Steering Committee

Profiles of each member of the Materials Research Steering Committee

Steering Committee

The Hallmark Research Initiative Steering Committees help to facilitate collaborative and interdisciplinary research by involving research staff from across University of Melbourne faculties, departments, and schools, and by facilitating connections and introductions with external researchers. It provides leadership and strategic advice regarding the development of research clusters and projects.

Prof. Ray Dagastine – Chair of the Hallmark Materials Research Initiative

Associate Professor Ray Dagastine is an ARC Future Fellow in the Dept of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Melbourne School of Engineering. He is a member of the Particulate Fluids Processing Special Research Centre (PFPC). He is also a Senior Technology Fellow at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication. His research interests are in the area of particulate and droplet interfacial phenomena, emulsion stability and deformable surfaces. He is a leading researcher in developing experimental methods and theoretical analytical tools to study interaction forces between deformable liquid-liquid interfaces using both optical techniques and atomic force microscopy. He also has research interests in structure in complex fluids, non-equilibrium surface forces, and protein interactions and nanomechanical properties of living cellular systems. Want to know more about Ray

Dr. Rackel San Nicolas - Academic Convenor of the Hallmark Materials Research Initiative

Rackel joined the University of Melbourne in 2011 to undertake post-doctoral research developing new materials for construction and assess their durability. Since then she has been contributing to the research and teaching in the School of Engineering, and she has been Lecturer (Teaching and Research) in the Department of Infrastructure, Chemical and Biomolecular and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Melbourne. Most of her materials research work has been supported by the Australian research council. Her research interest focuses on sustainable material for construction, geopolymer, service life estimation, durability, link between microstructure and structural behaviour. She is really looking forward to promoting interdisciplinary research and collaboration within the Materials Community at the University of Melbourne and make the Hallmark Materials Research Initiative the reference point for Materials Research!! Want to know more about Rackel

Prof. George Franks

George is Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular. He completed his undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in 1985. He worked for seven years in industry as a process development engineer. He completed his PhD in Materials in 1997 at the University of California at Santa Barbara and moved to. His research interests include suspension rheology, ceramic powder processing, materials modelling and minerals processing. He is a member of the Particulate Fluids Processing Centre and the Defence Materials Technology Centre. He has 101 papers in international peer reviewed journals, 6 book chapters and four patents. His work has been cited more than 2150 times, with h-index = 25.  He has been awarded over 8.5 million dollars in research funding. He has been Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society since 2004and Executive Editor of Advanced Powder Technology between 2009 and 2013. He teaches Process Equipment Design and Minerals Materials and Recycling.  George believes the Hallmark Materials Research Initiative will provide a foundation for collaboration between University researchers and industry partners to advance materials scientific knowledge and provide solutions to problems facing society. Want to know more about George

Dr. Patrick Hartley 

Patrick leads the Oil, Gas and Fuels research program within CSIRO’s Energy Flagship. This program comprises 85 research staff and students working on research projects which span the oil and gas value chain, with a particular emphasis on the sustainable development of Australia’s petroleum resources. The multidisciplinary skill base of the program’s scientists ranges across fundamental geosciences through to natural gas process engineering, and draws on further multidisciplinary expertise across CSIRO in materials science, production instrumentation and process modelling.Want to know more about Patrick

Prof. David Jones

David is a Research Group Leader in the development of organic semiconductors for organic electronic applications. A key focus of his research has been in the development of large scale printed organic solar cells as project coordinator of the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC) and the synthesis of high performance materials to be included in inks for printing. Applications for organic electronics now range from new printable displays, large area flexible lighting through to biosensors and organic lasers. Multidisciplinary teams and access to key materials characterisation platforms are essential for the development of the field, and both are brought together under the umbrella of the HMRI. Want to know more about David

Prof. Peter Lee

Peter is a Professor and the Deputy Head of Department in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Melbourne.Peter obtained his BEng in Mechanical Engineering (1st Class Hons. 1991) and PhD (1996) in Bioengineering from the University of Strathclyde, UK, and continued his post-doc in the same university from 1996–1998. He was a Research Fellow with the Biomaterials Group at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, Singapore from 1998–2001. In 2001, he joined the Defence Medical and Environmental Research Institute, DSO National Laboratories, Singapore, as the Head of the Bioengineering Laboratory. He was appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor from 2002–2008 at the National University of Singapore, Division of Bioengineering. He joined University of Melbourne as a Senior Lecturer in 2008. His research interests are biomechanics - ability to predict and better understand the mechanism of injury, leading to effective prevention strategies. Research spans all three levels, the human, organs and cells. These investigations use human volunteers and computational models to advance our understanding of clinical symptoms, pathological evidence and injury. Computational studies include models to the human brain, head-neck, spine, knee and foot. Rehabilitation Engineering - biomechanics for lower limb prostheses and orthoses; CAD/CAM and rapid prototyping methods for prosthetic socket manufacturing to improve artificial limb function and amputee acceptance; development of new materials and methods for low-cost prostheses. Want to know about Peter

Prof. Andrea O’Connor

Andrea is the Deputy Head (Engagement) of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Her expertise is in chemical and biomedical engineering with particular focus areas including biomaterials, tissue engineering, porous materials and downstream processing for biotechnology. She leads the Tissue Engineering and Nanoporous Materials Research Group in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.Her research and teaching are focussed in cross-disciplinary applications of engineering involving biological systems, including a strong interest in 3D soft tissue engineering. She has active collaborations with several medical research institutes and medical device companies in Australia and has worked in the chemical industry in Australia and overseas. Current Research Activities include - Nano and Biomolecular Engineering - Tissue engineering Nanostructured materials - Bioprocess Engineering - Separations technology 3D printing

Prof. Ann Roberts

Ann obtained a B.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Sydney and is now in the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne. Professor Roberts has diverse research expertise in the fields of physical optics and photonics. In particular, she has a career-long interest in the interaction of light with subwavelength structures and has made recent significant advances in the computational and experimental study of plasmonic devices, metamaterials and nanoscale antennas. Professor Roberts' research interests also include the development of novel microscopic and imaging techniques and their application to the non-destructive examination of specimens such as cells and photonic devices. Her interest in materials extends from the development of nanoscale photonic devices using state-of-the-art nanofabrication tools through to the application of optical methods for cultural materials conservation. Want to know more about Ann

Former Members

Prof. Rachel Caruso

Rachel, an ARC Future Fellow, is a materials chemist with expertise in the fabrication of advanced porous functional materials. These materials have potential application in a range of areas including solar energy, water purification, the clean-up and storage of nuclear waste, and energy storage devices. Rachel holds a joint appointment between the University of Melbourne and CSIRO - as an Associate Professor and Reader in the School of Chemistry and as a CEO Science Leader in the division of Materials Science and Engineering. Caruso worked as a postdoctoral fellow and group leader at two prestigious research institutes in Germany before returning to Australia to take up an ARC Australian Research Fellowship in 2003. Her research is well cited and has lead to her receiving a number of awards. The Advanced Porous Materials research group that Rachel leads consists of postdoctoral fellows and PhD students at both the University of Melbourne and CSIRO. The group has established strong collaborations (nationally and internationally) and has been successful in obtaining research funding. Rachel is also a member of the University of Melbourne Energy Institut. Want to know more about Rachel

Prof. Peter Choong

Peter is the Sir Hugh Devine Chair of Surgery, and Head of Department of Surgery University of Melbourne at St. Vincent’s hospital Melbourne. He is also the Director of Orthopaedics at St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and Chair of the Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Service at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Peter is the President of the Australian Orthopaedic Association. his research which has been supported by recurrent grant funding (NHMRC, ARC, RACS, AOA, Cancer Australia) focuses on 3 areas, that underpin his clinical programmes, namely improving outcomes of arthritis surgery, studying the molecular regulation of bone tumours and advanced limb reconstruction. Peter is widely published with over 240 peers reviewed articles (H score 34) in these areas. Want to know more about Peter

Dr. Luke Connal

Luke received a bachelor’s of Chemical engineering in 2002 and a PhD in polymer chemistry in 2007 both from the University of Melbourne, Australia. From 2007 to 2009 he completed a post-doctoral position with Frank Caruso developing new techniques for the self-assembly of polymers. In 2009 he was a joint Sir Keith Murdoch postdoctoral Fellow and Australian Linkage International Fellow at University of California Santa Barbra with Prof Craig Hawker. In 2013 Luke has returned to the University of Melbourne as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. His research interests lie in the development of biomimicry materials using advanced polymer design, self-assembly and catalysis. In 2013 Dr Connal accepted a prestigious VESKI Innovation Fellowship worth $150,000 over three years. The fellowships fund the return of important researchers to Victoria.Want to know more about Luke

Prof. Mark Cook

Currently, Chair of Medicine and Professor and Director of Neurology at St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Cook is a neurologist specialising in the treatment of epilepsy. After completing specialist training in Melbourne, he undertook an MD thesis ('High-Resolution MRI in Adult Focal Epilepsy') whilst working as Brain Research Fellow at Queen Square, London. He returned to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne to continue his interest in neuroimaging in epilepsy. Currently one of the largest units for the surgical treatment of epilepsy, this was a direct extension of work started in London, where he developed techniques for the accurate measurement of hippocampal volumes, and established their position in non-invasive assessment of surgical candidates. In more recent years his interests have included computations models of epilepsy and seizure prediction and cortical excitability. Research with a commercial focus has been a major activity over the past 8 years, concerned with the development of an implantable device to treat epilepsy and novel polymer-based drug delivery systems. Very strong collaborative ties exist nationally and internationally, particularly with the Bionic Ear Institute, Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Wollongong Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, Institute of Neurology, London, Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, and the Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital. Want to know more about Mark