Monthly Archives: June 2015

Visitor Dr Lina Geng

image description29 June 2015:

We welcome our latest visitor to CNBP, the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and the University of Adelaide School of Physical Sciences, Dr Lina Geng.

Dr Geng from China, will spend six months in Prof Andrew Abell’s group from June to December, 2015.

Dr Lina Geng earned her M.Sci and Ph.D degrees in inorganic chemistry. After the completion of her PhD degree, she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in physiology. Presently, she is an associate professor in inorganic chemistry at Hebei Normal University, China. Her research interests involve gas sensing, iron metabolism and liposome drug delivery systems.


Roman Kostecki at ICMAT2015

Roman Kostecki28 June 2015:

CNBP researcher Roman Kostecki presented his latest research paper at the 8th International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies (ICMAT2015). The conference, twinned with the 4th Photonics Global Conference took place in Singapore 28 June – 3 July 2015.

The paper, titled “Thin-film Polymer Functionalization of Optical Fiber Enabling Multiligand Chemosensing” was published with an author list consisting of Roman KOSTECKI, Sabrina HENG, Heike EBENDORFF-HEIDEPRIEM, Andrew ABELL, and Tanya MONRO.


Silica exposed-core microstructured optical fibers (EC-MOFs) are a platform for distributed, in situ, and/or remote sensors based on fluorescence. The portion of light guided outside of the glass core, often described as ‘evanescent field’, is affected by the refractive index and absorption characteristics of the surrounding medium. This light-matter overlap provides opportunities for fluorometric measurements of the composition and concentration of an analyte along the fiber length. Functionalizing the core with a chemosensor removes the need for chemosensor/analyte premixing. Detection of aluminum cations (Al) is of particular interest as a means to monitor corrosion, human health and the environment.

We demonstrate the first example of a photo-switchable chemosensor for Al detection using a modified photochromic spiropyran (SP-I), which is appended to an ionophore for cation binding. Photochemical switching of the spiropyran allows ion binding to be switched on and off, creating a multiple use chemosensor. The SP-I sensor binds Al or calcium cations as multi- or single-ligand complexes respectively, and was modified for surface attachment. Silane- or polyelectrolyte-based methodology allows subsequent attachment of the SP-I to a glass surface. Studies with the dual ion binding SP-I integrated with the EC-MOF sensing platform provide evidence that covalent attachment is ineffective, where multiligand binding chemosensors are needed. Functionalizing EC-MOFs with a thin-film (50 nm) polymer doped with SP-I demonstrates capacity to use both multi- and single-ligand binding chemosensors. This demonstrates that the integration of photo-switchable chemosensor, thin-film polymer, and silica optical fiber elements creates a sensor capable of multiligand chemosensing anywhere along the fiber’s length. The work demonstrates a new pathway to next generation reusable and continuous operation ion sensing platforms, and that the local molecular environment of a chemosensor affects its function which can be used to control how metal ions interact with chemosensors.


CNBP represented at CYTO 2015

Yiqing Lu27 June 2015:

Associate Investigator Dr Yiqing Lu and PhD student Mr Xianlin Zheng were CNBP attendees at CYTO 2015 – the 30th Congress of the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry held in Glasgow, June 26-30, 2015.

Oral presentations were given by both – ‘A Multifunction Workstation Underpinning Lanthanide-Based Luminescence Techniques’ by Dr Lu and ‘Precise Pinpointing of Luminescent Targets Empowers Quantitative Scanning Cytometry’ by Mr Zheng.

Dr Lu was also on the program committee.

While in the UK, both researchers took the time to visit CNBP Partner Prof Tong Sun at City University London, as well as Prof Klaus Suhling at King’s College London and Prof Peter Sadler at the University of Warwick.

Talking science at Alberton Primary School

Vicky staikopoulos23 June 2015:

Vicky Staikopoulos, CNBP Research Fellow, was talking all things science at a recent outreach event at Alberton Primary School in Adelaide.

Invited to discuss how chemistry, physics and biology come together in the human body, Vicky’s focus was on light (physics), taste & digestion (chemistry) and how they affect the body (biology).

An interested and inquisitive group of 7-12 year olds, got to see what happens when food is ingested and digested via a video from YouTube, followed by a demonstration of what happens when food is placed into hydrochloric acid (the main acid in the stomach).

To understand how differing chemicals interact with the tongue for taste, the students participated in a paper testing experiment, where three children were given the same paper with a specific chemical and asked to describe their tasting experience. This also helped explain the differences, between people’s ability to sense and perceive chemicals.

Additionally, there was discussion about light and how it affects the human body (UV exposure on the skin and the production of vitamin D) and how people and other living organisms, see in differing wavelengths.

The session was judged to have been highly successful with feedback from the teacher noting much additional discussion from the students, on what they had seen and heard from this interactive outreach activity.

Supervised student selected as Reaxys finalist

Henry Pepper photo_web23 June 2015:

In a major international achievement, Henry Pepper from the University of Adelaide has been selected as one of the finalists for the 2015 Reaxys PhD Prize, from over 450 submissions around the world.

His representative paper entitled: ‘Biomimetic Total Synthesis of (±)-Merochlorin A’ was published in Angewandte Chemie, 2013.

Henry is the only finalist from an Australian university and he will attend the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium in Hong Kong in September 2015.

Henry is supervised by CNBP Associate Investigator Jonathan George (Principle supervisor) and CNBP Chief Investigator Andrew Abell (co-supervisor).

Additional information available from the following web site:

RACI Athel Beckwith Lectureship awarded

Jonathan George23 June 2015:

Jonathan George (CNBP Associate Investigator) has been awarded the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Athel Beckwith Lectureship for 2015.

This is an annual funded lectureship to allow outstanding, recently appointed, organic chemists to travel around Australia and present the results of their research work. The objective is to provide the Lecturer with the opportunity to achieve broader recognition and exposure at an early stage in their career.

Further information on the Lectureship can be found on the RACI web site:

Winning outreach strategy

Alfonso Garcia-Bennett (2)17 June 2015:

Ample use of liquid nitrogen and dry ice was a winning outreach strategy employed by CNBP Research Fellow, Alf Garcia-Bennett in his attempt to demonstrate to Year 1 school children, the differing states of matter.

In an hour long presentation to approximately 25 young students at Cammeray Public School in Sydney, Garcia-Bennett used these substances to demonstrate changes from liquids and solids to gas.

The changing properties of matter due to temperature was also demonstrated with the cooling of a piece of rubber to liquid nitrogen temperatures, where it was made brittle instead of flexible.

According to Garcia-Bennett, “The children had a lot of fun understanding the scale of matter from the size of a human hair to the size of atoms. They were also curious and surprisingly aware of concepts like particles and atoms. They particularly enjoyed the bubbles created by dry ice in contact with water and learnt how gases can be trapped within bubbles”.

Summing up the experience, Garcia-Bennett concluded, “It was a fun day with more outreach demonstrations to come in the future”.

Poster Presentation at International Mesostructured Materials Symposium

cnbplogosquare117 June 2015:

CNBP Affiliated PhD Candidate Olivia (Liuen) Liang from Macquarie University has been selected to give a poster presentation at the 9th annual International Mesostructured Materials Symposium.

Her presentation on UCNP bioconjugation, titled “Smart peptide linker conjugated upconversion nanoparticles for targeted cancer imaging and photodynamic therapy” is based on a paper by the following authors – Liuen Liang, Andrew Care, Run Zhang, Yiqing Lu, Nicolle Packer, Yi Qian and Andrei Zvyaginc.

IMMS-9 aims to foster discussion on developments in the synthesis and characterization of mesostructured materials for a wide range of applications, such as energy storage and conversion, biological technology, catalytic and environmental applications, and gas separation and purification. The conference takes place in Brisbane on August 17-20.