Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Chemistry and Physics

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation)
Division / Faculty
Division of Research and Innovation


Are you up for a challenge?

In this project, you'll explore if you can beat nature in making catalytic systems!

Over billions of years, nature has perfected the design and synthesis of high molecular weight precision macromolecules, which are able to execute a specific function in a complex biological environment, such as proteins.

The project will be embedded into a large research effort within the Soft Matter Materials Team aimed at using precision synthetic polymer chemistry to design macromolecules that can be folded and unfolded into precise tertiary structures by outer field stimuli, particularly light.

Ideally, specific colours of light will be able to induce specific morphological changes in the folded single chain macromolecules. Applications of such systems lie in advanced catalysis with improved properties over their natural analogs, i.e. enzymes.

Research activities

In this research project, you'll be involved with:

  • organic synthesis
  • macromolecular synthesis
  • photochemistry
  • soft matter materials science
  • advanced functional materials.

You’ll be working with Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik as part of your research. Professor Barner-Kowollik is an ARC Laurette Fellow and a member of QUT’s Centre for Materials Science and School of Chemistry and Physics.


Upon conclusion of this research, we expect to design macromolecules that can be folded and unfolded by light stimulus.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this research project, you should have strong skills in organic synthesis and a strong interest in:

  • soft matter materials science
  • advanced manufacturing
  • multidisciplinary work between physics, chemistry and biology.

You should also be willing to collaborate internationally.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.