Questions? AskAuckland
  

Research Showcase one of the University’s largest student-centred one-day symposia

15 June 2018
All attendees of the 2018 School of Chemical Sciences Research Showcase
All attendees of the 2018 School of Chemical Sciences Research Showcase

This year marks the 10th annual School of Chemical Sciences Research Showcase, which over the past decade has grown into one of the largest student-centred, one-day symposia at the University of Auckland.

The event, held on 6 June in the Science Centre, has been a tradition for the School since 2008. This year it involved 150 PhD students  in Food Science, Forensic Science, Green Chemical Science, Materials Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Wine Science, as well as Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical Chemistry.

They presented their research as either invited 15-minute oral presentations, two-minute talks or poster presentations. The School has an equal gender balance amongst its PhD students.

School of Chemical Sciences, Head of School, Associate Professor Gordon Miskelly welcomed over 300 attendees from both within and outside the University, and encouraged them to read the posters and talk with the presenters.

“Our research productivity is driven by our research students and postdoctoral fellows. Today gives our PhD students the opportunity to share their passion and knowledge for their chosen topics. Please take the time to learn more about those research projects. In past years, opportunities for collaboration and new research directions have arisen from these informal discussions, and we expect the same will occur this year.”

Dr Viji Sarojini, Chair of the Research Showcase Committee and Master of Ceremonies for the day says Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Professor James Metson and the Dean of Graduate Studies Associate Professor Carline Daley launched the day’s proceedings, with keynote speaker, Dr Carla Meledandri, speaking in the afternoon. 

“The keynote address by Dr Meledandri was particularly inspiring and her experiences of both academic research and the commercialisation of nanomaterials for dental applications was very well received.”

Dr Erin Leitao, who trained the postgraduate students for the oral presentations and the two-minute talks, says the student presentations were excellent.

“There are a lot of really interesting projects happening in the School of Chemical Sciences. They cover a wide range of topics, from the synthesis of natural products through to creating devices to test progesterone levels in cows. 

“With such a broad audience it was a challenge for the students to present their science at a level applicable to all, but with a bit of creativity they managed very well. “

The students valued the opportunity to share their research with the wider chemical sciences community:

  • Mathew Sullivan (winner of the PhD 15-minute oral presentations) says:
    “The Research Showcase exposes us to all forms of research in the school and allows for the development of collaborations. Having been selected to give a talk has been a huge honour and winning a prize was surely a highlight in my career so far. It demonstrates that not only my research is relevant and very exciting but also that I have presented it in a way so that people can follow and understand.”
  • Natalie Haverkate (joint winner of the First Year PhD two-minute oral presentations) adds:
    “Being able to see the large variety of research projects PhD students are working on was eye-opening. It’s a rare glimpse into the full scope of research undertaken at the School. Being able to participate alongside other students of such high calibre and win a prize this year is very rewarding. Cancer is such a global health problem which can affect anyone, so even the idea of being a tiny gear in the large machine that is scientists working towards possible treatments is important to me.”
  • Stephen Lo (second prize winner of the PhD 15-minute oral presentations) says:
    "It's inspiring to see the people's hard work and achievements - and the level of thought put into their project. Being able to communicate science to an audience is an important skill for scientists. Being one of the prize winners, this tells me that I've been able to present my work in a way that engaged people's interests."

Some of the other prize winning presentations included industry collaborations with Fisher and Paykel Healthcare and Fletcher Steel looking at new ways plastic surfaces can function and the development of a self-cleaning coating system for pre-painted steel roofing.

Mr Tasdeeq Mohammed, School HSNO Officer, reports that Research Showcase sponsors enjoyed the opportunity to interact with staff and students.

The School of Chemical Sciences extends a special thanks to all sponsors, particularly our platinum sponsor, DKSH, and our gold sponsors: Interlab, BOC, pHScientific, ECP Ltd, ThermoFisher Scientific and Total Lab Systems.

The School would also like to thank the judges, coordinated by Dr Fan Zhu, who say they appreciated the high quality of science and the level of professionalism and enthusiasm exhibited by the School’s PhD students.

The day ended with an awards ceremony, a school photo (see right) and a reception.

2018 Research Showcase presentation and poster winners


Prizes were awarded to talks and posters from our PhD students judged to be of particular merit.

Congratulations to the prize winners and all our postgraduate students!

To view the programme, as well as abstracts for our keynote speakers and our 15-minute oral presentations, download our 10th Annual Research Showcase Booklet.

Invited PhD 15-minute oral presentations


  • First Prize: Matthew Sullivan (Hartinger)
    Metallodrugs and their Side Chain Specific Reactions with Proteins: Structures and Properties
  • Second Prize: Stephen Lo (Barker)
    Derivatisation of flavonoids found in food waste to enhance bioactivity
  • Third Prize: Hans Choi (Brimble)
    Medicinal chemistry of NZ anti-cancer agent portimine

 

Mathew Sullivan with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Mathew Sullivan with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Stephen Lo with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Stephen Lo with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Hans Choi with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Hans Choi with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe

First Year PhD two-minute oral presentations


  • First Prize (joint winners): Nabangshu Sharma (Leung)
    Development of biophysical assays to study PC-PLC: a novel inhibition target for the treatment of cancers
    and Natalie Haverkate (Barker)
    A study of thieno[2,3-b]pyridines: novel modifications to improve anti-proliferative activity
  • Second Prize (joint winners): Lakshini Thewarashige (Simpson)
    Self-cleaning coatings for pre-painted steel roofing
    and Timothy Christopher (Sohnel)
    Exploring the structures of novel lithium containing garnet oxides
  • Audience choice 1st session (joint winners): Taniela Lolohea (McGillivray)
    Atmospheric pressure plasma processes for functional surfaces
    and Rebecca Richards (Elliot)
    Forensic DNA methylation profiling
  • Audience choice 2nd session (joint winners): Timothy Christopher (Sohnel) as above
    and Thomas Grant (Brimble)
    Eco-friendly antifouling co-biocides

 

Nabangshu Sharma with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Nabangshu Sharma with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Lakshini Thewarashige with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Lakshini Thewarashige with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Taniela Lolohea with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Taniela Lolohea with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Thomas Gant with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Thomas Gant with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Natalie Haverkate with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Natalie Haverkate with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Timothy Christopher with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Timothy Christopher with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Rebecca Richards with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Rebecca Richards with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe

Second year poster competition


  • First Prize: Elyse Williams (Brimble)
    Strategies Towards the Synthesis of Aminovinyl(methyl)cysteinecontaining Antibacterial Peptides
  • Second Prize: Martijn Wildervanck (Brothers)
    Synthesis, Characterization and Optical Properties of Sugar-OBODIPY Complexes Elucidated with DFT
  • Third Prize: Ryan Dixon (Sperry)
    Photo-crosslinked Meridianin F derivatives for the identification of a PSA-NCAM modulator

 

Elyse Williams
Elyse Williams (left)
Martijn Wildervanck (left)
Martijn Wildervanck (left)
Ryan Dixon (left)
Ryan Dixon (left)

General poster competition


  • First Prize: Jared Freeman (Brimble)
    Synthetic Studies Towards the Potent Antibiotic Anthracimycin
  • Second Prize: Naasson Mbenza Mbambi (Leung)
    Understanding oxygen binding to human oxygen sensing enzymes
  • Third Prize (joint winners): Andrew Chan (Simpson)
    New on the Physics Menu: Superconducting Sandwiches
    and Rasangani Sabaragamuwa (Perera)
    Characterization and targeted quantification of potential neuroprotective bioactive phytochemicals of C. asiatica

 

Jared Freeman with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Jared Freeman with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Andrew Chan with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Andrew Chan with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Naasson Mbenza Mbambi with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Naasson Mbenza Mbambi with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Rasangani Sabaragamuwa with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Rasangani Sabaragamuwa with Associate Professor Douglas Elliffe
Top