GCNZ19 will feature a fantastic lineup of speakers. Stay tuned for updates and announcements for plenary and keynote speakers!

Confirmed speakers

Plenary lectures

Distinguished Professor Bruce H. Lipshutz (UC Santa Barbara, USA)


Bruce Lipshutz was awarded a B.A from State University of New York at Binghamton (Howard Alper) and his Ph.D from Yale University (Harry H. Wasserman). After two years as postdoctoral fellow with E. J Corey, he joined the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is currently a Distinguished Professor. He has won many awards, most recently an EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award (2011) Organic Letters Publication of the Year (2016) and the American Chemical Society H.C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods (2017)

After over a quarter century of traditional organic chemistry leading to our ranking as the most waste-generating research group in all of Santa Barbara County, we decided to “make the switch.” Thus, since 2008, the focus has been, and continues today, aimed at getting organic solvents out of organic chemistry. In full appreciation for the manner in which bio-catalysis is run; i.e., in water and under mild conditions, so has the goal been to document that chemo-catalysis should, and can, be run in water as well. To enable this alternative reaction medium, water, to replace organic solvents, micellar catalysis has been advanced, akin to “directed evolution” performed on enzymes. Hence, nanoparticles (NPs) have been engineered to serve as nanoreactors, composed of newly engineered surfactants that self-aggregate in water and in which state-of-the-art synthetic chemistry can now be done, in most cases, “faster, better, and cheaper” than that run in organic solvents. With these new NPs available, both existing and new reactions can be studied, operating under new “rules” associated with chemistry in water that do not apply to reactions run in organic solvents. Opportunities for development of new ligands that enable ppm level catalysis by various transition metals, precious or otherwise, are of great interest, as are advances in tandem, 1-pot reactions involving both chemo- and bio-catalysis. Applications are also being extended to flow chemistry in water, offering new opportunities for safe scaling of reactions of industrial importance. In brief, we are providing an ever-expanding new toolbox of reactions, in water, as the chemical enterprise begins its essential movement into a water world.

Professor Matt Kanan (Stanford University, USA)

Professor Matt Kanan’s website

Professor Audrey Moores (McGill University, Canada)

Professor Audrey Moores’s website


Keynote lectures

Professor Sally Brooker (University of Otago, New Zealand)


Professor Sally Brooker (MNZM, FRSNZ, FNZIC, FRSC) studied at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand [BSc(Hons) first class; PhD with Professor Vickie McKee]. After postdoctoral research at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany with Professor George M. Sheldrick, she took up a Lectureship at the University of Otago where she is now a full Professor. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, most recently including a 2017 Queens Birthday Honour for services to science (MNZM), the 2017 Hector Medal (RSNZ) and 2017 Burrows Award (RACI). Her research interests concern the design, synthesis and full characterisation of, primarily paramagnetic, di- and poly-metallic complexes of transition metal and lanthanide ions with polydentate acyclic and macrocyclic ligands, as these have interesting redox, magnetic, catalytic and photophysical properties (otago.ac.nz/brooker).

Professor Doug MacFarlane (Monash University, Australia)


Professor Doug MacFarlane is an Australian Laureate Fellow at Monash University’s School of Chemistry and leader of the Energy Program in the Australian Centre for Electromaterials Science. He is the Australian Academy of Science’s Craig Medalist 2018 and winner of the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation 2018. He has published more than 650 papers and 30 patents, including papers in Science and Nature. Professor MacFarlane was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2007 and the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2009. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of Chemical Communications, Green Chemistry, Sustainable Energy and Fuels, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering and ChemSusChem. Professor MacFarlane is one of the pioneers of the field of ionic liquids and his research group continues to break new ground in this cutting-edge area of inter-disciplinary chemistry. Ionic solids and liquids are a broad family of previously un-discovered materials and media that are finding application in diverse contexts including various aspects of Green chemistry including ammonia generation. Professor MacFarlane’s group has contributed seminal work in all of these fields.

Dr Justin Chalker (Flinders University, Australia)


Justin M. Chalker earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in the History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Pittsburgh in 2006. At Pittsburgh, he contributed to the total synthesis of several natural products under the direction of Theodore Cohen. Supported by a Rhodes Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Justin then completed his D.Phil under the supervision of Benjamin Davis where he developed several tools for the site-selective modification of proteins. In 2012, Justin started his independent career as an assistant professor at The University of Tulsa where he established a diverse research program in organic chemistry, biochemistry and material science. In 2015, Justin moved to Flinders University as a Lecturer in Synthetic Chemistry and recipient of an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award. In 2017, Justin was promoted to Senior Lecturer and Research Leader in the Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology at Flinders University. Justin has earned >$2M AUD in competitive funding for his scholarly activities and he has been recognised with several awards for his efforts in teaching and research. These include the South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year (2016), Green Chemistry Emerging Investigator (2017), Dream Chemistry Award Finalist (1 of 5 globally, 2017), the Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry New Talent Award (2018), Eureka Prize Finalist for Outstanding Early Career Research (1 of 3 in Australia, 2018), the SA Science Excellence Awards STEM Educator of the Year (2018), and most recently the AMP Tomorrow Maker fellowship (2018).

The Chalker Laboratory is a synthetic chemistry laboratory interested in the intersection of organic chemistry, biochemistry, materials chemistry, and environmental science. Sustainability is a central theme in the majority of these projects. Most recently, the Chalker Lab has pioneered the synthesis and applications of polymers made from elemental sulfur. These materials can be made in a single step from elemental sulfur (a by-product of the petroleum sector) and renewable alkenes such as plant oils (even used cooking oil). These materials have proven useful in a variety of environmental applications and they are also recyclable and in some cases biodegradable. These features of sulfur polymers have provided a foundation for advances in the following areas of green chemistry, environmental stewardship, sustainability and the circular economy.

Professor Karen Wilson (RMIT, Australia)


Professor Karen Wilson was appointed was Professor of Catalysis in the School of Science at RMIT University in 2018, and was previously Chair of Catalysis and Research Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Aston University, UK (2013-17), where she also held a prestigious Royal Society Industry Fellowship in collaboration with Johnson Matthey. She has published >240 peer-reviewed articles (h-index 60, 11720 citations Google Scholar). Karen’s research focusses on the development of tuneable porous heterogeneous catalysts for use in green and sustainable chemistry and the utilisation of renewable resources in chemical processes. Recent projects have spanned the conversion of biomass from agriculture or forestry waste to fuels and chemicals, to the transformation of bakery waste to additives for application in coatings and polymers. She has also worked on depollution technologies to remove organic contaminants from waste water in the seafood industry and palm and olive oil plantations in South East Asia.