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Leadership team

Sydney Nano leadership

Our leadership comprises a team of pre-eminent researchers and scholars led by Professor Ben Eggleton. Our mission is to transform our economy, society and everyday life through multidisciplinary research in nanoscale science and technology. 

We aim to be globally trusted and recognised experts in nanoscience and technolgy. We are working towards achieving this by enabling and facilitating activities and translational outcomes that would not be possible through our existing university structures. 

The Sydney Nano Executive Committee, chaired by the Director, Ben Eggleton, comprises four Deputy Directors, who work as a team to affect our academic, strategic and financial goals.

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, including a Discovery grant and an ARC Linkage grant in 2018 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 67 (Web of Science) and is the author or co-author of more than 480 journal publications. He has won several prizes, including NSW Scientist of the Year for Physics and Astronomy, the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science, the Pawsey Medal, the Walter Boas Medal, 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.

Deputy Directors

Wojtek Chrzanowski

Associate Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski

Academic Partnerships

Associate Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski received his PhD from the Silesian University of Technology. In 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship and moved to University College London, and subsequently to the University of Glasgow to work on Externally Activated Resorbable Materials. He received DSc from the Polish Academy of Science in 2014 and SOAR Fellowship in 2016.

Wojciech actively collaborates with industry partners including PerkinElmer, MedLab, ROKIT, HIFU and Nano Medical Technology on developing innovative medical technologies and drug delivery systems.

His research centres around nanomedicine, extracellular vesicles nanosafety, and nano-bio-characterisation. He has developed physiology mimicking tissue models for toxicity and safety studies and pioneered a single extracellular vesicle characterization for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Wojciech has published his research outcomes in over 150 original research papers and co-authored four patents. His work has made a substantial contribution to the understanding of interactions between nanomaterials and living cells.

Manjula Sharma

Professor Manjula Sharma

Outreach, Training and Education

Professor Manjula Sharma completed her undergraduate studies at the University of the South Pacific and PhD at The University of Sydney. Her interest in education led her to complete an MEd in Research Methods.

She has just completed a $4 million project engaging with nearly 3,000 science teachers and 2,200 students from across the country. Her extensive education and outreach activities have been recognised by awards such as the 2012 AIP Education Medal, 2013 Australian Government National Teaching Fellowship, and she is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.

Manjula heads the SUPER Physics Education Research group and has supervised students such as the creator of the YouTube channel, Veritasium. She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and is driving science education research, including multimedia and active learning.The findings from her work are being translated into practice and informing decisions.

James Rabeau

Professor James Rabeau

Industry, Innovation, Commercialisation and Enabling Capabilities

James is currently Professor in Physics at the University of Sydney. He is uniquely qualified and experienced at the interface of research and industry, including university research and teaching, founding and running a startup, program management, data analytics consulting and university strategy and planning.

James studied in Canada and the United Kingdom, and held prestigious fellowships at the University of Melbourne and Macquarie University in Australia. From 2007 to 2012, he was Associate Professor in Physics at Macquarie University. While at Macquarie, James was the recipient of an ARC Future Fellowship and successfully led international research programs and published nearly 50 highly cited research articles in diamond quantum nanoscience, two books and a patent.

Most recently, James was the Program Manager in Sydney for Microsoft Quantum, a global initiative to build a quantum computer, and was co-founder/CEO of the startup company LuciGem specialising in nanodiamond-based imaging.

Omid Kavehei

Dr Omid Kavehei

Member Engagement

Dr Kavehei is a Senior Lecturer and a SOAR Fellow. He was with the University of Melbourne between 2011 and 2014, where he worked on the Australian Bionic Eye project. He received his PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2012 with the Postgraduate University Alumni Medal. He was an Executive member of IEEE South Australia branch. In 2014, he was a Visiting Project Scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a recipient of a 2018 Endeavour Research Fellowship and a 2011 South Australian Young Nanotechnology Ambassador award.

His research interests include electroceuticals for treatment of pharmacoresistant epilepsy, and novel computational, neuromorphic and security paradigms based on nanotechnology.

Omid has published over 70 reviewed papers and conference proceedings. He is an IEEE Senior Member and a member of IEEE’s Nanoelectronics and Gigascale Systems Technical Committee.