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ARC Training Centre for the Chemical Industries People page

The ARC Training Centre for the Chemical Industries makes world-class chemistry researchers with diverse capabilities available to solve industry problems.


Our People

The ARC Training Centre - Chemical Industries provides an innovative framework for graduate training through sustainable industry engagement with world-leading academic researchers

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Director - Dr ANASTASIOS (Tash) polyzos, the university of melbourne

Dr Polyzos is an expert in synthetic organic chemistry and flow chemistry.

Dr Polyzos has the background and capacity to establish enduring links with industry, both nationally and internationally. He has successfully led complex industry projects and has directed a strong research program in fundamental organic chemistry. Dr Polyzos has experience in the supervision of large teams of professional scientists and post-doctoral fellows. He has developed a strong reputation for entrepreneurship and leadership in his industry collaborations, and has a growing academic reputation for research.

Dr Polyzos holds a joint appointment with the University of Melbourne and CSIRO Manufacturing.

His cross-sector experience and management skills mean that he is well-placed to serve Centre Director and ensure implementation of the Centre’s strategy.

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deputy director - Professor Martina Stenzel, University of New South Wales

Prof. Stenzel’s area of expertise is synthesis of well-defined bioactive polymers with controlled architectures.

Since commencing her academic career in 2002 as lecturer at UNSW, Prof. Stenzel has published more than 260 papers, many of them highly cited (h-index 64) and has supervised 21 PhD students to completion.

Prof. Stenzel brings considerable experience in managing large, multi-disciplinary research groups to the Centre Deputy Director role. She has served as co-Director of the Centre of Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), leading 50 researchers.

As the Centre’s Deputy Director, she is strongly aware of the critical role she will play as a facilitator to bridge research fields and promote connections between Industries and Universities. She will contribute to the research program, and management of the Centre’s outreach and education programs.


Prof Spencer Williams, The university of melbourne

Spencer Williams obtained his BSc and PhD (under the supervision of Professor Bob Stick) at the University of Western Australia (UWA). Following receipt of his PhD in 1998, he was an Izaac Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Stephen G Withers at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he worked on glycosidase inhibitors. In 2000 he moved to the USA where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation in the laboratory of Professor Carolyn Bertozzi, based at the University of California, Berkeley. 

He joined the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne in 2002. His current interests include the application of chemical synthesis, and in particular carbohydrate chemistry, to biological problems, and the development of new therapeutic agents for treatment of cardiovascular disease, pain and fibrosis in the treatment of diabetes. He is a co-author of a textbook, Carbohydrates: The essential molecules of life (by RV Stick and SJ Williams, 2009, Elsevier), and a co-founder of the company Fibrotech Therapeutics.


Dr georgina such, The university of melbourne

Dr Georgina Such is a senior lecturer in the School of Chemistry at The University of Melbourne. She runs a research team looking into synthesis and application of functional materials. Research Interests - Nanotechnology - Polymers and Self-Assembly - Biomedical Engineering    


A/prof craig hutton, The university of melbourne

Craig Hutton obtained his BSc(Hons) and PhD degrees from the University of Adelaide before appointments at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney. He returned to Melbourne in 2003 where he is now Associate Professor. His research interests include the synthesis of biologically active cyclic peptide natural products, the use of organoboron reagents in synthesis and the study of beta-amyloid peptides in the progression of Alzheimer's disease. 


Prof Pall Thordarson, university of new south wales

Prof Thordarson's research is the area of bio-mimetic chemistry with focus on nanomedicine, supramolecular and biophysical chemistry. To this end we apply a combination of synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry, bioconjugate chemistry (chemical modification of biological molecules), cellular biology (for activity assays) and supramolecular chemistry to make our target systems and we use various spectroscopic techniques such as UV, fluorescence and NMR as well as microscopy techniques such as AFM, STM and TEM, to analyse these systems.


prof dean lusher, swinburne university of technology

Dean Lusher is a Professor of Innovation Studies at Swinburne’s Centre for Transformative Innovation. He is a social network analyst with expertise in the theory and application of exponential random graph models (ERGM), a particular class of statistical model for social networks. Dean applies networks to social and technological innovation, organisational culture and system resilience. Dean is the Leader of the Networked Innovation Group in the Centre for Transformative Innovation, and also the Associate Director of the same centre. He is also a Board Member of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) and an editorial board member for the journal 'Social Networks'.


Prof Mark Rizzacasa, the university of melbourne

Prof Rizzacasa’s overarching goal is the total synthesis of complex natural products. These natural products may originate from a variety of sources or exhibit a variety of biological activity, however what draws them to us is their structural complexity, and the greater the complexity, the better! Through our endeavours we hope to develop original synthetic routes, confirm biosynthetic origin and synthesise meaningful quantities to enable rigorous biological studies. 


Prof Greg Qiao, the university of melbourne

Greg Qiao is Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry and Engineering and Assistant Dean (Research) in the Melbourne School of Engineering. He is also a Deputy Head of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

His current Research Activities include:

  • Environmental Engineering - Greenhouse Gas Recovery

  • Nano and Biomolecular Engineering - Nanostructured Materials, Tissue Engineering

  • Materials and Minerals Engineering - Polymer Science

The research interests of Greg Qiao are in the area of synthetic polymer science and engineering. His research applies various polymerization techniques, including controlled free radical polymerizations, to synthesize novel polymeric architectures, biodegradable and functional polymers. His industrial research is in the synthesis of the nanogels for automotive coatings and the novel hydrogels for biological separations. The research in biopolymers is focused on applications in tissue engineering. 

Greg leads an internationally recognized Polymer Science Group in the Department and is currently the president of the Victorian Polymer Group under Royal Australia Chemical Institute. He is also a project leader of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) and CRC for Polymers. 


Prof Frank Caruso, the university of melbourne

Frank Caruso is a Melbourne Laureate Professor and an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne, Australia. He is also Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence on Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology. He received his PhD degree in 1994 from The University of Melbourne, and then undertook postdoctoral work at the CSIRO Division of Chemicals and Polymers in Melbourne from 1994-1996. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow and group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces from 1997 until 2002.

His research interests focus on developing advanced nano- and biomaterials for biotechnology and medicine.  He is an Executive Editor of Chemistry of Materials and is on the Editorial Advisory Boards of eleven other journals. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2009 and of the Royal Society of London in 2018.


Prof Uta Wille, the university of melbourne

The Wille group's research aims to extend general and fundamental knowledge of the role of atmospheric pollutants on the free-radical induced oxidative stress.  This may lead to the development of novel drugs with the ability to step into and hold up these processes. Radical induced oxidative damage is also responsible for the degradation of manufactured polymers, such as plastics. We are interested to explore the fundamental steps of polymer degradation, which has not been fully understood at all – despite the heavy reliance of our society on polymer materials.

Our research activities focus on the areas of free radicals in organic synthesis and bio-organic and material chemistry; the development of new synthetic methodology and studies of reaction mechanisms; computational chemistry for mechanistic studies and the design of new reactions; and investigation of the adverse effects of atmospheric free-radical oxidants on biological and manufactured materials using product and kinetic studies


Prof Paul Mulvaney, the university of melbourne

Paul Mulvaney is Professor of Chemistry in the School of Chemistry and Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne. He received his PhD degree at the University of Melbourne in 1989, working on surface electron transfer reactions with Professor Franz Grieser. He has worked as a research associate at the ANU Applied Maths Department (1988-89) and the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago in 1986-87, 88. He was appointed as a research scientist at the Hahn-Meitner-Institute for Nuclear Research in Berlin from 1989-1992 with Professor Arnim Henglein, where he studied pulse radiolysis and the nucleation of nanocrystals. In 1993 he returned to the University of Melbourne as an ARC QEII Research Fellow, and he accepted a Faculty position in 1997. In 1999, he spent time in Palo Alto with Quantum Dot Corporation. He was a Humboldt Research Fellow in 2000 at the Max-Planck Insitute for Colloids and Surfaces in Golm with Professor Markus Antonietti, and again in 2005 at the CAESAR Nanotechnology Institute in Bonn with Professor Michael Giersig. Between 2006 and 2010 he was an ARC Federation Fellow and from 2011 to 2015, he was an ARC Laureate Fellow. In 2009, Mulvaney was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and in 2014 a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK. He currently chairs the National Committee for Chemistry.

His current interests include the optical properties of single quantum dots, surface plasmon spectroscopy of single metal particles, nanocrystal based electronics, nanomechanics and solar energy conversion. To date he has published some 250 scientific papers averaging around 100 citations per publication. The Nanoscience Laboratory at the University of Melbourne focuses on the chemistry and physics of nanoscale materials, particularly optical properties. The Laboratory has 4 postdoctoral researchers and 12 PhD students and group members come from numerous countries including Brazil, Venezuela, Germany, US, Singapore and Canada. Current funding comes from the Australian Research Council (ARC), DEST, Humboldt Foundation in Germany, ICI (UK) and the Ludwig Cancer Institute. The NSL collaborates with a number of Australian and international centres including the Technical University and the Frei University (Berlin), CSIRO, CSIC Madrid (Spain), Notre Dame (US), Padua (Italy), University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado and Bayreuth University, Germany

Professor Mulvaney currently serves as an Associate Editor for the journal ACS Nano and is a member of the editorial advisory boards of Advanced Functional Materials, NanoToday, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Langmuir and PCCP. From 2009-2011, he was Chair of the RACI Colloid and Surface Chemistry Division. In 2016, he became Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science.


Prof Jonathan White, the university of melbourne

The research interests of the White group focus on:

  • Physical organic chemistry: Applications of the Structure Correlation principle, where the early stages of organic reactions can be mapped out in the solid state. Isolation and structural characterisation of reactive intermediates.

  • Radiopharmaceuticals: Organic molecules labeled with radioactive nuclei for PET imaging of hypoxic tissue, and in combination with antitumour antibodies in radioimmunotherapy.

  • Conductive polymers : Synthesis and characterisations of novel conductive polymers for biosensing agents, LED/LECs


Prof Paul Donnelly, the university of melbourne

The Donnelly Group focuses on the application of synthetic inorganic/organic chemistry to biology and materials science. In particular, we are interested in the application of coordination complexes as diagnostic or therapeutic agents. Our multidisciplinary research involves inorganic and organic synthesis followed by characterization utilizing a wide range of analytical techniques including: multinuclear NMR, electronic, and EPR spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, HPLC, electrochemical techniques and X-ray crystallography. Exploratory synthetic coordination chemistry and the design and isolation of new metal complexes underpins all of our research. Some projects aim to design new metal-based radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging and therapy of cancer. We also have programs aimed at developing new molecular agents for the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Disease. Other research in the group focuses on developing methods for bioconjugation of metal complexes to peptide, proteins and antibodies. We also have an interest in the use of metal complexes in organic synthesis. 


DR Francesca Cavalieri, the university of melbourne

Dr. Francesca Cavalieri is a Future Fellow in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, at The University of Melbourne. She received a Laurea degree ‘maxima cum laude,’ in Industrial Chemistry in 1995 from the University of Rome La Sapienza. She completed her PhD in the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne in 2014. From 1998 to 2002, Dr Cavalieri was employed as a scientist at ENEA (Italian Agency for New Technologies, Environment and Energy), Italy. She has been a tenured Assistant Professor and lecturer in Polymer Science in the Department of Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, at the University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’ Italy since 2002. She has received a number of international research fellowships including Victorian Research Fellowship, ARC Linkage Fellowship, and the Australian Endeavour Fellowship.   


A/Prof John Stride, university of New south wales

My research interests primarily centre on the fundamental nature of molecular and molecule-based materials. Of particular interest are materials displaying novel magnetic interactions, nano-materials and the interactions between molecules in the solid state.

These ideas can be summarised as:

  • The study of novel molecular and molecule-based magnetic materials demonstrates a wealth of phenomena, ranging from low dimensionality (1D chains and 2D sheets), through to those systems which show no tendency to coalesce into a long range magnetic as a result of frustration - so-called spin liquids and spin ice.

Isolated clusters of several magnetic ions have been found to behave as nano-magnets, characterised as having a single, large magnetic moment per cluster. When these isolated moments have an inherent spin-relaxation anisotropy, they can behave as an ensemble of isolated, identical magnetic particles.

Research into such materials has potential applications in high density magnetic storage media, magnetic films and sensing devices.

  • The manner in which individual molecules align and condense in the crystalline state is a result of the intermolecular forces that act upon molecules. Long range ordering occurs as a direct result of the translational self-similarity in these forces. Due to the non-spherical nature of most molecules, the final crystalline structure is therefore a balance between the Gibbs free energies of competing potential stacking arrangements.

Supramolecular chemistry is a general term used to cover those studies that attempt to perturb these competing effects to induce one particular ordering motif (or geometry) over another. We aim to study these often very complex interactions first in simple model systems, before building in complexity and moving toward systems displaying apparent emergent behaviour.

Another area in which intermolecular interactions are dominant is nano-science which aims to deliver materials intimately structured on the nano-scale - thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair.  We synthesise and study materials as diverse as single sheets only one atom thick - e.g. graphene - and highly fluorescent nanoparticles such as quantum dots.  These materials sit at the interface between the chemistry of individual molecules and the collective physical properties of bulk materials; thechnologically they represent the ultimate in miniturisation.

  • Research in the Stride Group makes heavy use of neutron scattering techniques and I retain an interest is the development of new neutron instrumentation and methods. These are exciting times for the international neutron scattering community, with new facilities coming online over the next few years. This effort is not lost on Australia; the new national neutron facility at the Bragg Institute, provides doorstep access to world class instrumentation for Australian researchers in fields as diverse as physics, chemistry and materials science, through to the geo-sciences and biology.


Dr Thanh Vinh Nguyen, university of New south wales

Dr. Vinh Nguyen (also known as: Thanh Vinh Nguyen or Thanh V. Nguyen on academic publication) was born in Vietnam. After high school, he went to Sydney, Australia to study industrial chemistry at University of New South Wales. He then moved to undertake his PhD in organic chemistry with Professor Michael Sherburn at the Australian National University, Canberra. He had worked to develop new synthetic methodologies for application in natural product synthesis and worked on the design and synthesis of enormoussynthetic host molecules for drug-delivery modelling. After graduating in 2010, he came to work on organocatalysis in Professor Dieter Enders group at the Institute of Organic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen, Germany under the auspices of an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship.  In June 2013, he moved to Curtin University (Perth, Australia) to start his own independent research group. In June 2015, he moved again to UNSW (Sydney) to take up a Lecturer/DECRA fellow position at the School of Chemistry. His current research interests are organocatalysis, aromatic cation activation, synthesis of naturally occurring and bioactive compounds, asymmetric synthesis and medicinal chemistry.

In August 2018, Vinh received $739,125 for a project to develop synthetic applications of tropylium ions as versatile building blocks, to access a broad range of organic structures that used to be problematic to synthesise. This project expects to use tropylium ions as chromophores to derive novel ‘push-and-pull’ organic dyes with highly applicable physicochemical properties. This will provide access to a family of novel complex organic structures in a new chemical space, as well as new materials for opto-electronic and sensing applications.


Dr Thanh Vinh Nguyen from the School of Chemistry at the University of New South Wales received $739,125 for a project to develop synthetic applications of tropylium ions as versatile building blocks, to access a broad range of organic structures that used to be problematic to synthesise. This project expects to use tropylium ions as chromophores to derive novel ‘push-and-pull’ organic dyes with highly applicable physicochemical properties. This will provide access to a family of novel complex organic structures in a new chemical space, as well as new materials for opto-electronic and sensing applications.


A/Prof Shelli McAlpine, university of New south wales

The McAlpine group varies in size between 8-12 people, including 6-8 post-graduate students, 2-3 honours students, and several undergraduates.  Our creative and supportive environment brings out the best in students, and my students typically perform well on their final thesis.  Not only do our students produce 5-10 papers throughout their post-graduate career, former members get jobs in both industry and academia.  Given our interdisplinary group, each member learns about biological and synthetic aspects of their project.  Students have the option to do both chemistry and biology  using a combination of skills in both fields in order to complete the entire project.  Having trained in the United States, I have significant contacts with other academics and industrial positions and can place my students in desirable jobs throughout Australia and the U.S.  


Prof Richard Tilley, university of New south wales

Prof. Tilley's research revolves around the synthesis, characterisation and applications of nanoparticles and nanomaterials. Nanoparticles hold a great fascination because they have different fundamental physical properties compared to bulk solids due to the very small size. Unique properties of nanoparticles include particle size dependent luminescence from semiconductor materials, superparamagnetism in magnetic materials and new and unusual crystal structures. The aim of the Tilley research team is to synthesize and characterize novel, cutting edge nanoparticle materials. We approach this problem using solution phase chemical techniques which allow for the synthesis of very uniform nanoparticles with superb control over their size and shape. The nanoparticles are characterized using a wide range of techniques with particular focus on high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM).


Dr Luke Hunter, university of New south wales

Fluorine is a small element that packs a big punch. When fluorine atoms are incorporated into organic molecules, they can have a dramatic impact on the substances' physical and chemical properties. In the Hunter group we are particularly interested in using fluorine atoms to control molecular conformation (a kind of "molecular origami"). We produce novel bioactive molecules that are constrained into optimal 3D shapes, controlled by the precise positioning of fluorine atoms.


Dr Jonathon Beves, university of New south wales

Jon's research interests cover much of supramolecular and applied coordination chemistry, ranging from crystal engineering to molecular sensors, light-switchable molecular devices and machines.


Professor Thomas Spurling, Swinburne University of Technology

Tom is a scientist with experience in managing the process of translating research into commercial products. His current research interests include the use of social network analysis in understanding how best to commercialise public sector research, the use of economic analysis to understand why some firms invest in innovation, and the use of case studies to tell the story of Australian innovation.