Chemistry Research

Chris Sumby chemistry photo

Our chemists are working across applied projects in health, environment, wine and food, energy technology and defence.

Chemistry is a key component of many emerging fields of study including drug-synthesis for resistant bacteria, cancer treatments and renewable energy. The Department of Chemistry at the University of Adelaide is participating in these exciting new areas of research.

Our research involves many new technologies which are influencing the field of chemistry including synchrotron and mass spectrometry, x-ray crystallography, nanotechnology, computational methods, lasers and synthetic biology.

We also undertake award-winning research in fundamental chemistry spanning the traditional disciplines.

Work with us as we make new discoveries, facilitate important scientific activities and train researchers of the future.


    Energy, materials and environmental chemistry

    Chemistry image

    Researchers in this area undertake research into the key areas of energy conversion and storage, catalysis, and environmental chemistry.

    As part of this focus, research is conducted into the design and synthesis of novel organic and inorganic molecules, molecular assemblies and solid-state materials.

    This enables the construction of new types of molecular devices, catalysts, porous adsorbents, molecular transporters and stimuli-responsive sensors. Such activities intersect with research priorities in energy, defence and advanced manufacturing.

    Medicinal and biological chemistry

    Abell Lab

    Researchers in this area investigate the chemistry of proteins and peptides, to answer important biological questions relating to the causation and prevention of diseases.

    Further work in this area focuses on drug design and development, including the identification and synthesis of novel small molecules to block or activate cellular targets. These activities overlap with research priorities such as healthy ageing and understanding the mechanisms of disease.

    Underpinning capabilities

    Chemistry image

    The research themes above, and many of the wider research activities of the university, depend upon state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge techniques that include synthetic methods, purification, analytical and computational capabilities.

    These capabilities enable the innovative research taking place in the Department of Chemistry, along with significant interactions with internal and external collaborators and research end-users.

    We're excited that our chemistry researchers consists of the recipients of many research awards.

    • Member of the Order of Australia
    • 7 x Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Fellows
    • 4 x Royal Society of Chemistry Fellows
    • Australian Fulbright Ambassador
    • New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Fellow
    • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science
    • ARC Fellowships - three Future Fellowships, three Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellowships and one Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship
    • Member ARC college of experts
    • 3 x South Australian Young Tall Poppy awards
    • RACI Adrien Albert Prize
    • Alexander R Matzuk International Prize
    • RACI Athel Beckwith Lectureship
    • 3 x Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowships
    • SCANZ Sandy Mathieson award
    • Chemistry Society of Japan International lectureship award

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