Tag Archives: Alfonso Garcia-Bennett

CNBP at ‘Science meets Policymakers’

8 August 2017:

CNBP was well represented at the STA ‘Science meets Policymakers’ event held in Canberra, August 8, 2017.

Researchers A/Prof Guozhen Liu, Dr Alf Garcia-Bennett, Dr Sanam Mustafa and Dr Hannah Brown all attended and heard a number of talks on topics ranging from ‘A Whole Government approach to Science Policy’, to ‘A Crash-course in STEM and Policy Making’ through to discussion on ‘Positive and Meaningful Contributions to Policy.’

A/Prof Guozhen Liu particularly enjoyed the ‘Working Round Table’ discussion. “We discussed the 2030 Strategic Plan for the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System, which will help shape future science activity in Australia. It was emphasized that Australia encourages both fundamental and applied research, and that research excellence is key.”

A/Prof Liu also noted the importance of effective communication between stakeholders. “Methods and approaches to drive effective and engaged connections between Universities, Government and Industry were topics that were explored and discussed in depth throughout the day.”

The ‘Science meets Policymakers’ event brought together researchers and practitioners from a range of science and technology disciplines, with policymakers from across government departments and agencies. Objectives included to make connections and to examine the intersection between the evidence base and actual policy development.

CNBP meets the pollies

Hannah-and-CPyne4 March 2016:

CNBP fully embraced the opportunities provided by the just completed ‘Science meets Parliament’ event, organised by Science & Technology Australia, March 1-2, 2016.

The event, attracting 200 of Australia’s top scientists across all disciplines, aimed to help researchers understand how politics, policymaking and the media work, and gave them an opportunity to look at their science from an alternate point of view.

Over 100 federal parliamentarians also took part in the event, taking one-to-one meetings with scientists, attending debates and dinners and having informal discussions.

Attending from the CNBP were Director Prof Mark Hutchinson and researchers Dr Hannah Brown, Dr Alfonso Garcia-Bennett and Dr Melanie McDowall – all were focused on networking, meeting politicians and better understanding ways of improving communication of CNBP science to media, policymakers and parliamentarians.

STA President and CNBP Chief Investigator Professor Jim Piper was also actively involved, undertaking hosting and MC duties throughout the full two-day program, as well as meeting with key politicians and stakeholders.

Highlights included Prof Hutchinson and his involvement on a Q&A style panel, discussing his experiences as a ‘Science meets Parliament’ alumni. Outlined were tips on dealing with politicians including the need for researchers to engage more effectively with stakeholders, to keep it simple, to talk with passion and to stimulate interest through high-quality communication of exciting science.

An undoubted highlight for CNBP’s Hannah Brown and Alfonso Garcia-Bennett was getting the chance to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss their science. Both absolutely enjoyed the experience of meeting Australia’s leader and seeing his enthusiasm for innovative and ground breaking research.

In addition to this, the CNBP team managed to meet a wide number of parliamentarians throughout the two day program (both formally and informally), this including Minister Christopher Pyne, Minister Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister Karen Andrews, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and MPs Terri Butler, Adam Bandt, Andrew Southcott and Melissa Parke.

CNBP Director Mark Hutchinson summed up the event, “The SmP 2016 experience continued to surprise and inform me of new challenges and opportunities for scientific endeavours in the Australian political arena. It was so refreshing to hear from scientific leaders and policy makers of their driving passion to support our research efforts through quality and workable policy and political engagement.”

A ‘Behind the Scenes’ video taken at Science Meets Parliament by the RiAus also featured CNBP talent, with researchers Mel and Hannah figuring prominently.

CNBP is already looking forward to next year’s event!

PM _Science meets Parliament

Future Fellowship awarded

Alfonso Garcia-Bennett (2)16 December 2015:

Congratulations to CNBP Research Fellow Dr Alfonso Garcia-Bennett, who today was awarded $674,352.00 under the ARC Future Fellowships scheme for 2016.

The Fellowship which provides funding for four years, will allow Alfonso to develop his research in determining how the intrinsic physico-chemical properties of nanoparticles translate into extrinsic biological properties through their interaction with physiological proteins in the body. This enabling efficient cellular targeting of pharmaceutical drugs in the body.

Further information on the Future Fellowships scheme, the Fellowships awarded and Alfonso’s project can be found at the Australian Research Council (ARC) web site, online.


Alf Garcia-Bennett at IMMS-9

Alfonso Garcia-Bennett (2)20 August 2015:

Alf Garcia-Bennett, CNBP Research Fellow, has given an oral presentation at the 9th International Mesostructured Materials Symposium (IMMS-9) with an abstract titled “.”

The event, at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, facilitated discussion on progress and perspectives, fundamental challenges for synthesis chemistry, and industrial applications of mesostructured materials. Approximately 350 participants, 200 posters and about 10 exhibitors featured at the conference.

For more information, please refer to the conference website: www.imms9.org.


In recent years new approaches to the synthesis of mesoporous materials have been developed focusing on the use of non-surfactant templates that can offer new functions within the mesoporous produced without the need to eliminate the pore forming agent. Such functions may include the use of pharmaceutically active compounds as pore forming agents or the use of chiral compounds to transcribe a chiral surface within the pores. Furthermore, avoiding the need to remove the pore template by calcination has both environmental and economic consequences.

Recently we reported the synthesis of mesoporous material NGM-1 nanoporous guanosine material-1) which is prepared through the use of supramolecular template guanosine monophosphate (GMP), a nucleotide monomer in messenger RNA. The supramolecular assembly of GMP occurs via the formation of G4-quartets, hydrogen bonded species that supported via pi-stacking interactions form chiral hexagonal columnar species. These are stabilized via the  formation of cations (cations (Na+, K+, Rb+, Sr2+) which may direct the formation of various supramolecular structures.

The synthesis and structural properties of a variety of GMP template materials will be reported, highlighting the effects that the pore template has on the pore surface. Evidence based on a variety of techniques including X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and circular dichroism as well as other spectroscopic methods will be utilized in order to show the chiral transcription of the template within the pores of the ordered mesoporous materials produced.

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”.