Centres and institutes_

Leadership team

Sydney Nano leadership

Our leadership comprises a team of pre-eminent researchers and scholars led by Professor Stephen Bartlett. Our mission is to transform our economy, society and everyday life through multidisciplinary research in nanoscale science and technology. 

We aim to be globally trusted and recognised experts in nanoscience and technolgy. We are working towards achieving this by enabling and facilitating activities and translational outcomes that would not be possible through our existing university structures. 

The Sydney Nano Executive Committee, chaired by the Director, Stephen Bartlett, comprises the General Manager Kristl Mauropoulos and five Deputy Directors, who work to affect our academic, strategic and financial goals.

Leadership team

Stephen Bartlett headshot

Professor Stephen Bartlett 


Professor Stephen Bartlett is a theoretical quantum physicist and Professor in the School of Physics and Director of the University of Sydney Nano Institute. He leads a team pursuing both fundamental and applied research in quantum information theory, including the theory of quantum computing. He is a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), where he leads a research program on Designer Quantum Materials. He is the inaugural Lead Editor of the APS journal PRX Quantum. He sits on the Executive Board of the Sydney Quantum Academy, on the Quantum Expert Advisory Board of the new quantum computing initiative at Transport for NSW, and on the International Scientific Advisory Board of the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Initiative at UBC. He previously served as the Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Science (2020-2023). He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP), and the Royal Society of NSW.

Stephen completed his Ph.D. in mathematical physics at the University of Toronto in 2000. Moving to Australia, he directed his research to the theory of quantum computing, first as a Macquarie University Research Fellow and then as an ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Queensland. Since 2005, he has led a research program in theoretical quantum physics at the University of Sydney, with interests spanning quantum computing, quantum measurement and control, quantum many-body systems, and the foundations of quantum theory.

Kristl Mauropoulos headhsot

Kristl Mauropoulos

General Manager

Kristl is a senior leader with over 20 years of experience across the tertiary education and public sectors. She has qualifications in Marketing, Communications and Public Relations and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Chief Executive Women Leader’s Program. During her career in tertiary education she has held various leadership roles across external engagement, STEM outreach, student experience, executive services and general management and holds extensive experience in strategy development and execution, community engagement and building productive cross-sector relationships.

Kristl enjoys bringing diverse groups together to translate big ideas into actions that drive innovation and impact.

Deputy Directors

Associate Professor Girish Lakhwani profile

Associate Professor Girish Lakhwani

Academic Partnerships

Girish Lakhwani is an Associate Professor in chemistry at the University of Sydney and the Deputy Director of ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science. Girish completed his integrated Master of Science degree in 2005 from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and received his PhD in 2009 from Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. After two postdoctoral appointments at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Cambridge, Girish joined the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney in 2014. 

In his research, Girish uses chiroptical and time-resolved optical spectroscopy to study the origin and evolution of optoelectronic properties in novel nanoscale semiconductor materials to deliver solutions for solar energy harvesting, optical switches, and polariton lasers. He has sustained an excellent track record of successfully and productively directing externally funded ARC and industry commissioned research projects, published 40 research papers in high impact journals of his field, has attracted several international collaborations and received the 2019 Vice Chancellor’s award for outstanding teaching and research.

Associate Professor Alice Motion profile

Associate Professor Alice Motion

External Engagement & Academic Development

Associate Professor Alice Motion is a chemist and science communicator based at The University of Sydney. Their research focuses on open science and Science Communication, Outreach, Participation and Education (SCOPE). Finding ways to connect people with science and to make research more accessible is the overarching theme of Alice’s interdisciplinary research. 

After completing their PhD at the University of Cambridge, Alice moved to Australia to take up a research position at the University of Sydney, where they now lead the SCOPE Research Group and projects in open-source drug discovery, citizen science and creative science education and communication.

Alice is the founder of the Breaking Good project - a citizen science project that aims to empower high school and undergraduate students to be active researchers in projects that will improve human health. Alice is recognised as a leading international science communicator and was awarded the Eureka Prize for Promoting Public Engagement with Science in 2020. Alice is a regular guest on ABC Weekend Breakfast, columnist for Chemistry World, and host of science radio segments and podcasts.

Alice is also currently the Sydney Nano Deputy Director for External Engagement and Academic Development.

Associate Professor Yixiang Gang  profile

Associate Professor Yixiang Gan

Member Engagement

Yixiang Gan is currently Associate Professor at the School of Civil Engineering. He studied in China and Germany and received his Dr.-Ing from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. After joining The University in 2010, he has been developing his research group with unique data-driven modelling and experimental capabilities to optimise engineering solutions for energy storage. 

His research contains a balance between engineering applications addressing grand challenges and curiosity-driven topics transforming fundamental understanding. He has been an active researcher in the mechanics and physics of granular materials from microstructure-informed approaches. His research areas include mechanics of granular and porous media, mechanics of interfaces, and energy geotechnics. He was a recipient of ARC DECRA, SOAR Fellowship, and Endeavour Leadership Awards.

Yixiang enjoys working with others from multiple disciplines and backgrounds. The nature of his research involves extensive collaborations with domestic and international teams on energy storage and micromechanics.

Professor Stephanie Watson profile

Professor Stephanie Watson

Industry, Innovation & Commercialisation

Professor Stephanie Watson is a clinician scientist known for her ground-breaking research in corneal therapies. She leads the Corneal Research Group at the Save Sight Institute and is Head of the Corneal Unit, Sydney Eye Hospital. Stephanie was awarded her PhD, from UNSW for studies at UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology whilst a corneal fellow at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. She has over 200 publications and has raised over $11 million for her research programme. Data from Stephanie’s research has featured widely in Australian and international media, including in the New York Times, and a Sydney Morning Herald article with reach of over 8,309,604 and the film Vitamania. 

As Chair for Australian Vision Research, and the Advocacy and Outreach Committee Chair for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), she contributes to policy and education. 

Stephanie was the only Australian to make the 2021 Power List of the Top 100 Women in Ophthalmology and is an ARVO Silver Fellow.

Maria Rumyantseva profile

Dr Maria Rumyantseva

Industry, Innovation & Commercialisation

Maria Rumyantseva is a Lecturer and Academic Fellow in Innovation Studies at the University of Sydney Business School. She received her PhD from the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland and was a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley and SINTEF (Norway), one of the largest independent research organisations in Europe. Maria held a postdoctoral position at the London Business School. She has combined academic and industry careers, having worked for a major international bank in London before returning to academia permanently.

Maria has a longstanding interest in how research is commercialised with a special focus on commercialisation of science-based, new-to-market inventions. She works with scientists across the University evaluating commercialisation pathways of their discoveries. Her research includes large-scale projects analysing e.g., the commercialisation processes of Australian cleantech start-ups and the impact of CSIRO spinouts on the Australian innovation ecosystem. Results of Maria’s research are published in the top tier management and international business journals.

At Sydney Nano, Maria started as an ECR Ambassador, gaining support for her co-led Catalyst project ‘Nano Technology-Economy-Society’ which studies commercialisation initiatives at Sydney Nano and develops alternative assessments of the innovation process that reflect on its broader societal impact.