Sydney University Chemistry Society Logo

Introduction from the Head of School: Prof. Peter Rutledge

I am excited to be introducing this, our first ChemNEWS in a while, and my first as Head of School. When I outlined my vision for our School during the HOS appointment process, I began with two questions: What are we, the School of Chemistry, here for? and Where are we going next? We each will have slightly different answers to these questions, but all of our answers will include elements of three key activities: discovering things and delivering impact with our research; sharing our love of chemistry, inspiring and training the next generation with our teaching; connecting with and contributing to our wider community. These are the essence of what we are here for: our core business as a research and teaching institution. It is exciting to be sharing some recent highlights of our work across these different domains with you now.

We have welcomed several new colleagues to our School this year, including academic hires Kaye Minkyung Kang (profiled later in this newsletter) and Connie Bailey, our new Executive Assistant/ Project Officer Jule Forti, Education Support Officer Aaron Chee Wah Loy, and Building Support Officer James Davidson. Other highlights from 2023 include Richard Payne’s election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science; major funding for Michael Kassiou through his spinout company Kinoxis and MedChem Australia, Shelley Wickham through the AUSMURI scheme, and Francois Aguey-Zinsou; the award of a Future Fellowship to Ivan Kassal and Robinson Fellowship to Mark White; a Young Tall Poppy Award for Jon Danon, the Society for Biological Inorganic Chemistry Early Career Research Award for Liz New, and the 2023 Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science and Innovation to Michael Kassiou. Read on to learn more about all of this plus the Sydney Chemistry Alumni Project, the Breaking Good High School Workshops, a First Nations-first Approach to Chemistry, and a reunion of four alumni friends whose links with our School go all the way back to 1962.

Ngā mihi.

Prof. Peter Rutledge

Peter is Professor of Chemistry and Head of School. He has been a member of our School since 2006, and HOS since March of this year. His research and teaching span organic, medicinal, and biological chemistry, citizen science and science communication, with a particular focus on the discovery of new antimicrobial agents, and biosynthesis of natural and unnatural products.