Australasian Colloid and Interface Society

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ACIS Newsletter – Issue 25, June 2021



Dear Esteemed Members,

Welcome to our 25th issue of ACIS News! We produce a quarterly newsletter - sent around in February, May, August, and November (approximately) - to keep the wonderful members of ACIS informed of our initiatives and for members to directly communicate with our Society. We publish job announcements, meetings of interests to our society, career development opportunities any exciting research that you would like to share with us and much more. To everyone up to date with the on-goings in our colloids society, please send your suggestions and items for the next newsletter to or Stuart Brown at


President’s Corner

We once again have run a successful ACIS three-minute PhD thesis event by Zoom on 7 June. Each PhD student who participated received invaluable feedback from the audience and our judges - thanks Emma Brisson & Christine Browne. This will help each student to hone their video for entry in their home university heats and we wish them great success!  Please read on for the wrap up from the organisers - many thanks to Aaron Elbourne and Khay Fong for championing this cause for our future colloid and interface leaders.

The next ACIS event will be the 2nd Viruses are Colloids meeting being organised by Maggie Zhai and Frank Sainsbury. Please keep reading through the newsletter to see the details and save the date – the 13th of August.

You will also find an update on the next Conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists (IACIS2022) rescheduled for the 12-16th of June 2022 at the Brisbane convention centre. Our inveterate chairs, Greg Warr & Ian Gentle have been grappling with the very difficult prospect of who can, may or will attend this international conference. At this stage it is on as you’ll see later in the newsletter, so please save those dates too and join the mailing list via

Finally, I would like to encourage those members keen to be more active in ACIS to consider nominating for one of the following two subcommittees: (1) Equity & Diversity, and (2) Awards. Serving on a subcommittee is a great way to meet fellow members, learn about ACIS, shape its future and thankfully is not too onerous. So if that sounds like you, please email Frank Sainsbury via  for Equity & Diversity, or Joe Berry via for Awards straight after you have finished reading your newsletter! For those who have served on these subcommittees recently – thank you very much on behalf of the Board. If you wish to continue in this role, please still send an email through to Frank or Joe.

Erica Wanless (President)





A Letter From Sydney:

Dear colleagues,

IT’S HAPPENING! We couldn’t leave you without some sassy colloids and surfaces, now could we...? Please join us again in 2021, either face-to-face at UNSW or online.

The Sydney Surfaces and Soft Stuff meeting is a one-day symposium for researchers in colloids and interface science who are based in and around Sydney. The idea is to get to know other people in the neighbourhood who are doing related work. Our aim is for the oral presentations to be predominantly given by 2nd and 3rd year PhD students. There will be an opportunity to discuss posters too.

Sassy2021 will take place on Friday, July 9, 2021 at UNSW. We are limited to 50 people at the on-campus event and we will have an option to attend the talks online.

We still have no registration fee – so it's free to get Sassy! We do, however, need you to register in advance; as part of our COVIDsafe event plan, we will be separately ticketing the f2f and online events.

Sassy2021 covers the science and engineering aspects of soft matter:

-       colloids, nanoparticles, emulsions, liquid crystals

-       surface science

-       microfluidics

-       polymers and surfactants at interfaces


Key dates:

Abstract submission for talks: June 22, 2021

Title/author submission for posters: July 2, 2021

Registration: July 2, 2021

Getting Sassy: July 9, 2021

 So, book that date into your calendar, find your login details for the website, register to attend, and start planning out that stellar talk you always wanted to give.


Stuart Prescott




Cubosome Based Therapeutics for Tuberculosis

We are delighted to share the featured research (ongoing) on Inhaled #nano-therapeutics for Tuberculosis by Sampa Sarkar and her group at RMIT. This was recently published on the website of the Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation (funding body). They are one of the very few groups in Victoria that work on #Tuberculosis host infection models (in vitro) and develop nano-drug/Aptamer formulations (lipid-cubosome based) that have the potential to be used as inhaled therapeutics.

You can find out more about their research at the Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation website:



A Simple Methodology for Utilising Biorefinery By-Product Lignin in Polyurethane Industry

The article, featuring contributions from the University of Queensland (UQ), and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), describes a simple solvent-free method of dispersing technical lignin in polyester polyol that can be used for the manufacturing of high-performance polyurethane foam. This was achieved through judicious selection of polyol blend based on functionality, molecular weight and solubility parameter and maintaining colloidal stability of lignin dispersion. The cellular microstructure of rigid polyurethane foam (RPUF), produced using these dispersions, was found to improve the thermal insulation of foam by reducing thermal conductivity about 30-34 %. The magnitude of improvement in thermal insulation properties of foam with kraft lignin is significant for the first time which will have implications. This strategy for enhancing dispersion of technical lignin into polyols can be beneficial in the polymeric materials such as coatings and composites, other polymers that utilise polyols. From circularity point of view, this approach can tap the polyols that are chemically recycled from polyester (PET) plastics as well.

‘Dispersion Methodology for Technical Lignin into Polyester Polyol for High Performance Polyurethane Insulation Foam’, with contributions from UQ and QUT, and published in ACS Applied Polymer Materials (DOI: 10.1021/acsapm.1c00430)

Queensland University of Technology - Chapel & YorkIf you wish to find out more information about this exciting project, you can contact Dr. Pratheep Kumar Annamalai















Barry Inglis Medal Congratulations!

Dr Joe Berry of the University of Melbourne has been awarded the 2021 Barry Inglis Medal from the National Measurement Institute of Australia. The Barry Inglis Medal is an annual award recognising outstanding achievement in measurement research and excellence in practical measurements in Australia. Dr Berry has been recognised for his outstanding work in surface tension and contact angle measurements. His research has provided a paradigm shift in the experimental flexibility, accuracy, speed, and reproducibility of tensiometry, used in a wide range of fields to measure surface tension and contact angle. Translation of his findings through the open-source measurement software OpenDrop has opened up key measurements to all at significantly lower cost, especially benefitting those unable to afford expensive commercial equipment. The latest version of OpenDrop has just been released (now compatible with Windows) and is available from Feedback and suggestions are welcomed!





The 2nd Annual ACIS 3 Minute Thesis Heat

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is a celebration of the novel and exciting research conducted by PhD students in our community. It is an opportunity for these students to present their work and develop their presentation skills by effectively explaining their research in three minutes or less, in a way that a non-specialist audience can understand.

The 3MT organising committee and ACIS would like to thank those that attended/presented at the 2nd Online ACIS 3MT heat on the 7th of June. With 15 unique talks it was a fantastic event and the overall calibre of the student presentations was high. It was a pleasure to see the outstanding science occurring in the field of Colloids Science from the students.

ACIS would like to congratulate Ms. Biserka Lakic of RMIT University, who won the ACIS 3MT heat with her presentation entitled “Fighting Bacteria with Encapsulated Cubosomes”. Biserka will be receiving a $100 voucher and a certificate for this achievement. 

The order of the best 3 talks was:

1. Biserka Lakic (RMIT) “Fighting Bacteria with Encapsulated Cubosomes”

2. Syaza Binte Abu Bakar (Monash University) “Colostrum Mimic”

3. Hayden Robertson (University of Newcastle) “Polymers as a Foundation for Smart Surfaces”

A special mention goes to Annelisa S Rigoni (RMIT) for her talk on “Do You Want to Fly… Clean Energy Style?” as well as a special thank you to both Dr. Emma Brisson and Dr. Christine Browne for helping to judge the event and Dr Aaron Elbourne and Dr Khay Fong, the 3MT Organising Committee.




Update! The 17th Conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists 2022 (IACIS)

IACIS 2022 will go ahead in June 2022 in Brisbane as a face-to-face meeting, but with a virtual attendance option for those unable to physically attend. This will be particularly important for overseas delegates as it is unlikely that international travel will have resumed in the normal way by then. The Organizing Committee is working closely with Arinex to deliver an experience that will be an excellent opportunity to share the latest research being undertaken around the world and network with the colloids and interfaces community, as every previous IACIS meeting has been. For the latest information and updates keep an eye on



Viruses are Colloids – Making Friends from Foes?

The Australasian Colloid and Interface Society (ACIS) is pleased to announce the 2nd “Viruses are colloids- making friends from foes?” Symposium, which is going to be online on Friday the 13th of August, 10 am to 1 pm. Following the big success of the first “Viruses are colloids - how can colloid science impact Covid-19 and beyond?”, we are going to hold another exciting symposium for everyone who has interests at the intersection of colloids and viruses. We have confirmed two esteemed research leaders as our keynote speakers:

- Professor Trevor Douglas (Indiana University Bloomington)


- Professor Katherine Kedzierska (The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection & Immunity)

This year, we would like to encourage students who undertake research at the intersection of colloids and viruses to participate. There will be a prize for the winner of the best student presentation. We will keep you informed as the program develops. If you would like an opportunity to present at the event, please contact Maggie ( or Frank (


You can register your attendance to make sure you stay up to date with further details of this event here.






Applications are now open for a travel bursary for an early career researcher to visit a laboratory within Australia or New Zealand. Up to $1250 is available to cover costs towards travel and accommodation. No minimum length for the laboratory visit is required. However, a length compatible with the justified aim of the visit will be given preference. It is expected that the bursary recipient will present a seminar at the host institution. Support is to be limited to financial members of ACIS at the time of application (1st of August). The proposed travel must be in accordance with existing travel restrictions in Australia and New Zealand. Travel should be completed within eight months after awarding the bursary (i.e. by 30th April 2022). In addition to travel, there may also be the opportunity to present at the Early Career Colloid Network Webinar on the 15th-16th of September this year (to be confirmed). For information on how to apply see:


The application must be made within five years of PhD conferral, with career interruptions, such as for illness, caring or parenting responsibilities, etc. taken into consideration by the ACIS awards committee when determining eligibility. The applicant must be a current financial member of ACIS at the time of application.

Applicants with a clear and concise one-page proposal and a well-articulated vision of the benefits of their visit to the host lab will be favoured.

Applications or requests for further information should be addressed to Dr Joe Berry, Chair of the Awards Committee of ACIS:



AU $200,000 from Innovative Manufacturing CRC and Industry Partner BiomeBank

Congratulations to Dr. Srinivas Mettu and the RMIT University Team that secured a grant worth of AUD 200k from Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Center (IMCRC) in collaboration with the industry partner from Adelaide, BiomeBank. This project (start date 15th of March 2021) explores the use of hydrogel bioreactors to produce artificial stool with a beneficial probiotic bacteria mixture to be used as faecal microbial transplant (FMT) to treat gut dysbiosis and other gastrointestinal infections.

RMIT News:


BiomeBank News:

Paper Link:


















Call for Nominations: 2021 JCIS Darsh Wasan Award

The Journal of Colloid and Interface Science is currently seeking nominations for the 2021 JCIS – Darsh Wasan Award. The annual award, given for the first time in 2007, for outstanding contributions to the field of surface and colloid chemistry.

The Awardee is expected to deliver a Plenary Lecture at the 11th International Colloids Conference in Palma, Spain, December 2021 as well as a feature article manuscript on the award lecture, to be published in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, subject to peer review.

The Awardee will receive a EUR 2,500 honorarium, free registration at the 11th International Colloids Conference, as well as travel reimbursement.

For more information click here. Nominations should be sent as a single pdf file to Rob van Daalen, ( by 1 July 2021.



Young Scientist Encouragement Award from ATA Scientific

This is our young scientist Encouragement award where we are giving away 10 prizes - $1000 as the first prize and 9 runner up prizes $200 each.

For details please see our awards page here





PhD Opportunities at RMIT

Light Scattering Techniques for Characterising Blood Platelets In Solution

Human platelets are one of the key cell types found in whole blood. They have a primary role of halting blood flow, where they are essential to maintain the integrity of the vascular system. Blood services globally face logistic challenges due to the short shelf life: the daily demand is unpredictable, so balancing an adequate inventory without incurring excessive wastage is problematic. In 2018, ~ 150,000 units of platelets were supplied to hospitals in Australia, and approximately 9% (13,000) were not transfused due to expiry, with an estimated cost of $7.5 million. Methods for safe long-term storage could prevent large amounts of wastage and save millions of dollars per annum. When stored in the cold or cryopreserved, platelets change morphology from their resting discoid shape to a more spherical form, accompanied an increase in microparticle formation along with a range of biochemical changes. This project will develop new methods for the characterization of the platelet’s morphology and their associated microparticles using light scattering techniques and use this knowledge to develop improved long-term storage strategies for platelets. The experimental program will involve several related techniques: 1) Combined Static and Dynamic Light Scattering (MDLS). DLS is a standard technique. However, very few labs have the expertise to conduct combined multi-angle Static and Dynamic Light Scattering. CI Bryant is a world leader in the application of such techniques, from early work on MDLS for the extraction of particle size distributions, to the accurate characterization of nanoparticle shape and conformation. 2) Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). Small angle X-ray scattering is a powerful technique for determining the shape of particles in solution. CI Bryant has been investigating biological problems using SAXS and related techniques such as small angle neutron scattering (SANS), for his whole career, including understanding the interactions between proteins and membranes and for characterizing complex particles in solution. The PhD student will work in collaboration with a research fellow who will handle the biology and platelet preparation. The PhD student should have a good Honours degree or equivalent in Physics, Physical Chemistry, Applied Maths or Engineering.

Further details can be found here.

Contact Details: To discuss this project further and details on how to apply please contact:  Prof Gary Bryant (




Postdoctoral Opportunity at the University of Sydney

The University of Sydney is looking to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Associate on lubricant-infused surfaces to support the research activities funded by the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to explore, drag-reducing and anti-fouling properties of lubricant-infused surfaces with physical and computational experiments.  In this role you will work under the supervision of Professor Chiara Neto and be part of an effort to increase our understanding of flow and wetting at surfaces, involving PhD students and researchers in the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney.  Our research is primarily experimental and relies on state-of-the-art surface modification and characterisation. Theoretical tools and computer simulations are also used in quantitative data analysis and mathematical modelling of the underlying processes.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the position is open to Australian and New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, or candidates requiring a visa but currently in Australia.

If you are interested, please find more information here:



Join our Awards, Communications, Conferences and Events Committees

ACIS needs its members to be actively engaged. Please let us know if you would like to be involved in the committees that will run the activities of the Society: Awards; Communications; Conferences and Events. Or if you would like to propose other activities we should be running. We especially invite students and early-career researchers to become involved. Please email your interest to

Visiting Scientist Register

Are you planning to host a visit by an outstanding scientist in the colloid and interface field? Why not let ACIS members know about the visit? We aim to keep track of visiting scientists, to facilitate their introduction to the Australasian scientific community. Please email details of the visit to

ACIS Membership

Please encourage your colleagues, students and industrial partners working in the field of colloids and interface to join us. General membership is $100 per annum. The membership year is from 1st March each year. Memberships paid after this date are valid until 28th February of the following year. More information is available on our website


LinkedIn LogoUse Our LinkedIn Group to Tell People Your News

ACIS is now present on LinkedIn. Please join our LinkedIn group and post discussion items on job ads, conference calls, and interesting facts about the wonderful world of colloid and surface science.


Or Tag your Friends and Colleagues

Share your next big breakthrough, job opportunity or beautiful science with the ACIS community by using @AusColloids.



The Newsletter team is:

Christine Browne –


Stuart Brown –