Keynote Speakers

Weibo Cai

Weibo Cai is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Radiology, Medical Physics, Materials Science & Engineering, and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He received a BS degree in Chemistry from Nanjing University, China (1995) and a PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of California San Diego (2004). Between 2005 and 2008, Dr. Cai did his post-doctoral research in the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford University. In February 2008, Dr. Cai joined the University of Wisconsin - Madison as a Biomedical Engineering Cluster Hire, and was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in 2014, and Full Professor in 2018. Dr. Cai’s research at UW-Madison is primarily focused on molecular imaging and nanobiotechnology.

Dr. Cai has served various roles (e.g. consultant, collaborator, scientific advisor, chief scientific officer) for several industrial corporations. He has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of Focus-X Therapeutics, Inc. (a preclinical biotechnology company in New Jersey, founded in 2020 for development of radiopharmaceuticals), which was acquired by Full-Life Technologies (a Cayman company operated in China and Europe) for more than $200M in 2023.

Laura Domigan

Dr Laura Domigan is a biomaterials scientist based in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland Waipapa Taumata Rau. She is the co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Opo Bio Aotearoa, New Zealand’s first cultivated meat company. 

Laura’s research focus is sustainable protein materials, including formulating new biomaterials for surgical use and cell-based meat production.

Justin Gooding

Scientia Professor Justin Gooding is a Scientia Professor in the School of Chemistry at the University of New South Wales and is currently an National Health and Medical Research Council Leadership Fellow as well as a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and was previously an Australian Research Council Australian Laureate Fellow. He is the inaugural editor-in-chief of the journal ACS Sensors. He is the former founding co-director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine and the co-director of the New South Wales Smart Sensing Network. 

He leads a research team of over 40 researchers interested in surface modification and nanotechnology for biosensors for medical applications, electrocatalysis and 3D cell printing. He has extensive collaborative experience with start-up companies and has been involved in the commercialisation of glucose biosensors, 3D bioprinters and an in vivo sensing platform for therapeutic drug monitoring.

Zaiping Guo

Professor Zaiping Guo is an Australian Laureate Fellow at School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Adelaide. She received her PhD from University of Wollongong in 2003 and was elected to Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2023. Her research focuses on the design and application of electrode materials and electrolyte for energy storage and conversion, including rechargeable batteries, hydrogen storage, and fuel cells. Her research achievements have been recognized through numerous awards, including an ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship in 2010, an ARC Future Professorial Fellowship in 2015, an ARC Laureate Fellowship (2021), and the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher Award in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. Furthermore, in 2020, she was honored with the NSW Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering, specifically for her outstanding achievements in Engineering or Information and Communications Technology

Charles Henry

Dr. Charles Henry is a Professor of Chemistry, Chemical & Biological Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering at Colorado State University and an adjunct Professor in the Metallurgy and Materials Science Research Institute at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. He received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Ingrid Fritsch at the University of Arkansas and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the University of Kansas under the supervision of Dr. Susan Lunte. His research interests lie broadly in the areas of microfluidics, electrochemistry, and sensors with application to questions in bioanalytical and environmental chemistry. Dr. Henry was the recipient of the inaugural ACS Measurement Science award in 2019 and was named Professor Laureate by the College of Natural Sciences at CSU. Dr. Henry has helped found multiple startup companies and is an associate editor for Analytica Chimica Acta.

Kaye Minkyung Kang

Dr Minkyung Kang completed her PhD at the University of Warwick (UK) in 2018. She worked as a research fellow at Imperial College London (2017-2018) and the University of Warwick (2018-2020; Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship) before joining Deakin University in 2020. In 2023, she has joined the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney as an ARC DECRA fellow/lecturer. Her research focus centres around electrochemistry, and she is currently working on developing a unique electrochemical imaging technology to aid in the rational design of efficient energy conversion/storage materials.

Doug MacFarlane

Professor Doug MacFarlane is a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor at Monash University. He was a BSc(Hons) graduate from Victoria University of Wellington and then undertook his PhD at Purdue University before taking up a position at Monash. His interests include electrochemistry of ionic liquids and applications in renewable energy, including generation of hydrogen and ammonia. He has published more than 800 papers, cited > 80,000 times (h-index 134). He has been a Clarivate “highly cited author” since 2019. He was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2007 and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2009. His group has recently spun-out a company, Jupiter Ionics P/L to scale up their ammonia production technology and was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 2023 Horizon Prize.

Jenny Malmstrom 

Jenny Malmström is an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland, a PI of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and a co-director of the centre of Innovative Materials for Health. She received her MSc degree in Bioengineering from Chalmers and a Ph.D. in Nanoscience from iNANO at the University of Århus. Her research group focusses on creating functional biointerfaces to understand and control biological systems and on using materials and inspiration from nature to produce functional materials. For example, the group works to understand non-classical properties of biological molecules, such as piezoelectricity, and uses self-assembly of magnetic molecules to create advanced materials. 

Xianwen Mao

Dr. Xianwen Mao is an assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering with Presidential Young Professorship at National University of Singapore. He obtained a Bachelor in Polymer Materials and Engineering from Tsinghua University and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his PhD, Xianwen also worked as a research intern at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics in Italy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US. The goal of the Mao research group is to engineer mesoscale functional heterogeneities in artificial materials. We design high-performance materials based on insights from operando functional imaging tools that elucidate the functional roles of mesostructures and their relations to atomic/molecular information and macroscopic properties. Dr. Mao’s expertise is on operando imaging and his current research interests are in the area of sustainability technologies, focusing on green hydrogen, carbon capture and water treatment.  Dr. Mao’s research works and technological innovations have been frequently featured in news media such as New York Times and Chemical & Engineering News.

Chiara Neto

Chiara Neto is Professor in the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney and an expert in spreading and flow at liquid/solid interfaces, super-wettability surfaces, and microfluidic flows. She is on the Editorial Board of Langmuir, the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, and of Advanced Materials Interfaces. She was Founding Director (2012-2018) and President of the Australasian Colloids and Interface Society (ACIS, 2015-2018), and Domain Leader of the University of Sydney Nano Institute (2016 - 2018). She is currently member of the Council of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientist. She has published over 100 papers and four patent families. In 2022 she co-founded start-up company Dewpoint Innovations that will commercialise paint coatings for atmospheric water capture.

Christina Roth

Christina Roth is a trained Materials Scientist who graduated from Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, in 1998. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in the group of Prof. Hartmut Fueß in 2002 in the field of fuel cells. In 2003 she joined the team of Prof. Richard Nichols in Liverpool with a Feodor-Lynen fellowship. Christina was awarded a German junor professorship at TU Darmstadt in 2004, before she became a full professor in Applied Physical Chemistry at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2012. Since 2019, she is chair holder at the engineering science faculty of the Universität Bayreuth, where she specializes in electrochemical process engineering. Her research interests are in the areas of fuel cells, redox flow batteries, lithium ion batteries and CO2 electro-reduction with a focus on operando spectroscopy and structuring of 3D porous electrodes.  

Fun fact: Can only be re-fuelled with decent amounts of coffee and would like to do cyclic voltammetry in orange juice (pulp-free, of course).   

Kirrily Rule

Kirrily Rule is a Principal Instrument Scientist at ANSTO, co-responsible for operating the neutron triple-axis spectrometers, Taipan and Sika at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering. Kirrily is also an honorary Professor at the University of Wollongong, Australia, where she is currently supervising 3 PhD students.  Since 2019 Kirrily has also been involved in the Australian Research Council centre of excellence, FLEET (Future Low Energy Electronic Technologies) as a Partner Investigator and is currently sitting on the executive committee of FLEET as Communications Team Leader.

After completing her PhD in condensed matter physics from Monash University, Kirrily took up a position at McMaster University, Canada to investigate novel and frustrated magnetic materials. From there Kirrily moved to Germany as a neutron scattering instrument scientist for the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, investigating low dimensional quantum magnets in extreme environments. In 2012 Kirrily returned to Australia where she now focuses her research on understanding dynamics in materials in the fields of magnetism, surface physics and thin films, solid-state physics, and medical physics. This has led to recent high-impact publications based on functional materials which includes thermoelectric materials, solar-cells, and magnetic topological insulators.  

Frederique Vanholsbeeck

Starting out with a degree in architecture, Frederique's research career turned to Physics. In 2001, she was awarded the Scientific Prize of the Belgian Physical Society for the best Masters thesis in physics. The aim of her thesis was to model gas transport in the lungs. She received her PhD in 2003 for investigating nonlinear optical phenomena in fibers for applications to wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) telecommunication systems and to Raman optical amplifiers. In 2004, she commenced a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Auckland. In 2005, she was appointed to the position of Lecturer in the Department of Physics. A history of University-industry research engagement includes the development of a patented all-fibre real time spectroscopic optical probe (or optrode) and now focuses on monitoring bacterial processes as well as using optical coherence tomography (OCT) to monitor soft tissue and food quality with over 40 publications in this area of expertise. She is now the Director of the Dodd Walls centre, a Centre of Research Excellence for Photonics and Quantum Technology in New Zealand and the presidents of the Australian and New Zealand Optical Society. She has been awarded the NZAS Hill-Tinsley medal in 2020, the OSA (Optical Society of America) Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Recognition inaugural award in 2018, and the Miriam Dell Excellence in Science Mentoring Award and the Dean’s Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching in 2017.

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