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.

Georgina Such – new Senior Lecturer

Friday, 26 June 2015 - 1:30pm

The School of Chemistry is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Georgina Such as a Senior Lecturer (Level C). Georgina joined the School in 2013 as an ARC Future Fellow and has established a research group in Advanced Polymer Assemblies of Medicine, Energy and Catalysis. Her appointment strengthens our research in the area of materials chemistry. Find out more about Georgina’s research at

Dean's Awards for Excellence to Chemistry Staff

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 - 10:15pm

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (Teaching & Research) to Dr Alessandro Soncini for fundamental research in the field of single molecule magnets.
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (Research Only) to Dr Wallace Wong for contributions to the field of organic electronic materials.
Dean’s Award for Excellence in EH&S to Sioe See Volaric for outstanding contribution to the management of environment, health and safety issues in the Faculty.

M Ashokkumar appointed editor of Ultrason. Sonochem.

Thursday, 18 June 2015 - 10:45pm

Professor M. Ashokkumar has been appointed as an Editor (Asia) of Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, a leading international journal dedicated to research publications in the areas of ultrasonics and sonochemistry, see

Equity Innovation Grant to Mick Moylan

Friday, 12 June 2015 - 9:15pm

Mick Moylan has been awarded a 2015 Equity Innovation Grant entitled "What's in Water" to engage with students in priority schools in rural and remote areas.

Bob Cattrall - Member of the Order of Australia

Monday, 8 June 2015 - 11:45am

The School of Chemistry is delighted to hear of the award of Member (AM) in the General Division to Emeritus Professor Robert Walter Cattrall for significant service to science, particularly analytical chemistry, as an academic, educator, researcher and author, and to cricket. Congratulations Bob and thank you for your service to chemistry.

Perovskites - the next big jump in solar cell efficiency

Wednesday, 3 June 2015 - 5:45pm

Perovskites are a class of materials with a specific crystal structure, named after the mineral that was the first substance found to have this structure, and are superb semiconductors like silicon. One perovskite, methylammonium lead iodide, shows great promise. In the lab, solar cells with this perovskite can produce electricity with 20% efficiency, a rate close to silicon. The perovskite cell is produced by pouring a solution thinly over a backing, or by letting a vapour condense on the backing. Methylammonium lead iodide absorbs light in wavelengths not absorbed by silicon, so in tandem provides a substantial boost to efficiency. Professor Andrew Holmes describes the challenges and promise of perovskite solar cells on Radio National.

Science can build a better Australia

Friday, 29 May 2015 - 2:00pm

Professor Andrew Holmes (Chemistry), President of the Australian Academy of Science, delivered an address to Science at the Shine Dome 2015 about how scientists are increasingly being taken seriously by the public and in the halls of power. It was published in The Conversation.

Outreach Student Experience

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 - 2:00pm

Dr Sean Murphy, from the Mulvaney Research Group, visited Year 11 Chemistry Class, at Hoppers Crossing Secondary College recently. The students in the photo are holding vials of magnetic nanoparticles and others are holding bucky balls.

Photo credit: Science Teacher, Renae Crossi

Learning & Teaching Grant: A tutor in my pocket

Friday, 22 May 2015 - 4:30pm

Congratulations to Mick Moylan and Sonia Horvat who were awarded a Learning and Teaching Initiatives Grant from the University to develop “A tutor in my pocket”: an electronic teaching and learning resource to support small group tutorial sessions and formative assessment within our first year subjects. Featuring short movie clips, diagnostic quizzes and personalised feedback to both student and staff, this is sure to become an important resource that will enhance the Chemistry first-year experience.

Bachelor degree enrolments increase

Thursday, 21 May 2015 - 1:45pm

Enrolments for Australian Bachelor Degrees: Is the Present Growth Strategy Sustainable? Prof. Frank Larkins, School of Chemistry, has published an analysis that looks at how universities responded to the Bradley Review recommendation on boosting participation and outcomes. His analysis spawned the article 'Demand-driven enrolment system near saturation', The Australian, 20 May 2015.

NH Schuster Scholarship awards

Friday, 15 May 2015 - 5:00pm

Congratulations to PhD students, Nitin Patil and Wenyi Li, from the Separovic lab who each have been awarded a Norma Hilda Schuster Scholarship for 2015 to support research in biochemistry

Uncovering the secrets of fungal cell wall metabolism

Monday, 4 May 2015 - 6:00pm

Certain bacteria have the capacity to utilize the fungal cell wall as a source of energy and have evolved highly specialized enzymes that can attack the complex fungal cell wall carbohydrates. In collaboration with groups from the UK and Spain, the Williams group have completed a comprehensive structural study of a poorly understood endomannanase from Bacillus circulans, which is central for its capability to regard fungal cell walls. Using inhibitors and substrate analogues synthesised by PhD students from the Williams lab, Zalihe Hakki, Tyson Belz and Gaetano Speciale, X-ray structures of these ligands bound to the enzyme were determined and used to define the structural changes that occur along the endomannosidase reaction coordinate and the conformation of the enzymatic transition state. Their publication (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.) follows hot on the heels of their paper published earlier this year in Nature, which established the importance of these endomannanases produced by our gut microbiota in the digestion of the cell wall of fungi and yeast consumed in our diet.

Healy Travel Awards to PhD students

Monday, 4 May 2015 - 12:45pm

Congratulations to PhD students, Kyra Schwarz, Sarah Jaber and Luke Gamon, who are the recipients of Tom Healy Awards to enable them to travel to international conferences. They will be going to meetings in Korea, Germany and USA in 2015.

KM Brutton Bequest 2015 award to Yuning Hong

Wednesday, 15 April 2015 - 6:30pm

Congratulations to Dr Yuning Hong who has been awarded funding from the Kaye Merlin Brutton Bequest to study 'Targetting mitochondria in cancer cells'.

ME Reum Prize to Jenny Chambers

Monday, 13 April 2015 - 8:30pm

The Monica Elizabeth Reum Memorial Prize was awarded to Dr Jenny Chambers, who completed her PhD with the Rizzacasa group in 2014. The Prize is awarded to the person who submits for assessment an outstanding PhD thesis in an area of Organic Chemistry. Jenny received an NHMRC fellowship and is now working at Columbia University, USA.

Prof. Mark Rizzacasa, Dr Jenny Chambers and Prof. Frances Separovic

Report on Science meets Parliament 2015

Monday, 13 April 2015 - 8:15pm

William McMaster attended Science meets Parliament (SmP), Canberra, 24th and 25th March 2015, as a representative of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. The other RACI delegate was Dr Christopher Burns from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, who is an honorary Principal Fellow in the School. SmP was organised by Science & Technology Australia. Activities included meeting and presenting science to politicians; science policymaking; the role of the media in science news, policy and politics; a question and answer session with Opposition Senator the Hon. Kim Carr (responsible for higher education and science); a panel discussion on science and politics; and drinks with the Parliamentary Friends of Science. William met Mr Andrew Giles MP (Federal Member for Scullin, VIC), and even managed to get a brief word with the Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry and Science, at the gala dinner in the Great Hall of Parliament House! SmP delegates were also present at the report launch and National Press Club speech on the economic impact of science by Prof. Ian Chubb AC, Chief Scientist for Australia.

PhD students profiled in Chemistry in Australia

Sunday, 12 April 2015 - 9:30pm

In late 2013, profiles of Caroline Kyi and Michael Leeming were published in Chemistry in Australia. In April 2015, an update on their progress was published. Read article: Postgrad check-up

Dyason Fellowship to Frances Separovic

Sunday, 12 April 2015 - 12:00pm

Professor Frances Separovic has been awarded a University of Melbourne Dyason fellowship for NMR structural studies of the antimicrobial peptide maculatin 1.1 together with colleagues at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.

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