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Dr Chris Garvey

Instrument Scientist

Role at ANSTO

Dr Garvey is a research scientist who applies advanced physical characterisations at the interface between biology and materials science. As well as his role as an instrument scientist on the small-angle neutron scattering instrument QUOKKA, Chris’ research explores an underlying theme which is the difference between the behaviour of molecules singly, and as ensembles, or in more complicated mixtures such as cells and their components (e.g. organelles, walls, membranes).The differences are due to the interactions molecules and the host matrix. A particular focus has been cell walls of plants, and the industrially important group of materials called cellulosics.  

Small-angle scattering and contrast variation are important tools for his research.  Chris develops novel measurement environments and methods which further extend the utility of the small-angle-scattering technique to applied and industrial problems.


Scattering techniques, solid-state NMR, biomacromolecules, diffusion, soft-condensed-matter physics, soil science, science education.

Qualifications & Achievements

  • Team won CRC Association Excellence in Innovation Award for "Microclimates for high-value crops".
  • PI ARC Discovery grant, "Origami with triblock copolymers (collaboration with Professor Martina Stenzel, UNSW, and Dr Andreas Wather, Leibniz Institutue for Interactive Materials).
  • DAAD fellowship, September - October 2015, to Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.
  • Co-supervisor of 7 Ph.D. students at various Australian Universities.
  • 7 successful supervisions of Ph.D. students.
  • Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Monash University. 
  • M.Sc. In Physical Chemistry, University of Sydney.

Committees, Affiliations & Memberships

  • Member of Australian Synchrotron User Advisory Committee (2016-2018).
  • Expert on ISO TC 299 Preliminary Work Item on characterization of cellulose elementary fibril samples.
  • RACI Polymer Division committee member.
  • Chair and Organiser, annual Australasian Soft Matter Scattering Workshop.
  • Chair, Crystallography for Soft Matter Symposium, Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry, Prague, September, 2015.
  • Associate Professor Applied Physics RMIT University
  • Senior Adjunct positions at the University of Sydney (School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences) and Monash University (Departments of Chemical and Materials Engineering).
  • Instrument advisory team for the SANS instrument, BILBY, and the new low-q neutron instrument, KOOKABURRA, at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering.
  • Membership of: Australian Institute of Physics, Australian Society for Biophysics, Australian and New Zealand Society for Magnetic Resonance; Royal Australian Chemical Institute; Neutron Scattering Society of America, Australasian Colloid and Interface Society, Australasian Neutron Beam Users Group.
  • Reviewer for: Advanced Materials, Langmuir, Biomacromolecules, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Biophysical Journal, European Biophysics Journal, Physica B, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Cryptogamie Algologie.