Below are excerpts from and links to news stories and articles about the School of Chemistry from print and electronic media over the past year.

RACI 2017 Congress in Melbourne

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 - 10:30am

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of RACI. This is our chance to excel! For more information and to get involved, go to


Workshop on Chemistry & Light at Nossal High School

Friday, 10 June 2016 - 2:00pm

Drs Chris Ritchie and Lars Goerigk from the School of Chemistry in collaboration with Chemistry alumnus Dr Kerwyn Alley have successfully conducted a workshop entitled  "Chemistry in action through light" with selected year-11 students at Nossal High School in Berwick. The workshop allowed students to get a glimpse of real-life chemical research by investigating how light can induce changes in molecular structures and in their colours. The workshop introduced the students to both experimental and computational chemistry techniques, the latter being a completely unexplored territory for high-school students. This workshop has been funded by the Dean of Science's Engagement Seed Funding and shows our ongoing commitment to engaging with local schools to bring our research closer to the chemists of the future. More on this workshop, including the students' overwhelmingly positive feedback, can be found on pages 10-11 in Nossal High School's newsletter.

Smart sampling of heavy metals in aquatic systems

Wednesday, 1 June 2016 - 3:15pm

Congratulations to Professor Spas Kolev for his successful 3-year ARC Linkage project application entitled, “Smart passive sampling of heavy metals in aquatic systems” which involves Melbourne Water Corporation as an industry partner.

Physical Review Letters paper by Alessandro Soncini

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 - 11:00am

Congratulations to Alessandro Soncini and Simone Calvello for the publication of their paper in PRL on the topic "Room Temperature Chiral Discrimination in Paramagnetic NMR Spectroscopy"; see Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 163001 (2016), DOI:

Despite its central role in biological processes and in a wide range of chemical reactions, chirality, the property of  molecules lacking improper symmetry elements to be distinguishable from their mirror image (or enantiomer), remains a challenge to detect and quantify. A theory is presented predicting that in an NMR experiment, normally blind to chirality, the two mirror images of a chiral paramagnetic molecule are subject to opposite electric forces (green arrows in the picture) triggering distinguishable rotational motions for the two enantiomers in solution. If the molecules have strong magnetic anisotropy (anisotropy axes represented as red rods in the picture), they will be partially oriented along the NMR magnetic field (blue arrows in the picture), which makes the predicted chiral electric forces large enough to be detected at room temperature, offering a way to achieve direct chiral discrimination via NMR spectroscopy.

Room temperature NMR can tell left from right, when it comes to strongly anisotropic paramagnets. Image created by Matteo Piccardo.

Research on Solar Concentrators highlighted by SPIE

Tuesday, 12 April 2016 - 11:45am

Research from James Banal, Ken Ghiggino and Wallace Wong on the development of new luminescent materials for solar concentration have been highlighted in the SPIE Newsroom. Read it at

Photograph of the emission of different AIE materials in poly(methylmethacrylate)

Bright future for Chemistry and our economy

Friday, 19 February 2016 - 6:00pm

Prof Paul Mulvaney, ARC Laureate Professor in Chemistry, has written an article for The Conversation about the importance of Chemistry as a Science discipline. He gives a brief picture of the state and status of the discipline in Australia today and outlines the rich opportunities available to make it stronger in the domains of research, social good, and economics. Read it at The Conversation

Chemistry Building features in film of Dostoevsky’s classic

Thursday, 18 February 2016 - 10:45am

A talented group of current and past staff, students and alumni at the VCA and MCM have brought Dostoevsky’s classic novel, Crime and Punishment, to life in a bold new feature film. Led by director and film lecturer Andrew O’Keefe, the cast and crew have transformed the classic tale of murder and guilt, giving it a modern context.

The film was shot over the summer in 2013, across both the Parkville and the VCA campuses. The Chemistry Building features as a police station, while the VCA studio hosted the film’s purpose-built set. O’Keefe is grateful for the support of the university community during filming, saying that it “opened so many doors.”

Crime and Punishment will have a staggered release in mid-2016. For up-to-date information about screenings, and to read more about the film, visit or follow it on Twitter or Facebook at CrimeandPunishmentFilm, and on Vimeo.

Sweet discovery in leafy greens holds key to gut health

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 - 9:45am

A critical discovery about how bacteria feed on an unusual sugar molecule found in leafy green vegetables could hold the key to explaining how ‘good’ bacteria protect our gut and promote health. The finding suggests that leafy greens are essential for feeding good gut bacteria, limiting the ability of bad bacteria to colonise the gut by shutting them out of prime gut ‘real estate’. The research, published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, was led by Prof Spencer Williams from the School of Chemistry, Dr Ethan Goddard-Borger from the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute, and Prof Gideon Davies from the University of York, UK. 

To read more click on

Ideas Boom campaign features School of Chemistry

Sunday, 7 February 2016 - 3:15pm

The School of Chemistry appears in the Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda: Welcome to the Ideas Boom campaign, which aired nationally on Sunday 7th February. Dr Tash Polyzos appears at 26 seconds and the Masson Theatre at 36 seconds.

The ever-changing periodic table

Wednesday, 3 February 2016 - 3:45pm

On RRR's Summer Hullabaloo program, Sarah Savage talks to Mick Moylan from the School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne, after the recent addition of four elements to the periodic table. Since the newcomers still have temporary names, Mick Moylan explains how a name can get approved. Listen back as he delves into why we make periodic elements, some international controversies and a brief history of the periodic. Listen here


Chemical Reviews Editorial Board

Friday, 29 January 2016 - 3:30pm

Congratulations to Professor Frances Separovic, who recently joined the editorial board of the prestigious ACS journal, Chemical Reviews. See

CASS grant to Gavin Reid

Friday, 22 January 2016 - 3:30pm

Prof Gavin Reid has been awarded funding from the CASS Foundation for a pilot project entitled, “Adding value to genomic medicine: Proof of concept that mass spectrometry-based assays can measure targeted protein markers to guide treatment decisions for cancer patients”.

Evan Bieske, new Head of School

Thursday, 24 December 2015 - 12:00pm

The School of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Professor Evan Bieske will take on the role of Head of School in 2016.

We are grateful to Professor Frances Separovic for her service as Head of the School of Chemistry for the past six years.

Frances has seen the School through both physical and organisational transformations during a very productive tenure as Head. We wish her an enjoyable sabbatical and lots of time to devote to her new NMR spectrometer.

Frances's gift was made by Les Gamel, glassblower.

Chemistry year end celebration

Saturday, 19 December 2015 - 7:30pm

      Staff and research students from the School celebrated the end of the year at the Moonee Ponds Bowling Club.

New Editors-in-Chief for Aust J Chem

Friday, 18 December 2015 - 10:30pm

Prof John D Wade and Prof George Koutsantonis are the new co-Editors-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Chemistry. John Wade is honorary Professor of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, as well as a Professor of Neuroscience at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, where he leads the Neuropeptides Group in drug design and development. He is also Chief Editor of Frontiers in Chemical Biology, a journal which has grown substantially since his appointment to the role. George Koutsantonis is a Professor at the School of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Western Australia, where he works in the area of inorganic and organometallic chemistry.

Science Research Grants awarded to Chemistry

Friday, 18 December 2015 - 10:15pm

Congratulations to Dr Lars Goerigk, Prof Spas Kolev, Prof Spencer Williams and Assoc Prof Uta Wille who were successful in the Research Grant Support Scheme (RGSS) this year. Their grants will fund the following projects in 2016:
Lars Goerigk, “Reliable prediction of molecular electronic excitation energies”;
Spas Kolev, “Novel polymer inclusion membranes for the separation of rare earth metals”;
Spencer Williams, “Transglycosylases as an antifungal drug target”; and
Uta Wille, “Decoding the mechanism of environmental polymer degradation”.

RACI R&D Topics Conference held in Chemistry

Friday, 11 December 2015 - 10:30pm

Recently (6-9 December), the following students from the Kolev Group organized the 23rd annual RACI Research & Development Topics Conference in Analytical & Environmental Chemistry: Eddie Nagul, Lenka O’Connor Sraj, Chelsea Bassett, Manda Ershad, Charles Croft and Colin Specht. The conference was held in the School of Chemistry and was attend by ~150 research students and some supervisors from around Australia as well as representatives from different analytical instrument companies. Eddie Nagul received second prize for his oral presentation.

Learning & Teaching Initiatives Grant for Chemistry

Friday, 11 December 2015 - 10:15pm

Congratulations to Assoc Prof Uta Wille, Prof Jonathan White & Dr Colette Boskovic who were successful in the recent Learning & Teaching Initiatives Grant round. They were awarded funding for their project, "Demonstrator Resource Modules for Improving the Quality of Laboratory Demonstrating in the Second Year Chemistry Program (DRM-2Y)".

ERA: 5 for Chemical Sciences at Melbourne

Friday, 4 December 2015 - 5:30pm

ERA 2015 results are out and Chemical Sciences at Melbourne is a 5. See ARC website at These results attest to the excellence of our research across the discipline of Chemistry.

Chemistry World interviews Mulvaney & Separovic

Wednesday, 2 December 2015 - 6:15pm

Professor Paul Mulvaney and Professor Frances Separovic were asked recently by Chemistry World to comment on the new Prime Minister and funding for science. Here is the link to the published article.