Message from our Head of School

Professor Paul YoungWelcome to this edition of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (SCMB) newsletter. It’s a clichéd comment, but where has most of this year gone? While it seems no time since we ushered in 2016, the intervening months have certainly been packed with much progress, many achievements and numerous awards for our staff and students. I hope you will enjoy reading about some of these in the stories below.

We are now entering the summer months that herald in not only the end of second semester, exams and marking, the festive season and family holidays but are also that time of year when many of us are drafting and then polishing our NHMRC and ARC applications for submission in the new year. While this will remain an annual fixture on the academic calendar, securing research funding has now become a year-round activity for most of us. We are pleased to highlight in this newsletter a few of the more recent success stories from grant and fellowship submissions. I would particularly like to congratulate Professor Paul Burn who was awarded this year, a prestigious ARC Laureate Fellowship. Professor Burn is Head and co-director of UQ's Centre for Organic Photonics & Electronics (COPE) whose work is shaping global efforts in organic light-emitting technology. The Fellowship, valued at $2.9 million, is entitled Transformational lighting: changing the way we live, and aims to advance the science of ultrathin efficient lighting technologies based on low embedded energy organic light-emitting diodes (OLED). You can read more about Professor Burn’s Laureate Fellowship and the work his team will be conducting here.

We have also seen considerable success in schemes designed to foster connections between university researchers and industry: a new Industrial Transformation Training Centre grant for $4.3 million in collaboration with the AIBN to support training of research higher degree students in industry embedded research projects (Young, Barnard and Schulz) as well as two ARC-Linkage projects, one targeting in situ remediation in mine site rehabilitation, in collaboration with Alcoa of Australia Ltd (Tyson) and the other focusing on characterization of the skin microbiome, in collaboration with Agilent Technologies Australia Pty Ltd (Hugenholtz). These grant successes reflect a broader and increasing engagement between SCMB research groups and industry, a story we will return to in another newsletter.

Since our last newsletter we have warmly welcomed a new group leader to the School, Dr Marloes Dekker. Dr Dekker is a biomedical researcher with a PhD from Lund University in Sweden. Her research focuses on the role of metabolism in complications of pregnancy with current research investigating the role of the gut microbiome in pregnancy, the role of food additives on placental function and placental gene expression and epigenetic markers.

In this newsletter we bring you just a few of the research highlights from this year that reflect the diversity of cutting-edge science being conducted across the disciplines that comprise our School: from superbugs and Zika virus to the detection of explosives and vegemite beer! We also feature the fascinating career stories of three of our fellow alumni. Happy reading!

Paul Young
Professor and Head of School
School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences
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