Materials Down Under

Since January, I’ve been working on a new column at Materials Today. Called ‘Materials Down Under’, it features some of the brightest and best materials science talent here in the Antipodes. So far, it features just four researchers, but I have a long wishlist of other people I hope to interview. You’ll find all of them here:

Sally Brooker is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Otago. Her research can be broadly classed as transition metal and macrocyclic chemistry, but it covers everything from photocatalytic generation of hydrogen and green polymerisation catalysts, to single molecule magnets, and spin crossover complexes.

Prof Brooker has been a lecturer at Otago since 1991, and has taken multiple sabbaticals to overseas labs. She has also received numerous awards, including the 2003 Distinguished Young Chemists Award (FACS), the Maurice Wilkins Centre Prize in 2009, and the 2015 University of Otago Distinguished Research Medal. She was invited to become a Principal Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology in 2006, became FRSNZ in 2007 and FRSC in 2011. Earlier this year, Brooker was included on the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s list (MNZM), and went on to receive the Burrows Award (RACI), and the Hector Medal (RSNZ).

Julie Cairney is a Professor of Engineering at the University of Sydney and serves as Director of the university core facility, the Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis. She is also the CEO of the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility.

Prof Cairney leads a research group that focuses on the relationship between microstructure and properties of materials, with particular emphasis on the application and development of new microscopy techniques. She is the author of over 170 publications, has been cited 2000+ times, and has published a book on atom probe microscopy. Prof Cairney serves on the Australian Research Council College of Experts and the New Zealand Marsden Fund. She is an advisory board member for the journal Ultramicroscopy and has been elected to the Steering Committee of the International Field Emission Society. She is one of the youngest full professors at the University of Sydney, and one of only a handful of female professors of engineering in NSW.

Dr Rakesh Joshi leads the graphene research programme at the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney. His research interests include 2D materials (e.g. graphene and metal chalcogenides), nanomaterials, semiconductor thin films, and sustainable materials. He also works closely with many industry partners, including Sydney Water, on the application of graphene to real-world challenges.

Rakesh is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), and has been awarded several prestigious research fellowships throughout his career. This includes a Marie Curie International Fellowship, which saw him work alongside the 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Sir Andre Geim. He held a Fellowship from the Japan Society for Promotion of Science in 2016, and in 2017, was granted a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. Rakesh has published ~70 refereed journal papers (over 50 as first or lead author) and two international patents.

Dr Kate Fox is a Senior Lecturer and biomedical engineer at RMIT University in Melbourne. Her research group focuses on the development of novel orthopedic implants using additive manufacturing. As a former patent and trademarks attorney, Dr Fox is an expert on Intellectual Property law. Since returning to the world of research, she has worked on highly complex, transdisciplinary projects that aim to transition lab-scale devices into surgically feasible products.

Prior to joining RMIT, Dr Fox was part of the Bionic Eye Project, working to develop a diamond electrode capable of electrically stimulating retinal tissue. She retains an honorary fellowship at the University of Melbourne for this project. Dr Fox teaches courses in solid mechanics and materials, biomedical engineering design and implant engineering/assistive technology, and supervises multiple PhD students and postdocs. She has over 45 publications in the field of biomaterials and medical devices to her name, and holds three patents. You can follow her on twitter @EngineeringKate