Researcher

Professor Pall Thordarson

My Expertise

Self-assembly, supramolecular chemistry, bioconjugate chemistry, self-assembled gels, scientific data and open science

Keywords

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

BIOGRAPHY

 

Description

My research is in the area of bio-mimetic chemistry with focus on nanomedicine, supramolecular and biophysical chemistry. To this end we apply a combination of synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry, bioconjugate chemistry (chemical modification of biological molecules), cellular biology (for activity assays) and supramolecular chemistry to make our target systems and we use various spectroscopic techniques such as...view more

BIOGRAPHY

 

Description

My research is in the area of bio-mimetic chemistry with focus on nanomedicine, supramolecular and biophysical chemistry. To this end we apply a combination of synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry, bioconjugate chemistry (chemical modification of biological molecules), cellular biology (for activity assays) and supramolecular chemistry to make our target systems and we use various spectroscopic techniques such as UV, fluorescence and NMR as well as microscopy techniques such as AFM, STM and TEM, to analyse these systems.

Education

  • PhD in Organic Chemistry (U. Sydney, 2001).
  • BSc. in Chemistry (U. Iceland, 1996).

 

RESEARCH

 

My Research Goals

  • Create novel self-assembled materials for nanomedicine.
  • Explore the role of self-assembly in protein chemistry and function.
  • Harvest solar energy using biomimetic approaches.
  • Uncover the role of self-assembly in the origin of life.
  • Inspire passion for chemistry in students.

My Research in Detail

Biomimetic chemistry – using Nature as an blueprint or inspiration to solve societal challenges and make new discoveries – is what our research is about. Self-assembly, supramolecular chemistry and protein chemistry are the common themes in the diverse range of work within our research group. We work with medical researchers on cancer-targeting peptides and novel materials for drug release and stem cell therapies. We work with industry on projects such as developing new materials for enhancing algae production and improving our understanding of how to module the taste profile of processed food. We work with biophysical scientist on uncovering the secrets of light-harvesting proteins. We develop methods for data analysis in supramolecular chemistry and we work on understanding the role of self-assembly in prebiotic chemistry (origin of life) through synthetic biology experiments. In short – our works spans the whole spectra from physical chemistry and data analysis to organic synthesis, supramolecular and biophysical chemistry.

Current Student Projects (PhD and Honours)

Broadly speaking our current projects can be divided into three main areas:

Nanomedicine, Biophysical & Protein Chemistry and Supramolecular Chemistry.

More specifically, our current PhD and Honours projects include:

Self-assembled gels for drug release (Nanomedicine).

Cancer cell targeting peptides (Nanomedicine).

Novel materials for 3D cell cultures (Biophysical and Protein Chemistry).

Light-activated bioconjugates (Biophysical and Protein Chemistry).

Controlling protein self-assembly and protein-protein interactions (Biophysical and Protein Chemistry).

Proteins and polymer self-assembly (Biophysical and Protein Chemistry).

The formation of self-assembled gels (Supramolecular Chemistry).

Cooperativity in ion-pair hosts (Supramolecular Chemistry).

Biomimetic light-harvesting and donor-acceptor arrays (Supramolecular Chemistry).

Supervision Opportunities/Areas

I am always open for suggestions from prospective students on projects that fit within our broad research area, be they related to our current projects or a completely new line of investigation. Please don’t hesitate to contact me regarding your ideas or ask for further advice on possible projects.

Advice for prospective students

Our group is focused on creativity and on tackling fundamentally interesting and important challenges. With that comes lack of respect for boundaries between disciplines – our home is in chemistry but work goes across from biophysics, data analysis physical organic chemistry to nanotechnology, synthesis, protein chemistry and synthetic biology. We aim to make a difference with our work, be it by publishing in top quality journal or creating new materials and processes that can be used to solve medical, industrial or societal challenges.

 

TEACHING & OUTREACH

 

Courses I teach

CHEM 1041/1061: Higher Chemistry (1st year).

CHEM 2041: Analytical Chemistry: Essential Methods (2nd year).

Professional affiliations and service positions

Director of Research, School of Chemistry UNSW.

Chair, Scientific Advisory Board, Biomedical Imaging Facility, Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre, UNSW.

Member of RACI, ACS, RSC, SPP and MCFA.

Associate Editor Australian Journal of Chemistry.

Co-Chair: 23rd IUPAC Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry – Sydney Australia 2016. Chair: Supramolecular Symposia – RACI Congress 2014.

 

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

 

2012: The Le Févre Memorial Prize, Australian Academy of Science.

2012: Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

2010: The International Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (SPP) / Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines (JPP): SPP/JPP Young Investigator Award for 2010.

2008: NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award.

2006: Australian Research Fellowship from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

2003: Sesqui post-doctoral research fellowship from The University of Sydney.

2001: Marie Curie Fellowship from the EU, Brussels.


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

PhD and BSc. Honours projects in Supramolecular Chemistry, Origin of Life Chemistry, Systems Chemistry


Currently supervising

PhD and BSc. Honours projects in Supramolecular Chemistry, Origin of Life Chemistry, Systems Chemistry


My Engagement

Open science: See website http://supramolecular.org (+ 20,000 visits) 

Ethics and Science: See ABC Radio - Science Friction - first broadcasted on ABC Radio National on the 23rd September 2017. 

Link:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sciencefriction/the-man-in-the-dress-who-were-the-real-luddites/8957278


My Teaching

I teach Supramolecular Chemistry & Chemical Biology in CHEM 3071, Analytical Chemistry, including statistics and nanoscale characterisation in CHEM 2041. 

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Location

Dalton Room 133
School of Chemistry
The University of New South Wales

Map reference (Google map)

Contact

02-9385-4478
02-9385-6141

Research Activities

Self-assembled gels are a new class of materials that have been shown to have applications in tissue engineering and drug delivery. In this project we will synthesise a new family of low molecular-mass organic gellators that form biologically active self-assembled gels, potentially inhibiting cell division and mobility of cancer cells. Our gels will incorporate two unique features; that is the ability to bind and sense small anions and the incorporation of heterogenous groups to study synergistic effects in their biological function. We will look extensively at the interaction between…

Videos

Supramolecular NMR titration
Three methods to prepare a self-assembled hydrogel
IC50 or cell viability experiment