A brief consolidated history of the School
The School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences came into being 1 January 2009, having been known previously as the School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences (SMMS).
SMMS was formed in 2000 by amalgamating the former Departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Microbiology & Parasitology. Each of the constituent disciplines has a much longer history in the University:
Biochemistry. The Department of Biochemistry at the University of Queensland was established in 1961 with Edwin Webb appointed as Foundation Professor of Biochemistry and Head of Department. Successive professorial appointments established or consolidated various sub-disciplines within Biochemistry, notably enzymology, medical biochemistry, plant biochemistry, and molecular biology.
Chemistry. The Department of Chemistry was established in 1910 as one of the four foundation departments in the University with Professor Bertram Dillon Steele as inaugural Professor and Head. By 1951, when the Department relocated from Gardens Point to St Lucia, its shape and direction had largely been set by forming separate divisions: Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Applied Chemistry. Apart from the latter (which was substantially absorbed into Chemical Engineering in the 1960s), these divisions remained as the principal areas of teaching and research in Chemistry until the mid-1990s.
Microbiology. In 1962, Dr VDB Skerman was appointed as Foundation Professor and Head of Microbiology. He led the Department’s expansion both in terms of size and into non-medical areas of microbiology. By the 1980s, the Department had established strong research programs in all major areas of the discipline and, in addition to Science, taught into degree programs offered in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, agricultural science and engineering.
Parasitology. An independent and autonomous Department of Parasitology came into being in 1960 with Professor John Sprent as Head. Over the next 30 years, the Department grew as a strong, separate discipline with recognized strengths in medical, marine and veterinary parasitology.
Microbiology & Parasitology. The two Departments combined in 1998 with Professor John Mackenzie (Head of Microbiology since 1994) appointed as Head of the combined Department.
Since 2000: The School has witnessed the creation within UQ of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology and the Queensland Brain Institute. It has contributed research expertise to the Institutes and shared in their success through strategic alliances. Of its own accord, the School has consolidated its research into selected themes, participated in a major review and restructure of the Bachelor of Science degree, taken ownership of Biotechnology programs, and introduced a postgraduate coursework program in Molecular Biology. Refurbishment of the Chemistry Building has occurred progressively since 2001 and there has been substantial investment in specialist equipment
The School was first reviewed in 2005 and was commended on its support of first year students, the development of postgraduate coursework programs, its relations with industry and the professions, and its internationalisation. At its second review in 2013, the high quality of and innovations in teaching were commended, along with the School's outstanding research success and cross-disciplinary approach. It was encouraged to continue its successful internationalisation program, its ongoing provision of state-of-the-art facilities, and to build on its industry engagement.