Open lab week

open-lab-week

Join us in Week 6 of this term (21-25 March) for a full week of great opportunities to learn more about the exciting research that is done in the School of Chemical Engineering. You will have the opportunity to visit in an informal way our research labs and chat with our academics about their latest research findings and future projects. 

Below you can find a list of this term’s offerings. (It will be an in-person event on campus)

Sign up is easy: https://forms.office.com/r/sP5c80E0Dz

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Academic:

Cyrille Boyer 

Meeting location:

Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room 331, Lv3

Timeslot(s):

Monday 13:00-13:30;
Tuesday 13:00-13:30;
Wednesday 12:00-12:30,
Thursday 12:30-13:00,
Friday 13:00-13:00 

Research Area(s):

Polymer chemistry, nanomedicine, energy, 3D printing

Research Overview:

The Boyer research group is focused on the development of new polymer synthesis strategies using visible light, for the fabrication of nanostructured materials, which can find applications as advanced smart materials in the fields of energy and nanomedicine. We combine modern polymer synthesis with emerging chemical engineering processes such as 3D printing, flow chemistry, and high throughput methods to prepare nanostructured materials featuring advanced properties and functions. Our research is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative with numerous groups in chemistry, engineering, materials science, and medicine. By combining polymerisation techniques, we have developed nanostructured 3D printed materials with enhanced mechanical properties that find applications in the energy and the biomedical fields. We also aim to design synthetic polymers capable of fulfilling specific biological functions. Such as the design of synthetic polymers capable to be used as next generation of antiviral, anticancer, and antimicrobial agents. By turning the structure of the polymers, we design new delivery systems for the treatment of hard-to-treat diseases in collaboration with clinicians. https://www.boyerlab.com/team

 

 

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Academic:

Pierre Le-Clech

Meeting location:

Hilmer Building, Room 516A, Lv5, entry through Science and Engineering Building, E8

Timeslot(s):

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 12:00-12:30

Research Area(s):

Water and wastewater treatment and recycling, desalination, membrane processes

Research Overview:

My current research activities aim for an improved operation of processes for water and wastewater treatment and reuse, including sea and brackish water desalination. Research studies in my group are often developed in close collaboration and partnership with technology designers, operators, and other stakeholders (like health regulators) and resulted in better asset and knowledge management. I also focus on the use of conventional membrane technologies (from microfiltration to reverse osmosis) and investigate emerging membrane systems like forward osmosis. In particular, further implementation of membranes in developing countries could have a great impact on the local communities, and humanitarian projects are also conducted.

 

 

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Academic:

Johannes le Coutre

Meeting location:

Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room 437, Lv4

Timeslot(s):

Monday – Friday 13:00-13:30

Research Area(s):

Cellular Agriculture, Food & Health

Research Overview:

The field of cellular agriculture and in vitro meat production is an emerging solution to growing global concerns regarding resource use by traditional agriculture practices. A major obstacle for this technology is the control of growth and differentiation rates of meat forming muscle cells in culture. Traditional biological supplements used in cell culture include expensive, high-carbon footprint fetal calf serum and recombinant proteins. One of the goals of the global cellular agriculture field is to identify alternatives to these additives. It is of critical importance that these additives do not rely on genetic modification of the muscle cell itself as we aim to use cultured meat for human consumption. This project will identify non-traditional compounds to control muscle cell growth and differentiation in culture.

 

 

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Academic:

Kang Liang

Meeting location:

Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room 320, Lv3

Timeslot(s):

Tuesday 13:30-14:00 

Research Area(s):

Nanotechnology, bionics, nano-biohybrids, biocatalysis, disease diagnosis

Research Overview:

My research group is interested in developing smart biohybrid nanosystems by interfacing bioactive compounds with functional nanomaterials, making it possible to perform desired tasks rapidly and efficiently when needed. These systems will have great potential for advanced energy and biotechnological applications. Some interesting research we have been developed so far include bionic plants for environmental sensing, nano-submarines for drug delivery and cancer diagnosis, and artificial cells for smart insulin delivery. 

 

 

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Academic:

PartCat Research Group (Rose Amal, Jason Scott, Xunyu Lu, Zhaojun Han and Emma Lovell)

Meeting location:

Tyree Energy Technologies Building, Rm 366-368, Lv3

Timeslot(s):

Monday 14:00-14:30; Tuesday 10:00-10:30

Research Area(s):

nanoparticles, catalysis, energy, hydrogen, carbon dioxide

Research Overview:

The Particles and Catalysis Research Group (PartCat) is a leading (photo(electro)) catalysis research group within the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales. Lead by Scientia Professor Rose Amal, PartCat focuses on understanding catalysis (photo/electro/thermal) and designing new catalytic system. Our experimental research focuses on design, synthesis, catalytic activity testing, and materials characterisation of the catalysts with the aim to gain theoretical insight into reaction mechanism.  Our lab is equipped with material characterisation instrument and catalytic rig/reactor set up for activity testing capable of operating at high temperature and pressure. With operando and in-situ characterisation techniques and strong theoretical support from our collaborators, we strive to develop fundamental understanding on how catalyst work and of processes importance for sustainable energy conversion and  production of fuels and chemical. Our projects cover a range of applications in catalysis such as carbon dioxide conversion, hydrogen production and ammonia synthesis.

 

 

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Academic:

Stuart Prescott

Meeting location:

Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room Hilmer 316A, Lv3

Timeslot(s):

Tuesday 12:00-12:30;
Tuesday 16:00-16:30;
Wednesday 13:00-13:30 

Research Area(s):

polymers, surfactants, nanoparticles, consumer products

Research Overview:

The interactions between polymers, surfactants, nanoparticles and oil droplets are the building blocks by which complex fluids products are designed. The composition and manufacturing steps for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, shampoos, cleaners, and paints need to be carefully engineered to deliver an effective product. However, the details of how product function is derived from composition are largely missing for many complex fluids products. As we look to decarbonise the chemical industry, to reformulate products to remove unsustainable or environmentally problematic chemicals, our lack of basic knowledge about polymer and surfactant systems becomes limiting. Working with industry partners, we are investigating the fundamental behaviour of molecules at interfaces, new experimental approaches to measuring interfacial properties relevant to formulation problems, and the application of these developments to real product formulation projects.

 

 

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Academic:

Cordelia Selomulya

Meeting location:

Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room 409, meet in front of the lift at level 4

Timeslot(s):

Monday 12:00-12:30;
Thursday 12:00-12:30 

Research Area(s):

microencapsulation, spray drying, functional particles, food engineering 

Research Overview:

My team is doing research related to particle and drying technologies, particularly for functional food applications. A unique capability is in functional particles assembly via microfluidic spray drying. The microfluidic spray dryer can be used to produce different types of particles, including thermal sensitive and bioactive particles, microparticles for controlled release and microencapsulation, magnetic and fluorescent composites, and mesoporous microspheres with hierarchal structures and properties superior to those observed on nanomaterials. The method is useful to produce uniform particles with better functionality and targeted properties, and for designing new formulations for spray-dried powders typically produced in industrial setting. We also look into the use of rheology to assess different aspects of food formulations, processing, digestion, and sensory, in order to develop more practical tools for the industry. Several of our projects are directly funded by companies in Australia and overseas to solve practical challenges in their process and product development. 

 

 

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Academic:

Peter Wich

Meeting location:

Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room 321, (meet in lounge area in front of the lift on level 3)

Timeslot(s):

Tuesday 12:30-13:00,
Wednesday 12:30-13:00 

Research Area(s):

nanomedicine, biopolymers, drug delivery, 3D printing

Research Overview:

The Wich Research Lab for Functional Biopolymers has its research focus in the area of macromolecular chemistry at the interface between nanotechnology and bioorganic chemistry. The main interest is in the chemical modification of natural biopolymers with the aim to engineer multifunctional and biocompatible materials for applications in drug delivery, nanomedicine, bio-catalysis and 3D printing. It is the goal to produce advanced nanomaterials with the potential to revolutionize personalized medicine and biocatalytic industrial processes.

Nature’s toolbox provides us with a variety of biopolymers, such as carbohydrates, lipids, or polypeptides. Our research group applies a variety of chemistry methods to produce functionalized nanomaterials in order to mimic biological properties, while maintaining biocompatibility and degradability. The resulting dynamic biohybrid materials can be formulated into nano- and microparticles for the transport and delivery of a wide range of therapeutic drugs, including therapeutic proteins, as well as DNA and mRNA. www.wichlab.com

 

 

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Academic:

Edgar Wong

Meeting location:

Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room 436, Lv4

Timeslot(s):

Monday 11:00-11:30;
Tuesday 12:30-13:00;
Wednesday 11:00-11:30;
Thursday 11:00-11:30 

Research Area(s):

antimicrobial/antibacterial, anticancer, polymer chemistry, drug design

Research Overview:

The escalating global issue of multidrug-resistant bacteria is now at a critical stage and urgently requires the development of new, effective and safe antimicrobial agents. Utilizing synthetic organic and polymer chemistry tools, my group focuses on the design of antimicrobial polymers and small molecules that mimic naturally-occurring antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which has been proven to be effective against these ‘Superbugs’. However, despite their effectiveness against bacteria, this class of compounds are plagued by toxicity issues, hence limiting their translation into clinical settings.

Over the next few years, my group is dedicated to developing novel intelligent AMP mimics that can specifically respond to bacteria environment (i.e., targeted on-site activation) to overcome the toxicity issue. This platform technology could lead to commercial outcomes and is versatile such that it can potentially be translated for use in anticancer applications. 

 

 

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Academic:

Jiangtao (Jason) Xu

Meeting location: Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room 319, Lv3

Timeslot(s):

Monday 13:30-14:00;
Wednesday 13:30-14:00 

Research Area(s):

polymer materials, green chemistry, precision polymer synthesis, polymer hydrogels for wearable devices

Research Overview:

My research group is dedicated to the development of synthetic technologies for advanced polymer materials (polymer hydrogels, protein mimics, etc.) and sustainable polymer manufacturing, which comprises three key projects. One project aims to fabricate conductive hydrogels as sensor devices to exploit their outstanding flexibility, stretchability and self-healing properties for the uses in bioelectronic skins and human health monitoring. The second project is to mimic the structural precision of natural peptides and proteins using synthetic macromolecules and explore their potential applications in catalysis, pharmaceuticals and nanomedicine. The third project is to develop innovative green and sustainable technologies for degradation and upcycling of thermoplastics and thermoset polymers and to transform renewable biomass from natural plants into high valued polymer materials.

 

 

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Academic:

Per Zetterlund

Meeting location:

Science and Engineering Building, E8, Room 335, Lv3

Timeslot(s):

Wednesday 14:00-14:30;
Thursday 14:00-14:30 

Research Area(s):

polymer chemistry, polymers, nanoparticles, hybrid materials, emulsions

Research Overview:

My research group focuses on the design and synthesis of polymer and polymeric nano-objects for applications in a range of advanced and emerging technologies such as materials chemistry, nanotechnology and nanomedicine, as well as in more traditional fields such as paints and coating applications. One of the key concepts is structure control on the molecular and/or nano level – my team strives to develop and understand methods for synthesis of polymers of well-defined molecular structure (e.g. distribution of monomer units along the polymer backbone), as well as developing methods for synthesis of polymeric nano-objects of specific size and shape/morphology. Over the past few years, our research has expanded significantly into applied science such as e.g. pressure sensitive adhesives and energy applications. The foundations remain in fundamental science, but with significant links with applied science via collaborations with industry as well as academic collaborators.