Welcome New Members Update- April 2021

We would like to welcome all new NSW members who joined the RACI in April 2021. As a professional membership organisation, we provide networking and special interest events during the year. Details of all Branch events can be found on the website.


Full Name Member Type
Dr Fengwang Li MRACI
Mr Changzhuang Bai Postgraduate Student
Mr Fabio Colasuonno Postgraduate Student
Miss Tuong Vi Vuong Postgraduate Student
Miss Twisha Sevak Student 
Miss Wanqiu Jin Student 
Mr Aaron Hanh Nguyen Tran Student 


New Member Interviews


1. Sashika Yalage Don

  • How did you learn about RACI?
    I became aware of RACI in the third year of my PhD studies, when my co-supervisor A/Prof. Leigh Schmidtke encouraged me to present at one of the RACI Natural Products Chemistry Group symposia.  I was fortunate enough to win an award for my presentation at the symposium. That experience gave me the opportunity to learn that RACI is the professional network for chemistry-enthusiasts across Australia.

  • Why did you decide to join RACI?
    Prior to my PhD, my research background was in plant pathology and I applied the knowledge of analytical chemistry in my research since my Honours year.  However, I was introduced to metabolomics during my PhD, which gave me the opportunity to heavily use analytical chemistry, particularly separation science, in my research.  This transition was intriguing.  Furthermore, Iunderstood the significance of natural products chemistry and their broad implications in the food and health industries by attending one of the RACI symposia,and itinspired me to pursue a careerin natural products chemistry.  As RACI is the platform to engage with chemists all around Australia, I am excited to meet and interact with experts in my field, and also looking forward to taking opportunities to learn and improve from a variety of events conducted by RACI.

  • What degree program are you studying?
    I am a PhD student at Charles Sturt University, currently in the final stage of my PhD, awaiting results and confirmation after submitting my thesis entitled “TheAureobasidium pullulans volatile metabolome and potential antifungal activity againstBotrytis cinerea andAlternaria alternata”.

  • What made you get into chemistry?
    In my Bachelor degree, I studied chemistry as the second major.  During my final year research project in plant pathology, Iextensivelyused analytical chemistry and biochemistry skills, which made me realisethe universal application of chemistry to different disciplines.  This initiative has extensively changed my interests and focus of my studies.  Therefore, I was particularly looking for opportunities where I can incorporate more chemistry into my PhD research.

  • Do you use chemistry in your everyday life?  If so, how?
    Chemistry applies to every aspect of our daily lives.  However,perfumes are the first thing that comes to my mind.  I enjoy collecting perfumes with unique scents.  Whenever I purchase a perfume, I still never forget to check the key ingredients. The floral and citrus note blends are my favourites!

  •  Do you have a favourite reagent or a reaction?
    Among many, I was fascinated by one chemical reaction. It is the reaction that occur between hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide. When soap and food colouring are added to this mixture, the resultant colourful foamy substance is often known as elephant toothpaste.

  •  What do you like to do outside of chemistry?
    My interests vary from time to time; but travelling and photography remain as my all-time favourites.  These days,I spend most of my spare time listening to audiobooks.  Also, I enjoy spending time with my close friends.

  • How can the RACI help you in your current role?
    As I have mentioned above, I hope to network with professionals in this area, not only natural products chemists, but also with other scientists from different sub-disciplines within chemistry, and to take advantage of thisincredible opportunity to learn and further develop my skillset.  I am now searching for new research positions where I cancontribute my expertise and skillsin metabolomics.  Thus, I am looking forward tolearning about new vacant positionsall over Australia through RACI.


2. Tanjina Sultana

  • How did you learn about RACI?
    I was looking to be connected to a society for professional chemists.  I then located RACI as an organisation that broadly covers many areas in chemistry and is supportive of chemistry students

  • Why did you decide to join RACI?
    I was attending several RACI online networking events last year when we were in lockdown.  I really appreciated their work in organising all events.  I emailed the coordinator, Dave Sammut and joined as a student.  Recently, I also visited Ceramisphere Pty Ltd through RACI networking event organised by the NSW Industrial Chemistry group.  I met Matthew Wilkinson, Kim Finnie and other members of RACI.  They all were very supportive.  I found it to be enlightening to network with likeminded people with a chemistry background.

  • What degree program are you studying?
    I have completed my Bachelor and master degree in chemistry from Bangladesh.  Then I worked as a laboratory technologist for Intertek Testing Services in Bangladesh.  Currently, I am pursuing a Master of Radiopharmaceutical Science at Macquarie University.

  • What made you get into chemistry?
    I have always been passionate in gaining hands-on experience since my childhood.  To me, chemistry is one of those areas where one can witness the real-life outcomes of theoretical predictions with hands-on experiences.

  • Do you use chemistry in your everyday life?  If so, how?
    I am living with chemistry though.  My whole body is functioning through chemistry.  I am using chemistry every second of my life.  For example, I am breathing in oxygen, and I can’t live without drinking H2O.

  • Do you have a favourite reagent or a reaction?
    My favourite reagent is HCl as it acts as a neutralisation agent and it can be used as a bleaching agent in many industries including textile, food, metal, rubber.

  • What do you like to do outside of chemistry?
    I like to know the answers to ‘why’.  Therefore, I often surf through the internet.  I like meeting new people therefore I attend various events including art exhibition. I like making craft things out of scraps.  In my spare time I read books and play chess.  I enjoy travelling as I love to explore new places.

  • How can the RACI help you in your current role?
    I hope to interact with many practising chemists to learn about the chemical industry in Australia, through which I can gain hands-on experience to enhance my confidence in pursuing future endeavours.