Bio-sensors and nanomaterials win top awards

Justin Gooding
Monday, 28 November, 2011
Bob Beale

The Faculty of Science have been honoured with two prestigious national awards by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute at its 2011 Annual Awards Dinner in Melbourne.

Scientia Professor and ARC Australian Professorial Fellow Justin Gooding has been awarded the HG Smith Memorial Award, for outstanding contributions to surface chemistry, and Dr Mohammad Choucair has been awarded the Cornforth Medal for his outstanding work in the field of nanomaterials, where he discovered novel routes to carbon nanotubes, nanobubbles and anions.

The HG Smith Medal is awarded annually to a member of the RACI who, in the opinion of the Board of the RACI, has contributed most to the development of some branch of chemical science. The contribution is judged by research work published or accepted for publication during the previous decade.

The award  nomination states: “Professor Gooding has a leading international reputation in the modification of surfaces with self-assembled monolayers to enable controlled interactions with biomolecules, for bio-sensing, bioelectronics and cell biology applications.

“The majority of his work has been focused on the conceptual understanding of how to design surfaces that interact with biological systems in a highly controlled way. As published for the first time in the period June 2001 to May 2011, Professor Gooding has made major fundamental and applied contributions to the field of interfacial science, with a body of work focussed on the development of highly novel chemical and bio-sensors.

“Utilising his expertise in surface chemistry, Professor Gooding has stimulated a paradigm shift in sensor research through the design and fabrication of sensing interfaces with molecular level control.”

The Cornforth Medal commemorates the work of Sir John Cornforth AC CBE FRS to recognise outstanding achievement in chemistry and to promote chemical communication.

The prize is a medal bearing the profile of Sir John Cornforth, and the words For a Thesis on Chemical Research. The Medal is awarded annually to a financial RACI member who is judged to have completed the most outstanding PhD thesis in a branch of chemistry, chemical science or chemical technology under the auspices of an Australian University and whose degree has been approved, but not necessarily conferred, in the previous 13 months.

The award nomination for Dr Choucair states:  “His doctoral thesis is a significant contribution to graphene chemistry, having developed a method to synthesise graphene from a “bottom- up” approach as opposed to the current “top- down” approach.

“This achievement cannot be understated; as it is a distinctly new method that has the advantage of enabling the mass production of graphene, thus enabling its inclusion and application in alloys, composites and developments of new graphene based devices.”

Dr Choucair has now taken up a postdoctoral position, focussed on graphene for nanotechnology applications, at the University of Parma, Italy.

Media contact:

Bob Beale UNSW Faculty of Science – 0411 705 435