WA Branch Chemaraderie March 2023

WA Branch face to face networking event. All are welcome.

Come to WA Branch Chemaraderie March 2023


  5.30pm Tuesday 21 March 2023

This month will highlight the research by two WA students that were awarded prizes at the 2022 RACI National Congress held in Brisbane. Ashlee Gallagher, a Ph.D. student at Curtin University, presented a Flash presentation on the “Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Anti-Parasitic Compounds” and won the prize in the Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology Symposium Collaborative Drug Discovery section. 
Nicholas Stapleton, a Ph.D. student at the University of Western Australia, won a poster prize for “Determining Suitable Periodic DFT Methods for Modelling Titan-Relevant Molecular Minerals” in the Physical Chemistry Symposium RACI and Symposium Poster Prize section.

Please come along and meet Ashlee and Nicholas and hear about their research. In the meantime, here are their abstracts and biographies:

Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Anti-Parasitic Compounds

 Ashlee Gallagher, Dr Jason Chaplin, Dr Hendra Gunosewoyo, Prof Mauro Mocerino.  
 Curtin University,  Epichem Pty. Ltd
AG: [email protected], JC: [email protected], HG: [email protected], MM: [email protected]

Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Anti-Parasitic compounds
Parasitic protozoa are single-celled, eukaryotic microorganisms that are the cause of a number of different diseases. These diseases including malaria, human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis, collectively put billions of individuals at risk, and cause up to a million deaths annually. Currently, the lack of available vaccinations for these diseases means that their control is heavily reliant on effective treatment options. Unfortunately, many of the current treatment options face significant drawbacks such as low efficacy, negative side effects or long and expensive treatment regimes. In addition, many are being threatened by the emergence of parasitic drug resistance. All of these factors further intensify the enormous health, social and economic burden of these diseases, and create a great need for ongoing research and development of anti-parasitic compounds. This is where my research comes in. In this talk, I will share some of the findings of my PhD project which has focused in the synthesis of tetrahydroisoquinoline derivatives (and similar compounds), for investigation of their inhibitory activity against the parasites responsible for malaria, HAT, Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis, hopefully moving us closer to being able to combat some of these parasitic protozoan diseases.

Ashlee is a PhD student at Curtin university, conducting research in the field of medicinal chemistry. Under the supervision of Prof Mauro Mocerino, Dr Hendra Gunosewoyo, and Dr Jason Chaplin, her research is focused on the synthesis of anti-parasitic compounds for malaria and a variety of neglected tropical diseases. She graduated with first class honours in chemistry at the end of 2019, and was a recipient of the Rowe Scientific Scholarship for the commencement of her PhD in 2020. When she is not in the lab, you will generally find her at the beach or off camping in her van.


Extending Titan Mineralogy

Nicholas Stapleton
Principle supervisor: Dr Dino Spagnoli
Co-supervisors: Dr Helen E Maynard-Casely and Prof Stephen A Moggach
The University of Western Australia
[email protected]

Extending Titan Mineralogy
Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has geological features similar to those found on Earth, with seas, lakes and sweeping dunes. Unlike the Earth, however, the temperature hardly varies from around 92 K and the surface composition is dominated by a wide variety of molecular materials composed of H, C and N. These chemicals are produced via photochemical reactions in the moon’s upper atmosphere in a haze layer, which slowly settle down onto the surface. The presence of liquid hydrocarbon seas and an active weather system on Titan could allow for deposited ‘pure’ compounds from the atmosphere to mix and form molecular co-crystals.
In this talk, I will outline Titan’s unique chemical and physical composition which allows the moon to have such a broad organic chemical inventory and diverse mineralogy. As Titan mineralogy is a relatively new area of research, I have conducted an extensive periodic density functional theory benchmark study of Titan-relevant molecular co-crystals and their co-formers. In addition, two new structures of straight chain nitriles have been determined via high-pressure X-ray crystallographic techniques. This project in part aims to determine structure-property relations of Titan-relevant molecular crystals, which could lead to more complete understandings of how geological processes affect and interact with minerals on the surface of the moon, as little is known of such phenomena.

Nicholas Stapleton is a PhD student at the University of Western Australia. His research project is on extending the knowledge of Titan’s mineralogy through a mix of experimental and computational techniques. He has used Pawsey’s Magnus supercomputer since 2020, and the state-of-the-art Setonix since 2022, with a focus on gas-phase simulations and molecular crystal modelling. Nicholas has conducted several high-pressure single crystal X-ray diffraction experiments with the use of diamond anvil cells. Over the past year, he has gained experience on the WOMBAT and ECHIDNA beamlines at ANSTO by conducting powder diffraction experiments to structurally determine deuterated forms of molecular co-crystals. Nicholas currently holds an AINSE PGRA scholarship.


Date:     Tuesday 21 March 2023

Time:     From 5.30pm.  Presentation commences at 6.00pm. 

               Refreshments prior and at seminar conclusion

Venue:   Exhibition Area, Building 500, Curtin University

               Plenty of free parking is available close to the venue at this time of day.

Cost:      $12 Members, $15 Non-members, $5 students.

Online registration is encouraged prior to attendance.

3/21/2023 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
W. Australia Standard Time
Curtin University Perth WA AUSTRALIA

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