Role at ANSTO
Ben has over fifteen years of experience in organic chemistry and radiochemistry and leads the organic chemistry capability and the radiotracer methods research theme in ANSTO LifeSciences.
This role includes management of the synthetic chemistry laboratories, development of new radiolabeling methods, directing staff on chemical synthesis projects and managing the supply of radiolabelling precursors and standards for the ANSTO radiochemistry team. Ben holds adjunct research appointments at both The University of New South Wales and Monash University.
Ben completed a PhD in organic chemistry at Monash University in 2005. The topic of his thesis was the total synthesis of natural products and chemical reaction methodology.
After his PhD he undertook a two year post-doc on the development of X-ray imaging contrast agents before moving to the Melbourne- based drug discovery company Biota Holdings to work on anti-viral therapeutics.
During his time at Biota he established a collaboration with Nobel Laureate Prof. K. Barry Sharpless at the Scripps Research Institute on ‘click chemistry’ drug discovery. He then spent 18 months in Prof. Sharpless’ lab in the United States as an American Australian Association Fellow (2008) before returning to Australia in 2010 to take up his current role as Organic Chemistry Task Leader in ANSTO LifeSciences. In 2014 he took on the additional role of Radiotracer Methods Task Leader.
Research interests and areas of expertise
Ben’s main research interests are
- Synthesis, radiolabeling and evaluation of small molecules, peptides and other biological vectors as potential new radiotracers and radiopharmaceuticals.
- The development of new ways (faster, higher yielding, operationally straight-forward) for radiolabeling small molecules, peptides and other biological vectors with the radioisotopes fluorine-18, carbon-11, gallium-68/67 and iodine-125/124/131.
- Labeling of radiotracers with deuterium to improve in vivo characteristics (NDF collaboration).
- Synthesis of small compound libraries for evaluation as both medical imaging agents and regular pharmaceutical therapeutics.
- Radiotracer / radiopharmaceutical development targeting diseases including Depression, Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
Ben has collaborative projects with Harvard Medical School (Boston, US), The National Deuteration Facility (NDF), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre (New York, US), The University of Texas (San Antonio, US), Curtin University (Perth, Australia) and Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Ben continues his passion for teaching and education through lecturing on Fluorine-18 radiopharmaceuticals at Monash University (Melbourne), Curtin University (Perth) and The University of New South Wales (Sydney).
Qualifications & Achievements
The American Australian Association Dow Chemical Company Fellow (2008) Biota Holdings Fellowship (2009)Dux of Monash University Honours (2000)Dean's Scholarship – Monash Science Scholar Program (1997-1999)
Bachelor of Science (Hons) - Monash University (2000)PhD (Chemistry) - Monash University (2005)
At ANSTO Ben has co-supervised and/or is co-supervising six PhD students (USyd, Curtin, Monash, UWS) and three Honours students (UOW, UWS and USyd).
Secretary of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Radiochemistry Division RACI representative on the Australian Society for Molecular Imaging (ASMI) steering committee AINSE Winter School and PGRA O-week presenter