AIP Prize Winner

23 November 2011

School of Physics PhD candidate, Ms Stacey Hirsh, has been awarded the 2011 Ken Doolan Memorial Prize ($1,000) by the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP).

The prize is awarded each year at the AIP Industry Day to the student with the most outstanding scientific poster in the fields of physics and chemistry.

Stacey presented her research showing how the novel, linker-free covalent immobilization method developed by Professors Marcela Bilek and David McKenzie can be used to control the immobilization of protein mixtures.

Adsorption from protein mixtures is difficult to control because competitive protein exchange results in undesired layer instabilities both in the structure and composition of the surface adsorbed protein layer.

Overcoming this problem, she demonstrated that rapid linker-free covalent binding provided with surface activation from plasma treatment enables the control of the attached protein composition through a combination of parameters, including the manipulation of the protein flux to surface and the covalent binding time.

The proteins are also attached in their native conformation, which preserves their function when immobilized on the surface.

She also showed industrial applications of controlled protein mixture immobilization, including bioreactors for ethanol fuel production from cellulose waste resources (cardboard and agricultural waste) and medical devices with improved biocompatibility.

This work has been published in high-impact scientific journals, Langmuir and Journal of Materials Chemistry. The details of the free radical-based covalent attachment mechanism have also recently been published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Contact: Alison Muir

Phone: 02 9036 5194

Email: 320a420323346c2b1e1f0779323d3402534c4613053a40195e