Dr Markus Müllner-Bačvić

Group leader

Markus received his Diplom in polymer and colloid chemistry at  the  University  of  Bayreuth,  Germany.  After  research  visits  to  the  University of Lund, Sweden, and The University of Melbourne, Australia, he  received  his  PhD in  polymer  chemistry  under  the  supervision  of  Prof.  Axel  H.E.  Müller  in  2012.  He  subsequently  re-joined  the University of Melbourne as a postdoctoral researcher, mentored by Prof. Frank Caruso. In 2013, he was awarded a McKenzie Postdoctoral  Fellowship  by the  University  of  Melbourne.

Markus initiated the Polymer Nanostructures Group (@PolymerNano on Twitter) within the Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids after joining the  School  of  Chemistry  at the  University  of  Sydney in 2015. He is currently a Senior Lecturer, an ARC DECRA Fellow (2018-2020) and an investigator in the University of Sydney Nano Institute (Sydney Nano). He further serves as part of the Advisory board for Polymer Chemistry (RSC), Macromolecular Rapid Communications and Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics (Wiley), as well as on the Community Board for Materials Horizons (RSC). Since 2019, he is  the Chair of the RACI NSW Polymer group.

Dr Thomas Gegenhuber

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Thomas completed his undergraduate studies at Bayreuth University, Germany, graduating with a M.Sc. (Polymer Science) in 2013. He joined Prof. Barner-Kowollik's team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) for his PhD studies, working in collaboration with Dr. Suat Özbek (Centre for Organismal Studies (COS), University of Heidelberg). In 2018, he joined the PNG team, and was subsequently awarded a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship by the DFG to work on molecular brush self-assembly.


Dr Emma Brisson

Postdoctoral Researcher

Emma graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A.Sc. in Nanoengineering and an M.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, where she worked with organic dyes and pigments for organic electronics. Emma recently completed her PhD with Dr Luke Connal and Prof. George Franks at the University of Melbourne, where she synthesised amino acid functional materials. In 2017, Emma worked in R&D in the paint industry and in 2019 made the jump to the PNG team to focus on the self-assembly of macromolecular structures with dynamic triggers.


Théophile Pelras

PhD student

Théophile graduated from the Université de Haute-Alsace in Mulhouse, France. He studied chemistry with a focus on polymer science and later specialised on photopolymers and photochemistry. He then worked for one year in the Institute for Surface Modification in Leipzig, Germany, as a research assistant on photopolymers and hydrogels. In 2016, Théophile joined the group as a PhD student within the Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids. In 2017, Théophile received a Sydney Nano Top-Up Scholarship for his PhD studies. Theo submitted his thesis in mid-2019.

Antoine Niederberger

PhD student

Antoine received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (2014) and his Master of Science in Polymer Sciences (2017) at the Université du Maine, France. He has also spent 1 year at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada, as part of the CREPUQ exchange program. His Master thesis focused on polymer brushes using living radical polymerisation and was performed in the PNG. He has since rejoined the group as a PhD candidate working on molecular polymer brushes for biomedical applications.


Alicia Cheng

PhD student

Alicia graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), with a Bachelor of Medicinal Chemistry (Hons) in 2017. During her Honours year, she undertook a research project under the supervisor of Dr Robert Chapman, with a focus on enzyme (glucose oxidase) stabilisation in glycopolymer-based polyion complex (PIC) micelles. Upon her graduation, she worked as a research assistant for 3 months in the same group before returning to Malaysia. In July 2018, Alicia returned to Sydney and joined the PNG group as a PhD candidate to develop functional polymer systems that can be used to structure electrode materials in lithium-ion batteries. Alicia's studies are supported by a postgrad scholarship from the University of Sydney.


Karen Hakobyan

PhD student

Karen completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney in 2017 with Honours and a double major in chemistry and maths. After initially researching purely in synthetic organic chemistry, he added polymer chemistry to his research interests. Karen is currently working towards the synthesis of well-defined polymers using photoredox chemistry. Underlying this is a passion for reactions and reactivity.


David Cantwell

Honours student

David studied B.Sc. (Adv) at The University of Sydney, before commencing his Honours work in PNG at the start of 2019. He is now working on new semiconductor catalyst systems for light-driven radical polymerisations.

Cheryl Chan

Honours student

Cheryl studied a B.Sc. (Adv Maths), majoring in both mathematics and nanoscience, at The University of Sydney, before joining the PNG for an Honours year in chemistry. Here, she explores polymer architectures analogous to proteins found in cartilage, with potential medical applications in cartilage replacement therapy.




Xinyi (Sophia) Zhang

Masters student

Xinyi graduated from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China with a Bachelor of Engineering in Applied Chemistry in 2018. During her senior year she studied the synthesis and properties of polyethylene glycol-b-polybenzyl threonine polymers under the supervision of Prof. Jianyuan Hao. Having an interest in organic and polymer chemistry, she joined the PNG as a Master of Philosophy student to work on new carborane-containing polymers. Her project is in collaboration with Prof. Lou Rendina's group.



Marius Schoettle

Visiting Master student

Marius completed his B.Sc. in Chemistry and M.Sc. in Materials Chemistry at Bayreuth University, Germany. His research in Prof. Josef Breu's team focused on nanostructuring of clay mineral based composites. Currently, he is participant of the study program "Macromolecular Science" of the Elite Network of Bavaria and as part of this will work at the PNG to structure metal oxides for battery applications.

Dr Neelam Gogoi

Postdoctoral Researcher

Neelam is a postdoctoral research associate at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences (SOLES) and a research affiliate at the School of Chemistry, University of Sydney. She obtained her PhD in Chemistry for her thesis entitled “Hybrid Functional Biopolymers as Advanced Nanocomposite for Catalytic, Drug Delivery and Sensing Applications” from the University of Gauhati, India in 2017. She worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences for 11 months before joining the University of Sydney. She has received many grants and awards including Nature Travel Grant and Royal Society of Chemistry Nanoscale Best Poster Award.

Parathan Ramamurthi


Parathan began his undergraduate degree in a Bachelor of Medical Science at University of Sydney in 2015, but transferred to a Bachelor of Science in 2016 to pursue a major in chemistry. He decided to continue ongoing investigations as part of his Honours project into the synthesis of polymer structures capable of penetrating cancer tissue for the purpose of drug delivery.


Former group members:

Dr Théophile Pelras (PhD Student #1, 2016-2019)
Marius Sch
öttle (visiting Master student, 2019)
Parathan Ramamurthi
(Honours student, 2018/19)

Amanda Gunawan (Honours student, 2018/19)

Carly Baker (Honours student, 2018/19)

Chenyou Zhang (Denison Scholar, 2018/19)

Lorena Zheng (Denison Scholar, 2018/19)

Dr Clare Mahon (Marie Curie Fellow, 2016-2018)

Cindy Tran (Honours student, 2018)

Jiaxin Wang (visiting undergraduate student, 2018)

Eamonn Burke (Honours student, 2017/18)

Peter Truran (visiting Master student, 2017/18)

Celia Chen (Denison Scholar, 2017/18, supervised by Dr Clare Mahon)

Alison Campbell (Denison Scholar, 2017/18)

Olivia McRae (Honours student, 2017)

Vivian Shang (Honours student, 2017)

Stone Woo (TSP student, 2017)

Antoine Niederberger (visiting Master student, 2017)

Saeel Momin (Graduate Diploma student, 2016/17)

Edie Griffith (TSP student, 2017, supervised by Dr Clare Mahon)

Eamonn Burke (Volunteer, 2017)

Lauren Minne (Summer Scholar, 2017)

Dominik Seeberger (visiting Master student, 2016)

Maria Morits (visiting PhD student, 2016)

Vivian Shang (Summer Scholar, 2016)

Eamonn Burke (Summer Scholar, 2016)

Saeel Momin (volunteer, 2015)

Leo Jiang (TSP student, 2015)