2021 Organic Division Awards 

Published 8 December 2021 

The RACI is proud to announce the following Organic Division Award winners for 2021. These awards were decided by a series of independent committees:

Dr Lauren Murray and Dr Sadegh Shabani have been awarded the Lew Mander Best PhD Thesis in Organic Chemistry Award

The Mander Best PhD Thesis in Organic Chemistry Award recognizes the best PhD thesis in the field of organic chemistry. 
Lauren earned her BSc in chemistry and biochemistry in 2015 from the University of Adelaide. The following year she was awarded first class honours in organic chemistry prior to commencing her PhD in 2017 under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Jonathan George at the University of Adelaide. Her PhD research focused primarily on developing biomimetic total syntheses of complex meroterpenoid natural products, to gain insight into their biosynthetic pathways. Lauren also completed part of her doctoral research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (University of California San Diego), elucidating the biosynthesis of meroterpenoid natural products through chemoenzymatic assays in the laboratory of Prof. Bradley Moore. Lauren recently moved to a postdoctoral position at The University of Michigan, USA, in the laboratory of Prof. Alison Narayan where she is working on the development of enzymes for their use as biocatalysts to access structurally complex and biologically active molecules. 

Sadegh Shabani undertook his undergraduate and master studies at the University of Tehran. He completed his PhD in the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne in 2020 under the supervision of Prof. Craig Hutton. His thesis on the total synthesis of biologically active cyclic peptides won the University of Melbourne's Monica Reum Memorial Prize. He is now a joint Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on synthesis of antibacterial polypeptides at the Graduate School of Chemical Engineering and Oral Health Research at the University of Melbourne. His research interests include novel synthetic methodologies, synthesis of cyclic peptides, and synthesis of antimicrobial peptides and polypeptides. 

Dr Thomas Fallon has been awarded the Athel Beckwith Lectureship

This is an annual award of the RACI Organic Chemistry Divisions for an early career researcher. 

Thomas studied his undergraduate at Flinders University before moving to the Australian National University in 2006 for Honours followed by Doctoral studies with Prof. Michael Sherburn. In 2013 he moved to the Technische Universität Berlin as an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Martin Oestreich. In 2015 Thomas started his independent research career as a lecturer at Massey University in Auckland before moving to the University of Adelaide in 2018. His research interests are primarily the chemistry of shape-shifting molecules, and natural products synthesis. 

Professor Craig Williams has been awarded the A. J. Birch Medal

The premier award of the Organic Chemistry Division, for sustained excellence in organic chemistry research conducted in Australia by a member of The RACI. 

Craig M. Williams was born in Adelaide, Australia. He received his B.Sc. (Hons) degree in chemistry in 1994 from Flinders University. In 1997, he was awarded a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the same institution under the supervision of Rolf H. Prager. He undertook post-doctoral studies as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany, working with Armin de Meijere (1997-1999), and subsequently with Lewis N. Mander at the Australian National University (1999-2000). Prof. Williams has held an academic position at the University of Queensland since 2000, and during this time has won a number of awards including a Thieme Chemistry Journals Award in 2007, an ARC Future Fellowship award in 2011, and the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research (SCMB, UQ, 2019). The Williams group explores numerous interests within the discipline of organic chemistry (e.g., medicinal chemistry, fundamental molecules, natural product isolation, microelectronics, drug and agrichemical development, impact sensitive molecules) enabled by organic synthesis refined through the construction of biologically active complex natural products (diterpenes, polyketides, alkaloids), and designs synthetic methodology to assist in this endeavour (synthetic transformations and reagents). He especially enjoys teaching whole molecule retrosynthesis to undergraduate and post-graduate students. 



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