2019 Organic Division Award winners 

Published 9 September 2020


The RACI is proud to announce the following Organic Division Award winners for 2019. These awards were decided by a series of independent committees:

Dr Jessica Sayers has been awarded the Lew Mander Best PhD Thesis in Organic Chemistry Award
The Mander Best PhD Thesis in Organic Chemistry Award recognizes the best PhD thesis in the field of organic chemistry. 
Jessica obtaining an MChem degree from the University of York, and in 2015 commenced a PhD at the University of Sydney as a Northcote Postgraduate Scholar of the Britain-Australia Society, under the mentorship of Professor Richard Payne. Jessica’s PhD research involved the design and synthesis of amino acids bearing thiol and selenol auxiliaries for applications in protein synthesis via peptide ligation chemistry, as well as sensing. Jessica recently moved to a postdoctoral position at MIT where she is working on the development of semi-synthetic, cell-permeable ribonucleases for targeted RNA degradation. 

The committee were struck by both the quality of the science and its communication, which was commented upon by the thesis examiners.

Dr Lara Malins has been awarded the Athel Beckwith Lectureship
This is an annual award of the RACI Organic Chemistry Divisions for an early career researcher. 
Dr. Lara Malins is a Senior Lecturer and ARC DECRA fellow at the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University. She completed her B.A. in chemistry at Boston University in 2009 before relocating to The University of Sydney to undertake her PhD with Professor Richard Payne on the development of new peptide ligation strategies. In 2015, Lara joined the laboratory of Professor Phil Baran at The Scripps Research Institute as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral research fellow. She began her independent academic career in November 2017 at the ANU, where her group focuses on the development of new strategies for peptide macrocyclization and late-stage modifications, with applications in the synthesis of bioactive peptide natural products.

Professor David W. Lupton has been awarded the A. J. Birch Medal
The premier award of the Organic Chemistry Division, for sustained excellence in organic chemistry research conducted in Australia by a member of The RACI. 
David was born in South Australia receiving his undergraduate education at the University of Adelaide and PhD at the Australian National University. Between 2005 and 2007, Dr Lupton was an American Australian Association postdoctoral fellow with Professor Barry M. Trost. In 2007, he commenced an independent appointment at Monash University and was promoted to Full Professor in 2018. He is a previous Future Fellow (ARC), Rennie Medallist, and Beckwith Lectureship, among other awards. His group is focused on the transformative impact of catalysis on science. In the last 10 years, David’s research group has played a significant role in establishing N-heterocyclic carbenes as universal catalysts not limited to polarity inversion. This has led to a series of pioneering results that have impacted the direction of this field internationally. For these efforts the committee awarded the Birch medal. 

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