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I received my BSc (1985), MSc (Hons, 1986) and PhD (1988) in Chemistry from the University of Auckland. I was supervised by Graham Wright for my PhD studies on establishing the mechanism for the charge and discharge of the lead anode in the lead-acid battery system. I then worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the then University of Wales College of Cardiff with the late David Williams (School of Chemistry) and the late Michael Barnett (School of Pharmacy). This project was focused on understanding and then predicting the behaviour of fat emulsions in complex intravenous nutrition formulations. In 1991 I moved to the Manchester Metropolitan University (the former Manchester Polytechnic) and spent 5 years teaching undergraduate and postgraduate Chemistry to, amongst others, students on day release from employment in the region's chemical industries. I was also a regional tutor for The Open University during this time. In 1996 I then moved to take up a lecturing position in Chemistry at Massey University. At this point I recommenced my research interests in electrochemistry, both in establishing mechanisms and in energy storage applications. One study with PhD student Michael Liu led to the development of a viable zinc electrode for use in rechargeable zinc batteries.
In 2002 I went on a Leave of Absence from Massey University to take up 6 month Visiting Scientist position at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the USA.
In late 2003 I went on a second Leave of Absence to work as Chief Science Officer for the spin out companies Anzode (NZ) Ltd and Anzode Inc (USA) formed to commercialise the zinc battery work.
In late 2007 I returned to Massey University having completed the science objectives with Anzode. I have been Professor of Electrochemistry since 2010.
Awards and Honours include: Fellow of the NZ Institute of Chemistry (2008), Fonterra Prize for Industrial & Applied Chemistry (2008), Bayer Innovators Award for Research and Development (2010), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2010). I was a founding Principal Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and since 2015 have been an Emeritus Investigator in that Institute.
In 2015 I was appointed as a Director on the Boards of both NZ Genomics Ltd (NZGL) and REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network NZ). NZGL is a collaboration between the University of Otago, the University of Auckland and Massey University and provides an end-to-end genomics service within New Zealand – from experimental design and data sequencing, through to bioinformatics support and data storage. REANNZ is a Crown-owned company that owns, operates and enhances New Zealand’s advanced computing network.
I have led the Chemistry & Biophysics Group in the Institute of Fundamental Sciences (2010-2012), am now the Head of Institute for the Institute of Fundamental Sciences and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Sciences.
Career summary: BSc (1985), MSc (Hons, 1986) and PhD (1988) in Chemistry,University of Auckland; Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Wales College of Cardiff, 1988-1991; Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, Manchester Metropolitan University, 1991-1996; Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, then Professor in Electrochemistry, Massey University, 1996-now; Chief Science Officer, Anzode NZ Ltd & Anzode Inc (US), 2003-2007; Principal Investigator (2003-2015) then Emeritus Investigator (2015-now), MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology; Director and Board member, NZGL (NZ Genomics Ltd), 2015-now; Director and Board member, REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network NZ), 2015-now.
My research over the last 12 years has been focussed on the application of electrochemistry to energy storage. The bulk of this work has been in the area of rechargeable batteries with peripheral involvement in solar cells. My work with PhD student Michael Liu (1997-2003) led to the development of a practical zinc anode for use in rechargeable alkaline batteries. Until that point zinc electrodes were highly prone to failure during charge-discharge cycling due to changes in electrode shape. We patented this work and the company Anzode was formed by CEO Chris Officer to commercialise this work. The work necessarily remains confidential. Our original patent filing in 2001 has now led to the granting of patents in 18 countries or patent territories (with on-going patent applications in a further 8 countries). I also am a co-inventor on 4 other granted patents from work I was involved in at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
In 2011, together with colleagues Mark Waterland and Gareth Rowlands, Massey University and the BioCommerce Centre we formed the spin-out company Synthodics Ltd. This company was formed to provide a commercial vehicle for our next battery developments. In 2012 we were granted 'Smart Ideas' funding by the NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to develop our research.
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Field of research codes
Chemical Science (030000): Chemical Thermodynamics and Energetics (030602): Colloid and Surface Chemistry (030603): Electrochemistry (030604): Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural (030600)
Project Title: New cathodes for aqueous rechargeable batteries
Date Range: 2012 - 2014
Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment