

9 February 2010

Dr Tim Schmidt wins the 2010 Coblentz Award

Dr Tim Schmidt is the first Australian to win the Coblentz Award which is presented annually to an outstanding young molecular spectroscopist under the age of 36.