From time to time, School of Chemistry staff and students will make the news! Below are excerpts from, and links to, recent news stories and articles about the School of Chemistry from print and electronic media.

AINSE Student Scholarship

Friday, 13 March 2015 - 4:00pm

Congratulations to MSc student Marcus Giansiracusa from the Soncini & Boskovic Groups on the award of a 2015 AINSE Honours Scholarship. This scholarship will support his investigation into the single-molecule magnet properties of lanthanoid-polyoxometalates using inelastic neutron scattering.

Spencer Williams awarded David Syme Research Prize

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 - 10:00pm

Associate Professor Spencer Williams has been awarded the annual David Syme Research Prize for his ground-breaking research to develop a new drug for the treatment of kidney disease. The prize, which has been awarded annually since 1906, is for the best original research in biology, physics, chemistry or geology, produced in Australia during the preceding two years by a mid-career researcher. See article in MUSSE

RACI accreditation of BSc Chemistry program

Tuesday, 10 March 2015 - 12:15am

The Board of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Inc. has endorsed the recommendation of the RACI Accreditation Committee report evaluating our BSc Chemistry program. The RACI accredits that the skills and knowledge of a graduate of a bachelor degree majoring in Chemistry from the University of Melbourne are articulated in the Chemistry Academic Standards statement. Chemistry at Melbourne is the first degree accredited by the RACI using the new outcome based standards. Assoc Prof Kay Latham, president of RACI Victoria, presented the certificate at the first School of Chemistry meeting of 2015. Read Kay's speech.

Collaboration really works: Spencer Williams profiled

Monday, 2 March 2015 - 7:15pm

Organic chemist, Assoc Prof Spencer Williams from the School of Chemistry and Bio21, explains how collaboration has been the backbone of a career in science. See

Puzey scholarship to chemistry PhD student

Monday, 2 March 2015 - 7:15pm

Congratulations to Gemma Gransbury, new PhD student in the Boskovic Group, who was recently awarded the Elizabeth and Vernon Puzey Scholarship. The scholarship was established by a donation from Elizabeth Bernaldo Puzey in 1992 to encourage well-qualified Australian citizens to undertake research in medicine, science and engineering in Australia. Gemma joined the School after completing her BSc(Hons) degree at the University of Adelaide.

Grimwade Prize in Industrial Chemistry

Saturday, 28 February 2015 - 11:00am

The Faculty of Science 2014 Grimwade Prize in Industrial Chemistry has been awarded to Assoc Prof Paul Donnelly for his research on "Medicinal Chemistry: New Agents for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer". The Grimwade Prize was established in 1905 by the Honourable Frederick Sheppard Grimwade, a drug wholesaler and part-owner of Felton, Grimwade & Co. The company later became Felton, Grimwade and Bickfords Pty Ltd, the largest drug wholesaler in Victoria. See list of prizewinners.

Front-cover article in J Comp Chem

Saturday, 28 February 2015 - 10:15am

Dr Lars Goerigk, in collaboration with Dr Amir Karton of UWA, has shown by using highly accurate thermochemical protocols (called Wn-F12) that a widely used and popular quantum chemical approach – the CBS-QB3 composite method – produces unusually large deviations for pericyclic reaction barrier heights. This unexpected finding has a significant impact on studies carried out for the assessment of density-functional-theory methods and on their application to better understand experimental results. The examples discussed in this article are a reminder to be cautious in the application of CBS-type composite methods in similar situations Journal of Computational Chemistry 2015, 36, 622-632.

Energy from the sun, printed on plastic

Saturday, 28 February 2015 - 10:00am

See recent article about Dr David Jones and his team from the School of Chemistry at Bio 21 on improved performance of organic solar cells in Voice,

Chemistry student at Global Young Scientists Summit 2015

Thursday, 12 February 2015 - 10:30am

Nick Kirkwood, PhD Chemistry student in the Mulvaney laboratory, Bio21, attended the Global Young Scientists Summit 2015, Singapore, in January. “It was a very inspiring experience indeed - a unique opportunity to learn from highly distinguished invited Nobel Laureates and other speakers and engage with a very enthusiastic and innovative group of early career researchers from a very broad range of scientific disciplines,” he said. Organised by the National Research Foundation of Singapore, the event brought together 239 young researchers scientists from all over the world. The multidisciplinary summit – covering a range of topics from physiology, medicine, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science & engineering – featured 20 eminent speakers, including 12 Nobel Laureates. Learn more at MUSSE.

Improved solar panels & printed electronics

Thursday, 15 January 2015 - 6:30pm
New and improved solar panels could result from the discovery of a new liquid crystal material, making printable organic solar cells better performing. Work published in Nature Communications could lead to vastly improved organic solar cell performance. Lead author, David Jones of the School of Chemistry, said these cells will be easier to manufacture, with the new crystals now able to work in cells that are double in thickness on the previous limit of 200 nm. 
"It had been theorized that a certain group of nematic liquid crystals would provide excellent electronic properties – as well as being printable – and, therefore, have been sought for a long time,” said Dr Jones. “With this research, we have shown for the first time these high performing materials.”
The research was conducted with international researchers in Singapore, China and Germany, and received funding from the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium, and the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.

Beer and bread yeast-eating bacteria aid human health

Thursday, 8 January 2015 - 6:00pm

Bacteria that have evolved to eat their way through yeast in the human gut could inform the development of new treatments for bowel diseases. Publishing their findings in Nature, 517:165 (8 Jan 2015), the international research team* say discovery of this process could accelerate development of prebiotic medicines to help people suffering from bowel problems and autoimmune diseases. Scientists from UK, Australia, Canada, USA & Belgium have unraveled how Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, a dominant member of the human microbiome, has learned to feast upon difficult to break down complex carbohydrates called yeast mannans.

"Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron is an important part of our microbiota, the community of bacteria that live within us. By consuming carbohydrates that we can’t, which they convert to short-chain fatty acids that they secrete into our distal gut, these bacteria establish a symbiosis that nourishes the cells that line our gut wall and provide important immune signals that establish a healthy immune response.” says Assoc. Prof. Spencer Williams, School of Chemistry, who contributed to the work.
*The research team are from: Institute for Cell & Molecular Biosciences at Newcastle University, Complex Carbohydrate Research Centre at the University of Georgia, the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Chemistry at University of York, School of Chemistry & Bio21 Institute at University of Melbourne, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at University of Kansas School of Pharmacy, Oxyrane, Ghent, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Biochemistry & Microbiology, University of Victoria, Canada and USDA, Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Iowa.