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Soap to bones: understanding nature’s underlying patterns

7 August 2012

From soap to bones: understanding nature’s underlying patterns

What could soap and bones possibly have in common? Victoria University’s Professor Kathryn McGrath will explore the answer to this question in her inaugural professorial lecture next week.

Professor McGrath will discuss the natural self-assembly process of biomineralisation, or how organisms grow hard tissue, such as skeletons, teeth and shell, and how scientists are capturing the potential of this process to generate seemingly simplistic and useful outcomes from complex systems. She will explain how self-assembly processes involved in our ability to clean things, control chemical reactions and make complex materials like our bones, are being harnessed by scientists to develop exciting new applications.

Professor Kathryn McGrath is considered one of New Zealand’s leading physical scientists. Her research spans the disciplines of physical chemistry and soft-matter physics, and has implications for medical science, particularly in regards to wound care and medical implants such as better hip replacements.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says Victoria’s inaugural lecture series is an excellent opportunity for professors to share insights into their specialist areas of study with family, friends, colleagues and the local community.

“Inaugural lectures are also an excellent opportunity for the University to celebrate and acknowledge our valued professors,” says Professor Walsh.

In July last year, Professor McGrath was appointed Director of the MacDiarmid Institute of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, succeeding Professor Richard Blaikie, having previously supported the Institute’s work as a Principal Investigator and member of its Science Executive Committee.

She has been an Associate and Principal Investigator on several Marsden Fund grants, and in February 2010 was appointed as a member of an international panel at the Bragg Institute, part of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

Professor McGrath is based in Victoria University’s School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, and is also Director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, a Centre of Research Excellence based at Victoria’s Kelburn Campus. She is also an Associate Investigator for the Riddet Institute of Food, Innovation and Health.

Inaugural lecture–Professor Kathryn McGrath
‘From Soap to Bones: understanding nature’s underlying patterns’
Tuesday 14 August 2012, 6pm
Hunter Council Chamber, Level 2, Hunter Building
Victoria University, Kelburn Parade, Wellington

RSVP by Friday 10 August. Email with ‘McGrath’ in the subject line.


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