Role at ANSTO
Rhys joined ANSTO in 2017 as a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Deuteration Facility. His position as a synthetic organic chemist within the Chemical Deuteration team involves investigating biologically relevant molecules that are susceptible to rapid degradation, which may benefit from deuteration to extend their lifetime (for example, deuteration of radiotracers for diagnostic medical (PET) imaging, in collaboration with Human Health at ANSTO). Rhys is also developing the capability of the NDF to deuterate molecules using a state-of-the-art microwave reactor.
Rhys completed his PhD in supramolecular and synthetic organic chemistry in 2016 at Flinders University. This involved the design and synthesis of molecular tweezers (porphyrin receptors with rigid polycyclic/polynorbornyl backbones) and examination of their host-guest chemistry with ligands of different sizes, as well as cooperativity between two intramolecular binding sites. Rhys subsequently took up a position as a Research Officer in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Flinders University (2015-2017), where he synthesised small molecule inhibitors for an enzyme indirectly involved in the regulation of nitric oxide (abnormally high or low nitric oxide concentrations are identified in various disease states).
Qualifications & Achievements
Postdoctoral Research Fellow (National Deuteration Facility, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) – 2017 - current
PhD (Flinders University) – 2016
BSc(Hons), First Class, University Medal (Flinders University) – 2010
Rhys was one of three PhD candidates in South Australia awarded the Playford Memorial Trust PhD Top-Up Scholarship (2010), for high achievers likely to provide benefit to the state, with the ability to enhance their knowledge and skills, and who display leadership potential.
Synthetic Organic Chemistry:
- Supramolecular and host-guest chemistry (molecular tweezers).
- Porphyrins and polycyclic (polynorbornyl) compounds.
- Medicinal and biomolecular chemistry (small molecule enzyme inhibitors), including amino acid derivatives.
- Microwave-assisted synthesis.
- Spectroscopic characterisation techniques including nuclear magnetic resonance and UV/Vis (both at variable temperature, host-guest titrations). Determination of binding models and calculation of binding constants from spectral data. Molecular modelling software.
- Nanotechnology (organic chemistry and surface chemistry).
Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) (2012 – current), MRACI CChem (Early Career Chemist).