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Leadership team

Building a community of researchers

Our research is led by theme and domain leaders who form the executive committee chaired by Sydney Nano's director. 

Sydney Nano has a community of researchers who share their expertise across interdisciplinary projects. They are led by our theme and domain leaders, who constitute the Sydney Nano Executive Committee, chaired by the Director, Ben Eggleton.

Our leadership teams are divided into three categories:

Leadership team

Ben Eggleton

Professor Ben Eggleton


Professor Eggleton has been an ARC Laureate Fellow and founding director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS).

His ground breaking research into nanoscale optical waveguides underpins novel applications in telecommunications, quantum technologies and sensing.

An alumnus, Professor Eggleton completed his undergraduate and PhD studies at the University of Sydney. He held several roles in industry, including at prestigious Bell Laboratories in the USA, where he was director of photonics devices research, before joining the University again in 2003 as professor of physics. Since then, he has received more than $54 million in research grants while at the University, most recently an ARC Linkage grant announced in February to develop advanced technologies to enhance satellite communications, radar systems and surveillance capabilities for defence, as well as lay the groundwork for future fifth-generation wireless communications.

Professor Eggleton is one of the most highly cited academics at the University, with an h-index of 65 (Web of Science) and is the author or co-author of more than 460 journal publications. He has won several prizes, including NSW Scientist of the Year for Physics and Astronomy, the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science, and a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence for Outstanding Research.

Professor Eggleton is a fellow of both the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He is also co-director of the NSW Smart Sensing Network. Professor Eggleton commenced as Director of Sydney Nano in May 2018.


Gunther Schmidt

Dr Gunther Schmidt

Chief Operating Officer

Dr Gunther Schmidt has over 20 years of international leadership and executive management experience in the business-to-business (B2B) and consultancy environment in a wide range of industry segments. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Gunther has a recognised expertise for the development of business innovation and driving operational excellence projects.

Dr Schmidt also has an academic background holding a Masters degree in Chemistry and a PhD (summa cum laude) in Materials Science from the University of Hamburg, Germany. He was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Ian Wark Research Institute, University of South Australia and the Museum of National History, Stockholm, Sweden.

Industry theme leaders

Health and medicine

Associate Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski

Faculty of Pharmacy

Communications, computing and security

Dr Ralph Holz

Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies

Energy and environment

Associate Professor Cara Wrigley

School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Research domain leaders

Dr Ivan Kassal

Quantum science

Dr Ivan Kassal

Faculty of Science

Associate Professor Jun Huang

Materials on the nanoscale

Associate Professor Jun Huang

Faculty of Engineering & Information Technologies

Associate Professor Chiara Neto

Molecular nanoscience

Associate Professor Chiara Neto

Faculty of Science

Associate Professor Stefano Palomba


Associate Professor Stefano Palomba

Faculty of Science