Dean of the School
Professor Graciela Metternicht is an internationally recognised sustainability and environmental expert. Professor Metternicht brings extensive experience, strategic leadership and interdisciplinary knowledge to the role of Dean, serving to strengthen the School’s reputation for innovative teaching and learning, research and partnerships.
Professor Metternicht’s impressive career includes roles in academia, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as ongoing advisory roles with the Global Environment Facility, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the Australian Academy of Science. This professional transition between academia and government has provided Professor Metternicht with unique expertise in translational research and science-policy interface related to environmental management and sustainability.
Her research interests include the field of environmental geography, with a focus on geospatial technologies and their application in environmental management and policy, such as sustainable land management, land degradation, indicators, ecosystem services, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through her past research, as well as her ongoing association with the United Nations, Professor Metternicht has developed a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities of influencing policy, together with the barriers and enabling conditions that countries confront in policy-making.
Her work has been published in over 150 publications. In collaboration with multi-disciplinary teams, her work has improved national natural resource management databases, informed national and international policy reviews and has contributed to national and international debates on policy instruments for advancing sustainable development.
As well as holding numerous professional memberships and advisory roles, including as chair of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Action Board, Professor Metternicht is an Honorary Fellow of the International Cartographic Association, Fellow of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute of Australia and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Deputy Dean of the School
Associate Professor Gary Dennis
has had lecturing positions at the University of Sydney, University of New England and Western Sydney University. He has made significant contributions to understanding the chromatography and surface chemistry of polymers and block-copolymers. His use of anionic and RAFT techniques for the controlled synthesis of polymers has allowed a) measurement of the Gibbs Free Energy of interaction in chromatographic systems, b) diffusion of polymers, c) dispersion of nano-particles and d) stability of monolayers at the air-water interface. He has published 110 journal papers as well as 22 technical proceedings. Associate Professor Dennis has a significant track record of interaction with Industry, principally involving projects on polymer, surface and analytical chemistries and he has completed over 150 industrial projects. He has successfully completed projects for many companies including BP, Dow Corning, Cable Makers, BHP and 3M. He has supervised 28 Honours, 4 MSc and 24 PhD students. Email: G.Dennis@westernsydney.edu.au
Associate Dean Learning and Teaching, Dr Graham Jones
Associate Dean Research, Professor John Hunt
Associate Dean Masters, Associate Professor Michelle Moffit
Associate Dean Research and HDR Training, Associate Professor Liza Cubeddu
Associate Dean International and Engagement, Professor Zhonghua Chen
Professor Zhonghua Chen is Associate Dean International and Engagement at the School of Science and Education Leader of the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre at Western Sydney University. He has an internationally-recognized track record of research excellence in agriculture, plant science and evolutionary biology. He teaches into undergraduate and postgraduate units at WSU. Since 2005, his research has resulted in over 100 publications include high quality research articles on Proceedings of National Academy of Science USA, Trends in Plant Science, The Plant Cell, eLife, Ecology Letters, Plant Physiology, New Phytologist, Plant Biotechnology Journal, and The Plant Journal. He has obtained research grants from the ARC, HIA, CRDC, GRDC, and AISRF in the past five years and received a range of research awards. He is the Editor in Chief for Plant Growth Regulation and a reviewer for over 60 international journals. He is also an international referee for grant applications to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Netherland Organization for Scientific Research, Swiss National Science Foundation, Natural Science Foundation of China, South Africa National Research Foundation etc.
Associate Dean Global Engagement, Associate Professor Kamali Kannangara
Associate Professor Kamali Kannangara is an Organic Chemist and at present, the Associate Dean Global Engagement in the School of Science. She has over 60 refereed publications on synthesis of organic/metallorganic compounds and nanomaterials, including multi-step synthesis of cannabinoid metabolites and analogues and the use of spectroscopic techniques for the elucidation of molecular structure. These synthetic skills have been successfully applied to other fields such as nanotechnology, geochemistry, environmental and forensic sciences. She has worked on controlled synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), functionalisation of CNTs using microwave irradiation conditions, mainly to improve the dispersion of CNTs to form nanocomposites with improved material and mechanical properties. She has co-authored a book on "Nanotechnology" - UNSW and CRC Press, published in 2002. Together with Dr Adriyan Milev, she has been successful in receiving Australia-India Strategic Research funds (2013-16) to develop new cathode materials for Lithium ion battery. After joining UWS in 2003, she has played a key role in organising and acquiring the state-of-art research facilities on materials characterisation and setting the research on an upward trajectory; publishing regularly in internationally recognized journals, deriving part of their research funding from the very competitive funding schemes. She has supervised and co-supervised a number of higher degree students. At present, she is a team member of the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Research and Education Collaboration (AMCREC) at the Western Sydney University and is keen to explore research in to synthesis of medicinal cannabinoids and analogues.
School Manager, Janette Rawlinson
Jannette Rawlinson brings with her over 10 years experience in higher education, including having previously managed the Research School of Computer Science at ANU. Janette hails from Western Sydney, and is delighted to be in a position to directly contribute to her local University.
Directors of Academic Programs
Science, Dr Chris Gordon
Dr Chris Gordon
On the successful completion of his PhD studies at the University of Wollongong in 2007 which focused on the development of compounds which inhibit HIV, Dr Gordon commenced a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Newcastle. Although the primary focus of this three-year tenure was the development of anti-parasitic drugs for the livestock industry, a substantial emphasis was also placed on devising efficient and greener synthetic methodologies to reduce the environmental impacts of synthetic chemistry. These investigations included developing solvent free reactions, multi-component reactions, and the replacement of volatile organic solvents with environmentally friendly equivalents such as ionic liquids. Additionally he was afforded the opportunity to play a key role in establishing the University of Newcastle flow chemistry facility where a number of novel applications for new flow chemical reactors was devised.
In early 2010 Dr Gordon embarked on an international posting as a senior postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nottingham Centre for Biomolecular Sciences UK under the guidance of Professor Paul Williams and Associate Professor Weng Chan. Here their research efforts focused on the development of next generation antibiotics which function by inhibiting bacterial quorum sensing. This scrambling of bacterial communication significantly reduces the virulence of a number of dangerous superbugs including S. aureus. Additionally quorum sensing inhibiting molecules are typically non-lethal to bacteria and thus it is anticipated will be less likely to drive the evolution of resistance. Their research efforts culminated in the development of a number of S. aureus antibiotics displaying sub-nanomolar activity and they are continuing the development of these molecules towards the clinic.
In 2012 Dr Gordon returned to Australia to establish an independent research career as university research fellow at the University of Newcastle were he continued his research interests of developing next generation antibiotics, anti-cancer agents, and the development of molecular probes to study post-translational protein modifications such as protein phosphorylation.
In 2013 Dr Gordon was awarded an ARC DECRA fellowship to focus on continued development of flow-chemistry methodologies. Flow reactors are tubular or chip-based systems in which reagent streams are continuously pumped through reaction chambers and/or columns containing solid-supported reagents and chemical scavengers. Compared to tradition batch chemistry processing, the advantages of flow chemistry are numerous and include faster reactions, cleaner products, safer reactions, quick reaction optimisation, easy scale-up, and the integration of typically separate processes such as work-up and analysis. The all-encompassing aim of this research is to devise cutting-edge multi-step total-flow-synthesis methodologies which are highly versatile, robust, and pertinent to the wider synthetic community.
In 2014 Dr Gordon was privileged to establish an academic career at Western Sydney University as lecturer of organic and medicinal chemistry. Here our current research focuses on utilising our flow chemistry methodologies to drive our medicinal chemistry programs which are geared towards the development of antibacterial compounds, radiopharmaceuticals, cancer suppressing agents, and molecular probes to study post-translation protein modifications.
Science, Dr Mark Jones
Dr Mark Jones conducted his PhD in Sydney, with CSIRO, from 1988 to the end of 1990. Following 2 years international experience at the National Institutes of Health (NIH, Institute of Child Health & Human Development) in Washington DC and 2 years at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), in La Jolla, California (USA), Dr Jones subsequently returned to CSIRO, as a Senior Research Scientist/Project Leader. As a research manager Dr Jones participated in 2 CRC's and secured >$4M of industry funds for cross-institutional research programs, supported an AusIndustry Development project and established a laboratory with innovative Postgraduate and Postdoctoral training programs. The commercial nature of Dr Jones' research activities resulted in Intellectual Property, including National & International Patents. Dr Jones joined UWS in the winter of 2001 taking on the challenge of developing advanced Blended and Problem Based Learning in the Biochemistry disciplines, including Molecular Medicine and Cellular Biotechnology. Dr Jones' laboratory has successfully supported over 50 graduate and postgraduate students as well as six Postdoctoral Fellows to date. More recently Dr Jones, as Chief Investigator, was charged with securing $2M of funding from the Federal Government that enabled the development of the UWS Confocal Bio-Imaging Facility.
Medical Science, Dr Sabine Piller
Dr Sabine Piller was born in Vienna, Austria and lived there for 20 years. Coming from a landlocked country, she was always interested in marine biology and completed a MSc degree in marine physiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After working in the Neurophysiology Department at the University of Vienna, Sabine commenced her PhD studies at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, where she was instrumental in discovering that a protein from HIV had ion channel forming capabilities. Sabine received the Frank Fenner Medal for the best PhD thesis in 1999 and undertook her postdoctoral studies at the Centre for AIDS Research in Birmingham, Alabama before returning to Australia in 2000 as the recipient of a Young Investigator Award from the Centre for Immunology at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney. In 2003, Sabine relocated her research group to the Westmead Millennium Institute where she headed the HIV Protein Functions Group. Sabine joined Western Sydney University in 2008 as a Senior Lecturer in Physiology in the School of Biomedical and Health Sciences and has since established an active research team. Sabine also holds an Adjunct Position in the School of Medicine at Western Sydney University.
Medical Science, Dr Manisha Dayal
Agriculture & Food Sciences, Professor David Tissue
Professor David Tissue
Chemical & Forensic Sciences, Vacant
Environment & Ecology, Professor Mark Tjoelker
Professor Mark Tjoelker is the Associate Director of the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment and science leader of the Hawkesbury Forest Experiment whole-tree chamber research facility. He is a leading plant biologist and ecologist with expertise in the impacts of global environmental change on trees and forest ecosystems in natural and managed contexts. His research expertise includes climate change effects on respiration and carbon cycling, climatic adaptation in plant traits, plantation forestry, urban forestry and the biogeography of forest tree species. A goal of his research is to advance fundamental knowledge of plant and ecosystem responses to environmental change and provide science-based information to inform policy choices. Professor Tjoelker served as an advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture through the Forestry Research Advisory Council. He has authored more than 125 refereed journal articles and edited the book, The Biology and Ecology of Norway Spruce (Springer, 2007). His published work is among the most cited (top 1%) in the refereed literature (ISI, Essential Science Indicators). Professor Tjoelker was appointed to the prestigious ARC College of Experts commencing in 2019. The College plays a key role in identifying research excellence in the ARC National Competitive Grants Program, moderating external assessments and recommending applications for funding. Prior to arriving at Western in 2011, Professor Tjoelker was a faculty member in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University, USA.
Physics, Professor Miroslav Filipovic
Professor Miroslav Filipovic
Astronomy, Science, Education and Computing are Professor Filipovic's profession, hobby, interest and passion. Especially, research in Astronomy has been a source of fascination since the early 1980s.
Imaging at all frequencies, especially at radio and X-rays, are his main ‘tools’. All the work is closely related to understanding the evolution of, and interactions between galaxies and the processes of star-formation and star evolution as they affect galaxy evolution. Also, he has been involved in projects that develop astronomical software (for data reduction, exp. MIRIAD, IRAF, AIPS++, MIDAS and NOD2).
Throughout his professional career he has been fortunate to work with the best instruments (telescopes) ever built. These include: Australia Telescope Compact Array, Very Large Array, Parkes, ROSAT, XMM-Newton, CHANDRA, NANTEN2, Hubble Space Telescope and South African Large Telescope. Also, he is a member of a few large consortia to build the next generation of instruments such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA and its precursor ASKAP) and eROSITA.
Professor Filipovic's major scientific research interests are in Supernova Remnants (SNRs), Super Planetary Nebulae (PNe), Milky Way structure and mass extinctions, HII regions, X-ray Binaries, Active Galactic Nucleus, Local Group of galaxies, Masers, Extrasolar Planets, Search for local/nearby Brawn Dwarfs, X-ray background radiation (SPT & Pavo deep field), virtual observatory, comets, star/planet formation and Stellar Content (WR, O, B stars) in nearby galaxies.
Zoological Sciences, Professor John Hunt
Professor John Hunt