Major funding for School of Chemistry Spinout

After a decade of searching for molecules capable of interacting with oxytocin receptors in the brain, Prof. Michael Kassiou and his team have forged a major new partnership which could help realise treatments for psychiatric disorders such as dementia, depression, and schizophrenia. Kassiou’s company, Kinoxis, recently signed a $273 million partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to explore drugs that address aggression and social withdrawal in individuals with various psychiatric disorders. The team discovered a molecule that not only binds to the oxytocin receptor but also boosts the effect of natural oxytocin. The molecules have not yet been tested on humans, and further research is Kassiou’s group. Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald article here.

Prof. Richard Payne elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science

Congratulations to Prof. Richard Payne on his election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science are among the nation’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for ground-breaking research and contributions that have had clear impact. There is no greater professional honour than being recognised by your own peers and the leaders within your own field of research for your achievements.” – Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, President of the Australian Academy of Science

Read more about Richard’s election and the science behind it in the USyd News story here and the official announcement from the Academy of Science here.

As Rich says in the USyd News story “I am really proud of what my lab has been able to achieve over the past 15 years and I would like to thank the amazing PhD students, research associates, collaborators and colleagues at the University of Sydney for making it all possible.”

Robinson Fellowship Success

Congratulations to Dr. Mark White, who has been awarded a Robinson Fellowship to continue and extend this work on novel oxygen sensing pathways, specifically in the context of hypoxic diseases. The multi-year fellowship named after the University of Sydney’s first Nobel Prize winner work to support and retain our best early-career academics by creating a pathway towards continuing teaching and research positions. More details can be found here.

Elements of Country: A First Nations-first Approach to Chemistry

Prof. Anthony Masters and A/Prof. Alice Motion along with colleagues from the DVCISS portfolio and across the University, have published a thought provoking paper which explores a new approach to understanding chemical elements by engaging with Aboriginal cultural heritage. The research, led by Aboriginal people and in collaboration with local knowledge holders, focuses on a First Nations-first approach to understanding chemical elements in Sydney on Aboriginal lands. The team share reflections that engaging with cultural heritage and ongoing cultures will lead to new ways of understanding the elements and change the practice of chemistry. The paper also explores how Indigenous knowledges can contribute to an expanded chemistry curriculum.

Find the full paper in Chemistry Teacher International:

Breaking Good School Workshop

The Breaking Good Team in collaboration with the School Technical Support Services Team hosted four days of fabulous high school workshops, bringing medicinal chemistry research and the essential medicines to life for the next generation of chemists with support from the Drug Discovery Initiative.

A few dozen students in white labcoats standing in a clean, brightly lit lab. On each side of the picture there is one person in a blue labcoat.