CHEMISTRY by wuxiangyu


									                          POSTGRADUATE STUDIES IN



       AVAILABLE IN >>


The information contained in this publication is indicative of the offerings available in 2008
and subsequent years. This information is correct at the time of going to press, but may be
subject to change. Readers are advised that information contained within the Massey
University Calendar will take precedence over any information given in this booklet. While
all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure listed courses are offered and regulations
are up to date, the University reserves the right to change the content or method of
presentation, or to withdraw any qualification or part thereof, or impose limitations on
enrolments should circumstances require this.
The Institute of Fundamental Sciences                                                  1
Preparing ourselves for the 21st Century                                               1

                                               Postgraduate Degrees in Chemistry
What degrees are offered in Chemistry and what are the basic requirements for each
degree?                                                                                2
Comparison of postgraduate degrees                                                     3
How do I choose?                                                                       3

                                                                Postgraduate Papers
What fourth-year papers are offered in Chemistry?                                      3
Are there certain papers that I must take?                                             4
May I take papers from other subjects as part of my postgraduate degree?               4
What is “course approval”? Isn’t it enough just to enrol?                              4

What is a research supervisor?                                                         5
What should I consider when choosing a research topic and supervisors?                 5
What projects are currently available?                                                 6
What can I expect from my supervisor?                                                  7
What does my research supervisor expect of me?                                         8
When can I start my research?                                                          9
How can I get financial assistance for my research and living expenses?                9

                                                            More Course information
Will someone let me know if I am not making adequate progress?                       10
Do I have to attend seminars?                                                        11
Can I change my mind and take another paper
or switch to another degree programme?                                               11

                                                                           Staff Projects
Individual staff pages                                                             12-30
                                    Support Services in the Institute
Administrative Support                                           31
Chemical Services                                                31
Cryogenic Services                                               31
Electronic Services                                              31
Engineering Services                                             32
Glassblowing Services                                            32

                                     Questions about your course?
Contact Information                                              32
International Students                                           33
Sources of Information on the Web                                33

Staff Information                                              34-35
Research Topics                                                34-35

                                          The Institute of Fundamental Sciences

The Institute of Fundamental Sciences is located on both the Palmerston North (Turitea)
and Albany campuses of Massey University. Our Palmerston North Campus has 41
permanent academic staff, six graduate assistants, 18 postdoctoral fellows, and research
officers, 18 technical staff and five secretaries. At Albany we have eight academic staff,
three postdoctoral fellows, two technical staff members and one secretary.

The quality of our graduates is highly regarded both within New Zealand and overseas.
Many of our graduates have subsequently taken doctoral degrees or Postdoctoral
Fellowships in some of the major universities of Europe and North America and all have
met with considerable success.

This booklet provides information on postgraduate programmes, the types of projects
available to postgraduate students and the research strengths within the discipline of
Chemistry in the Institute of Fundamental Sciences. It aims to answer some of the
questions you may have about beginning a postgraduate programme within our Institute.
We trust that this booklet conveys some of the excitement that we feel about the current
research activities being carried out and the opportunities for students within our
postgraduate programmes.

                                       Preparing Ourselves for the 21st Century

Our vision is to provide a supportive environment for scientists carrying out research at
the frontiers of their disciplines and, in so doing, provide the leadership and excellence to
underpin and enhance teaching, research and scholarship within Massey University,
throughout New Zealand and internationally.

Postgraduate Degrees in Chemistry
                                    What degrees are offered in Chemistry
                     and what are the basic requirements for each degree?
Bachelor of Science (Honours) (BSc(Hons))
The BSc(Hons) is a one year prestigious degree that combines 90 credits of 700-level
papers with a 30 credit research project. To do this degree you must have qualified for a
BSc Degree with a grade point average of at least 6.0 (B+) over your 300-level major
papers. One reason for pursuing a BSc(Hons) is as a fast track to doing a PhD. You
might also decide to do an Honours year because you are stimulated by the intellectual
challenge that will help you to decide your next career move. Your class of honours (First
Class, Second Class Division I or Second Class Division II) is determined by how well
you perform in your papers (75%) and research project (25%). To qualify for the award of
Honours, degrees must be completed in one year full-time or three years part-time study.

Postgraduate Certificate in Science (PGCertSc)
The PGCertSc is a new qualification which can be used as a stepping stone towards a
PGDipSc or MSc after completing a BSc degree. The PGCertSc comprises a minimum of
60 credits of 700-level papers. Admission to the programme will be subject to the
approval of the College of Sciences

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSc)
The PGDipSc is usually chosen by students who think they might like to convert to an
MSc at the end of their first postgraduate year but do not want to be committed to it
immediately. The PGDipSc is also available to students whose grades do not qualify them
for MSc. Postgraduate Diplomas carry the award of Distinction for excellence if
completed at a superior standard within one year full-time or three years part-time study.

Master of Science (MSc)
The MSc is a two-year degree that combines 90 credits of 700-level papers with a 150
credit research report/thesis. Students who have completed the course work for
BSc(Hons) or PGDipSc may transfer to a course for MSc. Students who have graduated
with a PGDipSc or BSc(Hons) should do the MSc by thesis alone. Your class of honours
(First Class, Second Class Division I or Second Class Division II) is determined by how
well you perform in your papers (37.5%) and research project (62.5%).

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The PhD degree is the highest supervised degree offered by Massey University. It is
awarded for a thesis that is an integrated and coherent report that demonstrates a
candidate’s ability to carry out independent research, analysis and presentation of this
research at an advanced level in a particular field of study. The PhD degree normally
involves a maximum of four years of full-time, or six years of part-time research.

                                                    Comparison of Postgraduate Degrees

                   General                        General                  Minimum        Normal
 Degree            Prerequisites                  Requirements             time           time

 PGDipSc           Pass at 300-level              120 credits              1 year         1 year
 BSc(Hons)         BSc with average B grade       90 700-level credits +   1 year         1 year
                   in majoring 300-level papers   30 credits research
 MSc               B average in 300-level         90 700-level credits +   2 years        2 years
                   majoring papers                150 credits research

 MSc               At least B average in          120 credits              1 year         1 year
 By thesis alone
                   PGDipSc or BSc(Hons)           research/year
 MPhil             First degree                   By negotiation           1 year         1 year
 PhD               Second Class, Division I or    120 credits              3 years        3.5 years
                   First Class in BSc(Hons)       research/year
                   MSc or MPhil                   Papers may be

                                                                                     How do I choose?

Discuss the choice of the postgraduate degree that best meets your needs and future career
plans with one or more of the following; your Chemistry Graduate Subject Advisor, the
Institute Postgraduate Studies Coordinator, the Head of Institute, the College Postgraduate
Studies Administrator or the Dean of the Graduate Research School. Contact details for
all of the above are listed on page 30 of this publication.

Postgraduate Papers
                                   What fourth-year papers are offered in Chemistry?
The following are the fourth year (700-level) papers currently available in Chemistry:

    123.701 Physical Chemistry                                                              30 credits
                     Atomic and molecular interactions, the link between these microscopic
                     properties of matter and the bulk properties of matter, and the kinetics of
                     very fast reactions.

    123.702 Organic Chemistry                                                 30 credits
              Advanced principles and applications of contemporary organic chemistry,
              with examples from the recent primary literature. Topics include: carbon
              nanotubes, nanoparticles and conducting polymers; stereoselective
              synthesis, chiral auxiliaries, reagents and catalysts; structure and synthesis
              of DNA, action of intercalators on DNA; bioorthogonal chemical reactions;
              peptides, medicinal chemistry and combinatorial synthesis.

    123.703 Inorganic Chemistry                                               30 credits
              Advanced aspects of modern coordination and main group chemistry with
              an emphasis on topics from the current literature. Topics will include
              supramolecular chemistry, organometallic chemistry, bioinorganic
              chemistry, and polyphosphazenes.

    123.704 Analytical and Sustainable Chemistry                              30 credits
              Topics in surface and structural analysis; advanced chromatography
              methods; green chemistry; energy generation and uses in New Zealand.

These papers will be taught in Semester 1 with the final examinations being held in early
to mid-July.

                                     Are there certain papers that I must take?
You must take those papers that are required for your degree as stated in the Massey
University Calendar. In practice this means you normally should select three papers from
123.701, 123.702, 123.703 or 123.704. Your research supervisor may suggest that you
take papers related to your intended research topic.

                                May I take papers from other subjects as part
                                                of my postgraduate degree?

Yes, in certain cases you may. It is possible to select one paper from another area (eg
Biochemistry) which is related to your research project. This should be discussed with the
Chemistry Graduate Subject Advisor.

                   What is "course approval"? Isn’t it enough just to enrol?
If you are doing a PGDipSc, MSc or BSc(Hons) then your papers will be approved by the
Chemistry Graduate Subject Advisor before classes begin. However, your particular
combination of papers and project needs to be approved by the Administrator for Graduate
Studies, College of Sciences. The Administrator oversees all postgraduate study and
protects the interests of students by ensuring that their programmes of study and research
meet the regulations and standards set by the University.

PGDipSc, PGCertSc, MSc and BSc(Hons) students need to enrol at the beginning of the
year. This is because all papers span both semesters.

If you are doing a degree by research only (MSc by thesis alone, MPhil or PhD) then you
can register at any time of the year and have your course approved by the College of
Sciences or the Doctoral Research Committee.


                                                   What is a research supervisor?
University lecturers choose their career path because they enjoy working with students.
Nevertheless, university lecturers are also busy people. If you ask them to supervise your
research, then you are asking them to make a substantial time commitment to you in terms
of assisting you to plan, execute and write up your research. In the normal course of
events, you and your supervisors will share both the frustrations and the rewards of your
research project.

You should consult your supervisors frequently and regularly, especially during the early
part of your research. You are not obliged to follow their advice, but must be able to
rigorously justify any decisions you make. It may be in your best interests to timetable a
regular weekly meeting with your chief supervisor, and perhaps others as well, to keep
them informed about your activities.

Research for a higher degree should produce significant new results. You and your
supervisor share a responsibility to make your work publicly available through
publications. Supervisors will normally be co-authors on publications that result from
your research project. Generally your supervisors are seen, in the research community, as
the people validating your activities.

              What should I consider when choosing a research topic and
By definition, research must involve investigations that are original. However, it can be
hard for you to define a topic of research even in areas where you have completed
postgraduate papers. Your best strategy is to discuss potential topics with a wide range of
staff members; most keep an actual or mental list of ideas they would be happy to see
explored. Some topics are listed under the section of this publication entitled “Staff

Because your work will be original, a successful conclusion to an investigation cannot be
guaranteed. It is sensible therefore to hedge your bets, and to consider the worst-case
scenario for your preferred topic. What are you left with, by way of interpretable results,
if everything goes wrong with your project? Detailed planning and full discussions with
your supervisor should diminish such a prospect.

It is important that your chief supervisor is sufficiently informed, experienced and skilled
in an area to guide your research. Consider the supervisor’s own areas of research
expertise in making your approaches. Extra supervisors could contribute skills which you

may need for particular aspects of your research. These should be people whose advice
you trust and respect.

Because you will work closely with your supervisors, particularly your chief supervisor,
you need to be able to get along with them. Ensure that they are people you can approach
easily, and be prepared to develop a good working relationship with them. Imagine,
during the stressful write up period, that the chapter draft you promised your supervisor a
month ago still hasn't appeared, and you will see the need for a strong, tolerant

Remember that it is possible for your supervisors to be away on sabbatical or other
overseas leave for several months at a time during your degree. With a supervisory team,
and electronic mail to most parts of the globe, this isn’t a problem for much of your
studies. However, it could be a nuisance, or worse, if it occurs early on during your
planning and preliminary work, or during your final thesis write up. Inquire about the
possibility of such absences and plan for them as part of your thesis proposals.

                                           What projects are currently available?

Although most members of the academic staff in the Institute of Fundamental Sciences are
carrying out independent research, a number of research themes are being emphasized in
Chemistry. They are chemical and structural biology, nanomaterials, biomaterials and
computational chemistry.

Within these areas, active research occurs in bioenergetics, coordination and
organometallic chemistry, electrochemistry, environmental and analytical chemistry,
molecular design, molecular dynamics, molecular self-assembly, organic and bioorganic
chemistry, peptide synthesis, photochemistry, protein structure and function, sensors,
separation science, thermodynamics of biochemical systems, x-ray crystallography, high
field nuclear magnetic spectroscopy and theoretical and computational chemistry.

More detailed information on projects offered by staff is given in the section headed “Staff
Projects” on pages 12 to 30.

                                         What can I expect from my supervisor?

Supervisors have formal responsibilities which vary somewhat depending on the degree
you are doing. These responsibilities are outlined in the document Postgraduate Policy
and Procedures Handbook produced by the College of Sciences Office of Graduate
Studies and in the Doctoral Research Committee handbook.

You can expect your supervisor to:

     suggest novel research ideas to you and help you to develop your own,
     help you plan your research by discussing topics, methods, analyses, etc with you,
     discuss funding sources and options with you,
     write letters to support your funding applications,
     guide the general direction, content and focus of your research,
     help you establish a viable programme,
     suggest appropriate methods of statistical analysis where necessary,
     do six-monthly reports as required by the Doctoral Research Committee in the case
      of PhD students,
     help you prepare seminars and conference papers,
     comment on one or two drafts of your thesis,
     ensure that you give the best possible defence of your work in an oral examination,

     assist you to draft papers for publication of your research findings,
     write letters of reference for job applications,
     maintain cheerful, tolerant good humour 95% of the time.
Other matters are much harder to define, because of their nature, and because of the
workloads of those involved, but it is reasonable to expect that:

     you should be able to consult your supervisor when necessary,
     you should expect detailed discussions of plans, problems and progress with your
      chief supervisor once a week on average, but much more frequently early and late
      on in your research,
     drafts of minor documents should be returned quickly,
     drafts of large parts of a thesis should be read and returned within about 10 days.
Your supervisor should try to warn you of possible pitfalls, although these are often hard
to anticipate:

      instabilities in funding supply,
      ethical considerations,
      ensure that the work you are credited with is in fact your own,
      people who may pirate your ideas or data,
      other people who are researching in your area, who may ‘scoop’ you.

                            What does my research supervisor expect of me?

It is important that candidates play an active role in the supervisor-candidate relationship.
While candidates are expected to accept advice and guidance from their supervisors, they
are not expected to work as ‘technicians’ for their supervisors. Candidates should
constantly work towards their own intellectual independence from within a supportive
relationship with their supervisors. The following are some factors that can contribute to
successful doctoral candidacy:-

     Being a full-time candidate with few or no employment responsibilities.
     Being committed to the research project.
     Taking initiatives to find out from staff and others about life and prospects as a
      Doctoral candidate.
     Getting off to a good start.
     Maintaining regular and frequent contact with supervisors.
     Seeking and accepting advice from supervisors and others.
     Being prepared to acknowledge and discuss any academic or personal difficulties.
     Being well organised and capable of setting and meeting deadlines according to a
      work schedule.
     Always being clear as to the overall aim of the research and of the intermediate
      goals along the way.
     Starting to write early and continuing to write throughout the programme.
     Regularly providing supervisors with written reports on progress and future plans.
     Presenting seminars and otherwise participating in the intellectual life of the
      academic unit.
     Establishing professional and social links with other academic staff and other
     Attending conferences and presenting papers at conferences.
     Publishing during candidacy, where appropriate.

In general terms, it is critical that candidates and supervisors meet frequently, that each
understands how the other views the candidate’s progress, and that there is a mutually co-
operative professional academic partnership.

Discuss your work with anyone willing to provide you with useful feedback. Your
supervisors do not know everything, and where they have blank spots it is up to you to
cover these. You will gain useful insights and ideas by discussing your work with a range
of people, including other students and if you feel you need advice in a particular area,
then go out and look for a good source.
                                                   When can I start my research?
BSc(Hons), PGDipSc and first year MSc students who are taking papers should begin
their project work at the start of the Academic year.

For the degrees by thesis only (MSc by thesis alone, MPhil or PhD) you begin research as
soon as your course is approved.

             How can I get financial assistance for my research and living
Finance is an integral part of planning a research project. A cash crisis in the middle of
your research can be avoided with a bit of forward planning. You can do a lot on your
own to help with both your personal finances and the funding of your project.
There are at least seven ways you may get help through the University.
 1) Graduate Assistant (GA) positions are usually available each year in the Institute.
    Duties include some tutorial work and assignment marking. Office space is
    provided, and, as members of staff, GAs are entitled to use general IFS facilities for
    their work.
    A typical full-time GA salary is $21,500 p.a.
    A partial GA may be held concurrently with a scholarship.
 2) Postgraduates may contribute to the chemistry teaching programme by
    demonstrating. The rate of pay will be determined by your experience. The
    University will pay you fortnightly and deduct PAYE from your pay.
 3) Full-time students are eligible for student loans. If you are not a full-time student
    you may still be eligible if you are completing your degree in the current year. For
    student loan applications contact Work and Income NZ or alternatively if you have
    any queries contact the Campus Information Services Officer – Finance, Level 2
 4) The University oversees a number of scholarships. These are outlined in the Awards
    Handbook         available       online    at     the      following        address You may contact Mrs Shirley Morris,
    Campus Information Services Officer - Massey Contact, Level 2, Registry, extension
    7823, or Ms Pauline Larsen, Client Services Officer, Quad Block A, Albany,
    extension 9544 for details of scholarships for which you may be eligible. Two
    scholarships are of particular importance.
     • Massey Vice-Chancellor's Doctoral Scholarships and Doctoral
        Massey University awards a number of PhD scholarships each year. Their present
        value is $22,000 per annum for a maximum of three years. In addition each year
        up to ten Vice-Chancellor's Doctoral Scholarships, valued at $27,000 per annum
        for a maximum of three years, will be awarded to the top candidates applying for
        a Doctoral Scholarship. Both scholarships include a PhD thesis tuition fee waiver

       at the domestic rate. Applications must be in the hands of the Scholarships
       Office, Massey University, by 1 July for study in the current year, or 1 October
       for study in the following year.
     • Massey Masterate Scholarships                   and     Massey      Masterate
       Scholarships for Maori Students
       These scholarships are awarded to students
       who are undertaking research full time for
       a Masterate thesis (120 credits). Their
       present value is $15,000 for one year and
       payment of the research tuition fee up to
       120 credits or up to a maximum of $4,000
       per annum. Applications close with the
       Scholarships Office, Massey University on
       1 July for study in the current year or 1
       October for study in the following year.
 5) You and your supervisor may arrange funding
    for your project that includes a salary or
    emolument for you. Be certain that you
    understand the tax implications of your
 6) The Institute Graduate Research Fund pays
    for some costs associated with doing research for MSc or PhD students. The
    application deadlines are mid March and mid September. Contact the Personal
    Assistant to the Head of Institute, (telephone 356 9099 extn 3504, office ScB3.12)
    for details and confirmed dates.
 7) The Institute provides a financial allocation to every research student. These funds
    will be managed by your supervisor.

Individual staff may have money available.

More Course Information
       Will someone let me know if I am not making adequate progress?

You will be required to complete an OGS4 form, Postgraduate Research Report/Thesis
Progress Review. The aim of the Review is to monitor a research candidate’s progress
and to maximise opportunities for action on any concerns, and to assist candidates to
complete on time. If you don't meet your obligations during the course of your research,
then you can expect to have this raised in discussions between you and your supervisors.
If the problem continues, then you will be notified in writing, and the consequences of
non-compliance listed. At the worst, your funding can be cut off, your registration
suspended or terminated, and your degree not awarded.

                                                  Do I have to attend Seminars?
YES all chemistry research students are required to attend chemistry seminars. These are
held weekly at a regularly scheduled time and at other times to be announced.

Two seminar days are scheduled in Semester 2. BSc(Hons) and PGDipSc students will
give two talks during this semester, while first year MSc students will give one. MSc
students who are not in their first year and PhD students give a talk at the Annual
Chemistry Symposium.

                              Can I change my mind and take another paper
                                    or switch to another degree programme?
You may add or withdraw from single and double semester papers and still receive
refunds up until specified dates in March. These dates should be confirmed at enrolment.

                                                        To change to another degree
                                                        programme within Chemistry,
                                                        for example from a PGDipSc to
                                                        MSc, you will need to get
                                                        permission from the Chemistry
                                                        Graduate Subject Advisor.
                                                        These changes are normally
                                                        done at the beginning or end of
                                                        the academic year.

Staff Projects
Associate Professor Eric Ainscough
+64 6 356-9099 Ext 3530/3522
Science Tower A Level 4, A4.10/A4.13

Inorganic chemistry

My research programme, which is carried out in collaboration with Professor Brodie,
focuses on the preparation and characterization of new transition metal compounds that
show interesting structures, spectroscopic properties and reactivity patterns.

Complexes of Copper

Recent research has concentrated on complexes of copper that have antitumour properties,
as well as an examination of the role of copper or mercury in transforming sulfur-
containing ligands to new organic products. Some unique compounds have been
discovered and mechanisms proposed. EPR studies on new copper(II) species are being

Chemistry of Systems containing P and N Atoms

A new development has been the synthesis of ligands containing phosphorus and nitrogen
donor atoms. When attached to tungsten a new method for the hydrogenation of an imine
bond was studied and the chemistry of new iminophosphines is being developed. New
chemistry of cyclophosphazenes is also being explored. Groups have been attached to the
rings via oxygen hinges, and the abilities of these systems to bind metals to produce
materials with interesting properties is being explored. The work has been extended to
inorganic polymers called polyphosphazenes. Theoretical calculations on these systems
are underway and new bonding ideas have been proposed.

Complexes with Low Coordination Numbers

The coordination chemistry of the bulky tribenzyl phosphine is being studied to obtain
complexes of copper, silver, gold and mercury with low coordination numbers. Such
phosphines may be useful as coligands in metal catalysts, and chaperone proteins are
known to bind copper with low coordination numbers in copper transport. Coordination
numbers of two and three may be obtained with these systems and the compounds are
being studied spectroscopically and structurally.

                                                        Professor Andrew Brodie
                                                      64 6 356-9099 Ext 3536/3522
                                          Science Tower B Level 4, B4.13/ScA4.13

Inorganic chemistry, Polymer Chemistry


Polyphosphazenes contain an inorganic backbone of phosphorus and nitrogen atoms, the
basic building block being a -N=PR2- unit. My long range objective, in collaboration with
Associate Professor Ainscough, is to assemble polymeric phosphazenes with transition
metal compound R side groups with the expectation that these new materials will have
exciting catalytic or electroactive properties. This research requires prior exploration via
the trimer and tetramer model compounds, (-N=PR2-)n (n = 3 or 4) as well as work on the
polymer itself.

Complexes with Hemilabile Ligands

Hybrid ligands containing P and N donors can act as 'hemilabile' ligands. Phosphorus is a
‘soft’ donor and capable of stabilizing metals in low oxidation states whereas nitrogen, as
a ‘hard’ donor, is best suited to higher oxidation states. Our aim is to produce catalysts
using such 'hemilable' ligands in which the N donor atom is more loosely bound than the P
so that a reactive intermediate can be formed easily in the catalytic system.

Other projects are listed on Associate Professor Ainscough’s page.

Research in our group is inherently interdisciplinary. although it is underpinned by
chemical synthesis, and we use whatever technique is appropriate for the problem in hand,
e.g. multinuclear NMR, electrospray mass spectrometry, X-ray crystallography.

Professor Peter Derrick
+64 6 356-9099 Ext 3500
Science Tower B Level 3, A3.13

Structural Biology

Electrospray Mass Spectrometry is the “coming method” in Structural Biology,
complementing and supplementing the established approaches of X-Ray diffraction
and nuclear magnetic resonance. The project offered involves electrospray in the
form of a variation called nanospray and time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The aim
is to explore interactions of the drug vancomycin with models of its bacterial cell
wall targets. A long standing hypothesis in this area poses that dimerisation is a key
step in the action of vancomycin. Most literature in the area when based on mass
spectrometry shows evidence for interaction of monomeric vancomycin with a
model of the cell wall, such as tripeptide, lycine-alanine-alanine. In the project
offered, a new device for controlling the electrospray process will be exploited with
a view to detecting the dimeric vancomycin and establishing whether or not this
dimer interacts more or less strongly with one or more molecules of the cell-wall
model. There is unpublished evidence that the vancomycin dimer can be detected
by mass spectrometry and the results suggest that interactions are with a single
model molecule.

The project would be supported through the availability of the nanospray
equipment, the ion conveyor and the time-of-flight mass spectrometer. The project
would provide a thorough grounding in both theoretical and practical aspects of
mass spectrometry, and would provide opportunities for interactions and links with
pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Vyacheslav Filichev
+64 6 356-9099 Ext 3571
Science Tower A Level 4, A4.09

Nucleic Acid Chemical Biology

Novel biotherapeutic approaches are believed to work on regulation of gene expression on an
early-stage during transcription and translation. Chemical modification of nucleic acids allows us
to address these fundamental processes in studies of DNA-DNA, DNA-RNA and RNA-protein
interactions and to develop modern diagnostic methods, which will further accelerate disease
diagnosis and treatment.

DNA-Triplex Technology in Gene Visualization
In contrast to currently used gene analysis techniques that deal with isolated, amplified and cloned
DNAs, the visualization of genes in their native compacted state in the chromosome 3D nano-
structure will greatly advance our understanding of regulation of gene expression. Fluorescence
in situ hybridisation (FISH), performed nowadays for making genes visible using stretches of
fluorescently labeled DNAs, requires a thermal/chemical denaturation step that disrupts the nano-
structure and native compaction of chromosomes. The formation of triple DNA helices via the
binding of DNA probes to DNA duplexes through alternative hydrogen bonding is the key to
sequence-selective targeting and non-destructive gene labeling. However, native triplexes are
unstable at physiological conditions. Using nucleic acids possessing novel flexible intercalators
we plan to develop triplex-forming oligonucleotides for sequence-specific labeling of
genes/plasmids/chromosomes under non-denaturing conditions and in living cells. We have
found that the flexibility/twisting provided by, for example, a triple bond uniting aromatic
structures gives better intercalation in the triplex core than does the traditional rigid intercalator.
As a next step we will sythesize nucleic monomers possessing fluorophores which are sensitive to
changes in microenvironment within nucleic acid secondary structures. This will allow us to
create triplex-forming oligonucleotides which give a positive signal (increase in fluorescence)
upon binding of the probe to dsDNA. This will expand the possiblilities for selective targeting
and visualization of intact DNA duplexes and will bring triplex technology to a new level,
suitable for broader applications in life sciences.

Nucleic acids as pre-organised structures, for example G-quadruplexes, are of interests in
regulation of cancer and genetic diseases due to ability to bind to specific proteins. In this respect
intercalating nucleic acids have a unique ability to stabilize or rearrange secondary structures
depending on a site of insertion. Therefore, modified G4-decoys have potent biological activity
and can be used as a tool to regulate the expression of oncogenes.

SNP Typing
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are gene variations that result from a single nucleotide
difference. This can lead to dramatic consequences such as changing in the protein structure
produced or in modulation of the transcription efficiency. Detection of SNP is still challenging
because the difference between “correct” and “fake” DNA is subtle. Synthesis and evaluation of
novel nucleosides with fluorescent markers linked via flexible intercalators is planned in order to
achieve fluorescent discrimination between mutant and “correct” DNA. Established scientific
contacts with molecular biologists and biochemists allow us to evaluate our chemically modified
nucleic acids on living cells and in biotechniques used nowadays for biological investigations.

                                              Associate Professor Simon Hall
                                                  +64 6 356-9099 Ext 5917/3521
                                        Science Tower A Level 3, A3.08/A4.05

Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, Electrochemistry

My current research interests are concerned predominantly with the use of electrochemical
techniques as a means of controlling and/or determining the rate of redox processes. These
techniques are extremely useful since we can investigate kinetic processes for a wide
range of time scales due to our ability to control electrical current over 12 orders of
magnitude from picoamperes (10-12 amperes) to 10 amperes.


I am working in conjunction with Dr Alan Hart at AgResearch Grasslands in the
investigation of the oxidation of hydrogen peroxide at platinum electrodes. This particular
reaction is of interest since it forms the diagnostic response for many medical sensing
devices such as blood glucose monitors.

Environmental Electrochemistry

I am developing methodology for preparing electrodes for the analysis of metal ions in
natural waters.


I am investigating the use of additives to modify and/or control the shape change that
occurs on zinc electrodes in alkaline batteries.

Associate Professor Dave Harding
+64 6 356-9099 Ext 3551
Science Tower B Level 4, B4.20

Chemical Biology

Our team in the Centre for Separation Science (CSS) has a number of projects that call on
both chemical and biochemical skills. These cover fundamental through to applied (eg.
diagnostic) to commercial interests.

Separation Science
The CSS has a major theme of the separation and/or purification of molecules. We study
mobile phases and solid supports both with HPLC, FPLC and SMART systems. Capillary
electrophoretic studies are also carried out.

In the preparative mode, we have successfully patented and licensed some of our custom
designed technology to a USA bio-technology company (Genencor International) who
produce large amounts of industrial enzymes. In early 1998, technology was sub-licensed
to BioSepra for chromatographic media development aimed at the monoclonal antibody

Controlled Drug Delivery
Our primary focus has been on biodegradable natural polymers (biopolymers) for drug
containment and slow release from microspheres and hydrogels. The CSS has synthetic
polymer capabilities as well. Our overall end-focus is to produce 100% biodegradable
drug delivery systems that produce minimal immunogenic responses. From 2003, some of
these hydrogel systems have been modified for study as cell growth supports as this
program expands. In 2007 a new programme was initiated that employs peptides (see
SPPS) as drug delivery vehicles.

Enzyme Stabilisation
We are carrying out studies into the thermal stabilisation of enzymes by conjugating them
to suitable insoluble surfaces. Shortly we plan to look at enzyme polymerization.

Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis (SPPS)
Opportunities exist for research (a) not only into the biological effects of altering a
peptide's sequence but (b) also for studying new chemistries to apply to actual synthesis
protocols. Our efforts under this topic often have a direct effect on the topics mentioned
above. Our longer term project at the moment is involved with anti-fungal agents against
afflictions such as thrush and more recently anti-bacterial diseases as well.

                                                                 Dr John Harrison
                                              +64 9 (09) 443 9700 extn 9675/9614
                                                                 Building 6, Albany

Chemical Physics
Plasma Physics

Photo-Dissociation Dynamics Of Small Molecules.

Using the experimental technique of photofragment time-of-flight spectroscopy we are
studying the dissociation dynamics of a range of small molecules. The molecules are first
prepared in a pulsed molecular beam to generate collision free conditions and to reduce
the internal energy the molecules initially have. The beam is then crossed with a beam of
pulsed laser light and the photofragments are then detected by a mass spectrometer located
about 0.5m from the interaction region. This allows the kinetic energy release to be
measured, and the internal state distribution to be determined. Both tunable (dye) and
fixed wavelength (excimer) laser sources are employed.

Pulsed Plasma Accelerator for Fusion Energy Research.

Utilising a 20 microsecond pulsed source of hydrogen gas, we have developed a pulsed
plasma accelerator capable of accelerating plasma pulses into the hypervelocity
(>100 km/s) regime. The research is driven by the need to develop a suitable plasma
compression driver for application in Magnetised Target Fusion research.

Associate Professor Gavin Hedwig
+64 6 356-9099 Ext 3552/7144
Science Tower A Level 2, A2.18/ScA4.15

Biophysical Chemistry

Solution chemistry, Calorimetry

My research programme involves the study of peptide-peptide and peptide-water
interactions in aqueous solutions containing small peptides and other structurally related
molecules. These peptide-water systems are of special importance as they serve as models
for the more complex protein solutions. As proteins are particularly complex molecules,
the study of small peptides that model some structural features of proteins assists in our
understanding of the conformational stability and unfolding behaviour of proteins.

In recent work we have developed a new group additivity model to determine the heat
capacities and volumes of unfolded proteins in aqueous solution. This peptide-based
additivity scheme has been shown to have excellent predictive utility. A variety of
experimental methods are used in our studies including volumetric and heat capacity
measurements at Massey, differential scanning calorimetry (in collaboration with a
research group in Münster, Germany) and compressibility measurements (in collaboration
with a research group in Bergen, Norway).

                                                       Professor Geoff Jameson
                                                    +64 6 356-9099 Ext 7177/2565
                                                   Science Tower B Level 4, B4.07

Protein structure and function
Bioinorganic chemistry
X-ray crystallography

X-ray diffraction is the ultimate "microscope" into the structure of matter. My research
involves relating structures of proteins to their spectroscopic, chemical and physiological
properties. We are increasingly interested in the role that entropy, the "dynamics of
thermodynamics", plays in protein structure and function. NMR techniques give insight
into this fourth dimension of time.

We are using our 0.90 Å structures of manganese superoxide dismutase, a key enzyme of
biological defences against reaction oxygen species that arise from living with and using
molecular oxygen, to uncover how this enzyme couples proton transfer to electron transfer
as superoxide anion-radicals are alternately reduced to hydrogen peroxide and oxidised to
molecular oxygen. By means of site-directed mutants, we are also uncovering the origin of
metal specificity that has pairs of near-identical enzymes, where one is active with
manganese and the other with iron but not with the "wrong" metal ion.

With Barry Scott, we are pursuing structural genomics on fungal gene clusters of
secondary metabolism to understand substrate trafficking. With Juliet Gerrard and Emily
Parker (both at the University of Canterbury), we are looking at structure-function
relationships in enzymes that come from metabolic pathways found in pathogens but not
found in humans not only to understand the biophysics of enzyme regulation but also to
design inhibitors as potential drugs.

In collaboration with Gill Norris, Pat Edwards and Fonterra, we are investigating the
dynamics of a key protein from milk whey that is involved in fouling milk-processing
equipment, β-lactoglobulin, by both X-ray and NMR techniques.

I am also interested in the evolution of protein structure and the role that the quaternary
structure of proteins plays in controlling protein dynamics to optimise substrate specificity
and activity, a role quite different to the cooperative functions generally associated with
multi-subunit protein structures.

Finally, I have a long-standing interest in solving the challenges posed by twinned and
other pathological crystal structures, both protein and small-molecule.

Associate Professor Trevor Kitson
+64 6 356-9099 Ext 3560/3529
Science Tower A Level 3, A3.19/ScA4.08

Chemical Biology

Enzymological studies with 'reporter groups'

My research involves the design and use of novel substrates and modifiers for various
enzymes such as chymotrypsin and aldehyde dehydrogenase. In particular I am interested
in developing chromogenic and fluorogenic reagents that will react with the active site of
the enzymes and thus provide a chemical moiety that can ‘report’ on the environment in
which it finds itself. For example, cyclic carbamates of various structure can provide a
coloured p-nitrophenol reporter group or a fluorescent coumarin-based reporter group, and
these have the potential to provide information about the active site of enzymes that have
the ability to act as esterases.

I am also interested in the binding of the ‘heart-friendly’ bioflavonoid quercetin (and
related compounds) to proteins and enzymes.

                                                   Associate Professor Al Nielson
                                                          +64 9 443-9700 Ext 9760
                                                                  Building 6, Albany

Organometallic Chemistry


My research interests are in the area of early transition metal complexes and their
application as homogeneous polymerisation catalysts.

High-valent complexes of the early transition metals containing the organoimido ligand
(       ) have been prepared for Ti, Zr, Nb, Ta, Mo and W and the stabilising effect of the
ligand has been assessed. Alkynes and organonitriles have also been studied as ligands,
capable of stabilising high oxidation states.

The interaction of olefins and alkynes with these complexes is of special interest and a
variety of complexes are being studied where these molecules bind in a side-bound
manner. A recent discovery has been the identification of a complex containing a side-
bound organonitrile ligand.

Mono and bis-phenoxide complexes of titanium are also being studied and assessed for
olefin polymerisation activity.

Overall this research effort is directed at understanding how olefins are polymerised by
early transition metal compounds in order to allow the rational synthesis of any desired
polymer product.

Distinguished Professor David Parry
+64 6 456 9099 ext 3501
Science Tower B, Level 3, B3.03

Structural Biophysics
My research work is concerned with the determination of the structure and function of
fibrous biological macromolecules. X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy have been
employed to ascertain structural details of the thin-filament regulatory mechanism in
vertebrate skeletal muscle and of the growth, development and structure of collagen fibrils
in a diverse range of connective tissues as a function of age.

Computational and theoretical methods have also been devised and employed to relate the
amino acid sequence of a protein to its secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure.
Towards that end we have developed the use of hydropathy profiles to recognise
β−strands lying on the surface of proteins. Work in the sequence prediction area has
provided details of the structure of the rod domain motif in the spectrin superfamily of
proteins and on the structures of the interferons and interleukins, the desmoplakin
superfamily of proteins, laminin and desmoyokin.

An advance in the past few years has been the detailed determination of the structure of
the hair intermediate filaments. We have shown that the expression and assembly of these
intermediate filament proteins, which occurs under reducing conditions at a point just
above the dermal papilla, leads to a structure that is very closely similar to that seen for
other classes of intermediate filaments. However, when the intermediate filament
associated proteins are laid down at a point higher in the hair follicle and conditions
change to an oxidising one following cell death there is a significant structural
rearrangement of the constituent molecules. This leads to a unique structure. These
observations have brought together a diverse group of experimental observations that
previously seemed incompatible. Following on from these studies it has been possible to
explain the different organization of sheets of IF in the para– and orthocortex of hair.
Studies on EBS keratinopathies (epidermolysis bullosa simplex) arising from mutations in
one of the coiled coil rod domain segments have also revealed new insights into the
structure/function relationship.

Recent work has concentrated on the structure of the hair keratin-associated proteins
(KAPs). Thanks to the human genome project the sequences of all the KAP proteins are
now known. Penta- and deca-peptide repeats, as well as longer repeats based on the same
motif, have been characterized. Furthermore, the crystal structures of homologous repeats
in the databases have been analysed. This has enabled possible conformations to be
identified including one in which there is relative free of rotation about the single bonds
connecting consecutive disulphide stabilised pentapeptide motifs. This leads to a
“knotted” string model that ultimately folds up into a more compact structure.

                                                                Dr Steven Pascal
                                                         +64 6 456 9099 ext 3558
                                                  Science Tower C, Level 5, C5.02

Structural Biophysics

NMR-based Investigation of Biomolecular Interactions

We use state-of-the-art NMR spectroscopy (and the Massey Centre for Structural Biology
700 MHz NMR spectrometer with cryo-probe) to study biomolecular complexes related to
disease processes in humans.

Molecules that normally reorient isotropically in solution can be prompted to become
weakly anisotropic via immersion in a liquid crystalline solution. This anisotropy allows
detection of the direct coupling between two nuclear dipoles, which otherwise would
time-average to zero. As this coupling contains an angular dependence, its survival
(“residual dipolar coupling” or RDC) allows the extraction of angular information. Hence
it is now possible to determine the angle between, e.g., two H-N bond vectors from
extreme ends of a large molecule, or between bond vectors from two different molecules
in a complex.

Coupled with other recent NMR advances (e.g. deuteration and quadruple-resonance,
TROSY, cryogenic probes), RDC allows extension of structure determination to
complexes or multi-domain proteins in the 100-kDa range. Once individual domain
structures are determined via more established X-ray or NMR methods (which may
include RDC), RDC technology can be combined with computational approaches to bring
the domains or molecules into their proper relative alignment. Given the wealth of domain
structure information becoming available through structural proteomics projects together
with advances in bioinformatics and modeling, the RDC approach shows great promise in
addressing the next major initiative in genome-based research: deciphering the network of
inter-molecular and inter-domain interactions.

Dr Paul Plieger
+64 6 356 9099 ext 7825
Science Tower A, Level 4, Room 4.11

Anionic Binders

(In collaboration with The University of Edinburgh)
Anion recognition and encapsulation is fast becoming a new frontier in supramolecular
chemistry. Current worldwide research directions are focussed on passive anion
recognition through rigid preassembled anion binding sites. This project involves the
design of dynamic anion binding receptors that switch between differing geometric types
and charges of anions with the application of a driving force (e.g. an applied electrical
potential). A combined experimental and computational approach will be used which
initially will involve the design, construction, and testing of various systems for their
ability to bind suitable anions.

Beryllium Binders

(Project partially sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory)
Beryllium is a unique and valuable metal that is a component of materials indispensable in
today’s aerospace and electronics industries. However due to the toxicity of beryllium,
little attention has been spent on the exploration of the co-ordination chemistry of this
metal. With the introduction of beryllium into consumer products, there is some concern
for the spreading of beryllium containing substances into the environment. In order to
safely protect the environment from beryllium contamination, whether from
manufacturing waste streams or discarded consumer products, suitable clean up and
detection methods must first be established. A typical procedure for the removal of metal
hazardous metals in waste streams is to use an organic molecule which selectively binds
and complexes the metal. This project will design such systems.

In addition to the above core projects, smaller projects are available which will focus on
the improvement in accuracy of various computational methods in predicting properties of

                                                                    Dr Gareth Rowlands
                                                                  64 6 356 9099 ext 3566
                                                  Science Tower A, Level 4, Room 4.12

Organic Chemistry
We are fascinated by all aspects of stereoselective sythesis; the preparation of small chiral organic
molecules in a controlled manner. Chirality, or the “handedness” of molecules, pervades all
branches of chemistry and is of vital importance to the understanding of molecular biosciences.
Through our research we are interested in the development of new methods for the efficient and
environmentally benign synthesis of chiral molecules with particular emphasis on the construction
of novel enantioselective catalysts. All successful systems will be applied to the preparation of
biologically useful materials. The main areas of current research are:

[2.2]Paracyclophane-based catalysts
[2.2]Paracyclophane is a fascinating molecule that shows interesting electronic and structural
features, including the potential to be one of a small class of planar chiral organic compounds.
We want to harness these properties to develop a number of unusual catalysts. These include the
first example of a planar chiral Br∅nsted acid catalyst and a class of novel chiral monophosphine
ligands, which will be utilized in an asymmetric variants of the ubiquitous palladium (0) catalysed
C–N and C–C bond forming reactions.

New Organocatalytic Enantioselective Reactions
There are many industrial important reactions that require stoichiometric quantities of reagents or
cannot yet be performed in an enantioselective fashion. These reactions offer great opportunities
for the development of “greener”, more efficient and economical processes. We are interested in
studying a number of these with the intention of establishing novel asymmetric routes to a variety
of nitrogenous heterocycles.

Peptide-based Carbenes For Organocatalysis
In this project we will design and synthesize an unnatural amino acid that incorporates an
N-heterocyclic carbene precursor. We will then study the activity of this amino acid and peptides
that include this residue in a range of enantioselective transformations.

DNA-based Organocatalysts (in collaboration with Dr. V Filichev)
The inherent chirality of DNA has not yet been exploited in the generation of enantioselective
organocatalysts; this project aims to re-dress this shortcoming. A number of different approaches
to the incorporation of the “active” functionality in to DNA will be studied including modification
of guanosine and the development of new intercalators.

Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger and Dr Robert Krawczyk
+64 9 443 9780
Building 44 Room 11, Albany

Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

We are interested in all aspects of theoretical and computational chemistry, physics and
biophysics including the following areas:

Heavy element chemistry: relativistic effects in chemistry, quantum electrodynamic
effects in atoms, electroweak interactions, superheavy elements.

Inorganic chemistry: Transition element chemistry, cluster chemistry and organometallic
compounds, spectroscopy of inorganic materials.

Organic chemistry: Organic reaction mechanisms, molecular dynamics and tunnelling
effects, metal-protein interactions.

Physical chemistry: Chemisorption processes of molecules on transition metal surfaces,
inversion tunnelling, highly accurate CI-energy-hypersurfaces for three-atomic molecular
collisions, vibrational-rotational spectra of small molecules, chemical dynamics.

Material science: Nanostuctured materials, solid state compounds and polymers, cluster

Nuclear physics: Nuclear multipole moments of heavy elements.

Biochemistry: The origin of biomolecular homochirality, evolution of proteins and sugars,
enzyme kinetics.

                                                                       Dr Shane Telfer
                                                              +64 6 356-9099 Ext 3582
                                                        Science Tower A Level 3, A3.10

Metallo-Supramolecular Chemistry and Functional Materials
We are interested in all aspects of supramolecular chemistry that involve the use of transition
metal ions. Metal ions can play two key roles in supramolecular assemblies: First, they may play
a structural role by ‘stitching’ together organic ligands into large supramolecular assemblies,
often via self-assembly processes. Second, the metal ions may endow these supramolecular
assemblies with useful functional properties such as fluorescence, electrochemical, or catalytic
properties. Our research focus will be on combining these two roles for the synthesis of
functional metallo-supramolecular assemblies. Particular emphasis will be given to chiral
assemblies. Projects in the Telfer group may be tailored to suit the interests of individual research
students. Below are outlines of three projects that are currently active within the group:

(i) Functional Metal-Organic Frameworks
Crystal engineering − the rational design and construction of ordered solid materials − is one of
the most challenging areas of contemporary science. This project will focus on the use of metal-
containing molecular and supramolecular building blocks for the fabrication of crystalline,
porous, nanostructured materials. These building blocks are expected to retain much of their
character in the solid state therefore desired functional attributes may be pre-programmed into
these units. We will specifically target solid state materials which perform useful functions such
as catalyzing reactions, storing gases such as H2, or separating enantiomers.

(ii) Coordination Compounds as Dyes for Dye-Sensitised Solar Cells
Chemistry is expected to make important contributions to identifying environmentally friendly
solutions to the energy problem. Solar energy conversion represents an important area of
inorganic research in this regard as coordination compounds that absorb sunlight can initiate
excited state redox reactions that ultimately yield electrical power or useful fuels.
This project will focus on the synthesis of coordination compounds and their application as
sensitizers for dye-sensitized solar cells. The requirements for a good sensitizer include stability,
strong absorption to the TiO2 surface, high molar absorptivity coefficients in the visible
absorption spectrum, and certain photophysical and electrochemical properties. We have
identified a class of coordination complexes that feature dipyrrin ligands as being extremely
promising dyes. Once synthesized, these complexes will be integrated into photovoltaic cells in
association with Dr Wayne Campbell. Further spectroscopic experiments will be carried out in
collaboration with Dr Mark Waterland.
(iii) Connecting the Dots: Using Coordination Chemistry to Organize Nanoparticles
Nanoparticle systems are fascinating from the viewpoints of both fundamental research and
applied nanotechnology. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) that are protected by monolayers of
surface-bound molecules have generated particular interest and such nanoparticles are readily
synthesized and easily handled. Despite intense research efforts of late, methods for assembling
AuNPs into 1-, 2- and 3-dimensional arrangements remain rather crude. Research in this area is
crucial as spatially well-defined AuNP arrays are essential for future applications in molecular
electronic devices and chemo- and biosensors. The goal of this project is to use the toolbox of
coordination chemistry to organize AuNPs into pre-designed arrays. Metal-ligand interactions
offer advantages of predictable geometries and bond lengths thereby providing an avenue for the
rational design of nanoparticle assemblies. Methods for the fabrication of sophisticated
nanoparticle arrays will be developed on the basis of initial investigations, and this work may also
be extended to other kinds of nanoparticles e.g., semiconducting CdS nanoparticles or gold
Dr Mark Waterland
+64 6 356-9099 Ext 3578
Science Tower A Level 3, A3.09

Materials and Spectroscopy
My research interests span a range of activities from the synthesis of photonic materials to
resonance Raman spectroscopy and nanobiotechnology. An overview of my interests is
given here:

Photonic materials manipulate light (photons) in the same way that electronic materials
manipulate electrons. Our activities with photonic materials involve:

(i)    Self-assembly of photonic crystals
Photonic crystals are the optical analogues of semiconductor – they display optical band
gaps which prohibit the presence of photons of certain frequency. This property has
fundamental interest for controlling the rates of relaxation of photoexcited molecules and
also a variety of applications such as loss-free optical cavities for lasers and sub-
wavelength optical waveguides. We are investigating how we can use surface chemistry to
control the self-assembly of photonic crystals.

(ii)   Nonlinear Optical Chromophores
In a collaboration with Industrial Research Limited (Lower Hutt, New Zealand) we are
characterization the nonlinear optical properties of a new class of promising organic
nonlinear optical chromophores. We are currently building a Stark apparatus to measure
the change in dipole moment, Δµ, between the ground and electronic excited-state. This
parameter is an important figure-of-merit for organic nonlinear optical chromophores

Solvent dynamics in polymer and ionic liquids
New generation display technologies (e.g. oLEDs) and dye-sensitized solar cells both
have charge-transport as critical events. Solvent dynamics play an important role in
charge-transport in these systems. Resonance Raman spectroscopy allows us to
distinguish between so-called inertial and reorientational solvent motions. Both polymers
and ionic liquids should exhibit an unusual distribution of solvent motions and we believe
resonance Raman spectroscopy is an ideal probe of these motions. We are currently
carrying out resonance Raman intensity analysis of both polymer and ionic liquids

This is a new collaboration with Dr. Jasna Rakonjac from the Institute of Molecular and
Biological Science (IMBS). We are using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)
to examine how phage display libraries can be used to selectively template the formation
of gold nanoparticles. For more information on this project please see the IMBS graduate
research booklet and website (

                                                                  Dr Bill Williams
                                                         +64 6 456 9099 ext 3543
                                                  Science Tower C, Level 4,C4.09

Structure-Function Relationships in Biopolymer Systems,
Structural Polysaccharides and Soft Condensed Matter

My current research is focussed on elucidating structure-function relationships in
biologically relevant systems, with the long-term vision that, by learning from Nature,
smart, biodegradable, sustainable systems can be designed to deliver materials and devices
with a range of tailored functionalities. Such work involves a number of activities, from
the molecular engineering of polymeric fine structure variants, through the challenges of
experimental measurement and efficient representation of position resolved structural
variation, to describing how the presence of distinct features impact upon molecular and
macroscopic functionality. Recent work has focussed on polysaccharides, an area that is
increasingly receiving attention beyond its staple agricultural fold, in such areas as the
glycobiological aspects of human health, and the soft condensed matter physics of bio-
inspired smart gels.

Structural Biophysics
Molecular engineering of polysaccharide architectures
Methodologies for polysaccharide fine structure elucidation

Soft Condensed Matter
Measurement and modelling of structural, dynamic and materials properties of biopolymer

Check out the Polysaccharide Biomaterals             Group    if   you   are   interested:

Support services in the Institute
The Institute has first class technical and secretarial support.

The Institute of Fundamental Sciences Specialist Services group is charged to provide
high quality specialist Services for the Institute and, where requested, for other Institutes
within the College of Sciences. The facilities are well equipped and the staff are highly
skilled and helpful.

                                                                   Administrative Support

Institute Administrator                                                  Mrs Toni Wilson

Institute Office personnel provide administrative and secretarial support. They also offer
technical advice on document preparation, handle questions related directly to your
programme of study, and action requests to courier documents.

                                                                      Chemical Services

Manager                                                            Ms Penny Abercrombie

Chemical Services provide chemicals, glassware and consumable items as required
through the Chemical Store for teaching and research programmes. Chemical Services
also manages the Chemical Inventory programme (ChIM), an on-line database of all
chemicals held in stock.


Manager                                                                  Mr Bob Parsons

Cryogenics Services provides liquid nitrogen for teaching and research programmes
carried out within the Institute.

                                                                      Electronic Services

Manager                                                                   Mr Peter Lewis
Electronics Services staff provide front line back-up of the computing needs of the
Institute (both Macintosh and PC platforms). The Electronics Workshop also repairs and
maintains apparatus and equipment as well as offering design and manufacture service for
teaching and research programmes.

                                                               Engineering Services

Manager                                                               Mr Barry Evans
Engineering Services has well equipped workshops with the capability for woodwork,
sheet metal work, fabrication, welding, machining and maintenance of vacuum equipment.
The Engineering workshop also offers a design and manufacture service for teaching and
research apparatus.

                                                             Glassblowing Services

Manager                                                                 Mr Grant Platt
Glassblowing Services has a fully equipped glassblowing workshop and offers a repair,
design and manufacture service for teaching and research programmes.

Questions about your course?
The people listed below will be of particular use in answering questions about specific
aspects of your course, we have also listed several web addresses which may be of interest
to you.

                                                                  Contact Information
                                Office      Extn          Email

Chemistry Graduate Subject Advisor
Professor Geoff Jameson  ScB4.07 7177           

Institute Postgraduate Studies Coordinator
Professor Andrew Brodie    ScA4.19 3536         

Head of Institute, Institute of Fundamental Sciences
Professor Peter Derrick       ScB3.13 3500

Dean, Graduate Research School
Professor Ken Milne      Commerical
                         Centre    5243         

Administrator, Graduate Studies, College of Sciences
Mrs Kathy Hamilton         ScB2.22 5883

Institute Administrator
Mrs Toni Wilson                 ScC5.05     3508

                                                                     International Students
The New Zealand Government have approved a new policy relating to the payment of fees
by new international PhD students.

This policy relates to international students enrolling for the first time in a PhD degree at a
New Zealand university. Students enrolling from 1 January 2006 for the first time will pay
domestic fees for the duration of their studies, subject to TEC funding regulations.

Full information on international fees, admission procedures and financial assistance for
international students should be obtained from the:

                        International Student’s Office
                        Massey University
                        Private Bag 11 222
                        Palmerston North
                        NEW ZEALAND

                        Telephone: +64 6 350 6148
                        Fax: +64 6 350 5698

                                                   Sources of Information on the Web

Institute Home Page

Individual staff pages giving more detail on staff research may be accessed via this site

Massey University Home Page

International Student’s Office

Massey University Calendar

Handbook for Doctoral Study

                                                 Staff Project Information
Ainscough, Associate Professor Eric                                    12
Brodie, Professor Andrew                                               13
Derrick, Professor Peter                                               14
Filichev, Dr Vyacheslav                                                15
Hall, Associate Professor Simon                                        16
Harding, Associate Professor Dave                                      17
Harrison, Dr John                                                      18
Hedwig, Associate Professor Gavin                                      19
Jameson, Professor Geoff                                               20
Kitson, Associate Professor Trevor                                     21
Nielson, Associate Professor Al                                        22
Parry, Professor David                                                 23
Pascal, Dr Steven                                                      24
Plieger, Dr Paul                                                       25
Dr Gareth Rowlands                                                     26
Schwerdtfeger, Professor Peter                                         27
Telfer, Dr Shane                                                       28
Waterland, Dr Mark                                                     29
Williams, Dr Bill                                                      30

                                                        Research Topics
Analytical and Environmental Chemistry                                  16
Anionic Binders                                                         25
Beryllium Binders                                                       25
Bioinorganic chemistry                                                  20
Biophysical Chemistry                                                   19
Chemical Biology                                                    17, 21
Chemical Physics                                                        18
Contaminant Removal from Soils and Waterways                            25
DNA-based Organocatalysts                                               26
DNA-Triplex Technology in Gene Visualization                            15
Electrochemistry                                                        16
Functional Materials                                                    28
G-Quadruplexes                                                          15
Inorganic chemistry                                                 12, 13
Materials                                                               29
Metallo-Supramolecular Chemistry                                        28
Nucleic Acid Chemical Biology                                           15
New Organocatalytic Enantioselective Reactions                          26
Organic Chemistry                                                       26
Organometallic Chemistry                                                22
[2-2]Paracyclophane-based Catalysts                                     26
Peptide-based Carbenes for Organocatalysis                              26
Plasma Physics                                                          18
Polymer Chemistry                                                       13
Protein structure and function                               20
SNP Typing                                                   15
Soft Condensed Matter                                        30
Spectroscopy                                                 29
Structural Biophysics                                    23, 24
Structural Polysaccharides                                   30
Structure-Function Relationships in Biopolymer Systems       30
Theoretical and Computational Chemistry                      27
X-ray crystallography                                        20


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