Confirmed speakers - 2022
Prof. Joanne Blanchfield
University of Queensland
Professor Joanne Blanchfield is a teaching and research academic in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland. She is an organic and medicinal chemist having trained at UQ, Johns Hopkins University and the Australian National University. Her research interests include the identification of active compounds from natural sources, particularly from herbal and traditional medicinal plants. She studies the bioavailability of these natural products in order to elucidate the mechanism of absorption and to identify the most likely active components of crude extracts. Her research also focuses on the synthesis of small molecule mimics of complex epitopes for use in synthetic vaccine development.
Dr Junming Ho
University of New South Wales
Junming Ho is a graduate of the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University. Prior to joining UNSW in 2017, he was an A*STAR international research fellow at Yale University and a research scientist in the Institute of High Performance Computing (Singapore). He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry and his research areas include physical organic and computational chemistry.
Prof. Han Vinh Huynh
National University Singapore
Han Vinh Huynh completed his doctoral degree (Dr. rer. nat.) in 2002 at the University of Münster, Germany, under the supervision of Professor F. E. Hahn, where he studied the coordination chemistry of polythiolato ligands. He then joined the Department of Chemistry at the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a Feodor-Lynen Research Fellow by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation embarking on the study of N-heterocyclic carbenes and related species. In 2007, he became Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011. His research areas include organic, physical organic and organometallic chemistry with particular focus on the study of carbenes and their applications.
Dr Sinead Keaveney
University of Wollongong
Sinead completed her PhD in physical organic chemistry at UNSW in 2016, followed by a postdoctoral stint in the field of Pd catalysis at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. She then began her independent career in 2018 through her Macquarie University Research Fellowship, and moved to the University of Wollongong as a Lecturer in 2021. Her research is focused on rationally designing new catalysts to facilitate challenging and high-value chemical transformations, with detailed mechanistic studies used to guide catalyst design.
Dr Fei Liu (incoming President)
Fei did her PhD in Organic Chemistry at Yale in 2002, followed by an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Medical School. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Molecular Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her research group is interested in biomimetic asymmetric catalysis, diversity-oriented synthesis with conformation control, and forward/reverse chemical proteomics in drug leads/targets discovery.
Prof. Emily Parker
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Emily completed an undergraduate degree in organic chemistry (University of Canterbury), and a PhD in bio-organic chemistry (University of Cambridge). Following a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge, she accepted a position at Massey University, later moving to the University of Canterbury. Emily is currently a Professor of Chemical Biology within the Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington.
She received the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Easterfield medal (2005), the Applied Biosystems Award by the New Zealand Society for Biochemistry (2006) and Molecular Biology (2008), and a National Teaching Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching (2010). Emily is a Deputy Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery.
Her research uses a range of chemical and biological techniques, and includes engineering natural product biosynthesis, enzyme evolution and engineering and tackling antimicrobial resistance.
Dr Anastasios (Tash) Polyzos
University of Melbourne
Dr Anastasios Polyzos is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Australia and holds a joint appointment with the CSIRO. His teams contribute to the development of new methods and enabling technologies for organic synthesis. Current research interests include new protocols for reaction discovery by harnessing highly reducing photoredox catalysis, C-H activation and flow chemistry. He currently serves as Director of the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Chemical Industries.
Prof. Christopher Sumby
University of Adelaide
Chris Sumby is Professor and Head of Chemistry at the University of Adelaide. Chris’ interest in heterocyclic chemistry stems from his PhD studies, which he completed in 2003 at the University of Canterbury under the supervision of Prof. Peter Steel. Post-doctoral research at the University of Leeds provided an opportunity to learn about extended solid-state materials and independent funding, in the form of ARC Australian Post-doctoral and Future Fellowships, allowed him to develop his independent career on projects aiming to heterogenise homogenous catalysts within Metal-organic Framework supports. Chris’s current research interests include the synthesis and application of porous materials to environmental, biomedical and energy challenges. As part of these research programs, Chris’ research team utilise heterocyclic-based linkers to facilitate selective, solid-state dynamic behaviour and catalyst loading and stabilisation.