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Associate Professor Christopher Sumby

Telephone +61 8 8313 7406
Position Associate Professor & Deputy Dean - Research
Fax +61 8 8313 4380
Building Badger
Floor/Room 1 05
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Chemistry

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Biography/ Background


  • Associate Professor, School of Chemistry & Physics, The University of Adelaide.
  • Deputy Dean (Research), Faculty of Sciences, The University of Adelaide.


  • Associate Professor, School of Chemistry & Physics, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 2013.
  • ARC Future Fellow, School of Chemistry & Physics, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, February 2010 - February 2014.
  • Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, School of Chemistry & Physics, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 2010.
  • ARC Australian Post-doctoral Fellow, School of Chemistry & Physics, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, February 2007 - February 2010.
  • Lecturer in Chemistry, School of Chemistry & Physics, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 2007 - 2009.
  • Foundation of Research Science and Technology (FRST) New Zealand Science and Technology Fellowship, Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, September 2006 - January 2007.
  • Research Fellow, School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, August 2003 - August 2006.


JSPS Long-term Invitational Fellowship 2014 (host: Prof. Susumu Kitagawa, Kyoto); UNSW Visiting Researcher Fellowship 2010 - 2013; ARC Future Fellowship, 2010 - 2014; ARC Australian Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2007 - 2010; Foundation of Research Science and Technology (FRST) New Zealand Science and Technology Fellowship, 2006 - 2009 (funding relinquished).


South Australian Young Tall Poppy, 2009; Ralph Earle Seminar Prize, Department of Chemistry, University of Canterbury, 2002; New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee Claude McCarthy Fellowship, 2002; Royal Society of New Zealand Science and Technology Award, 2002; Haydon Prize in Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Canterbury, 1998.



  • B.Sc. (Hons) in Chemistry, University of Canterbury, Christchuch, New Zealand, 1996 - 1999. Final Year Research Project: Diels-Alder Approaches to Anti-Cancer Prodrugs.
  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Canterbury, Christchuch, New Zealand, 2000 - 2003, working with Professor Peter Steel on the synthesis and study of heterocyclic ligand systems incorporating a chelating di-2-pyridyl motif. Thesis title: The Synthesis and Study of Bridging Heterocyclic Ligands. Awarded July 2003.

Teaching Interests

Chemistry IA: Transition Metal Chemistry

Foundations of Chemistry IB: Main group chemistry

Chemistry III: Physical Organic Chemistry

Synthesis of Materials III: Metallo-supramolecular chemistry

Honours: Structure Solution by X-ray Diffraction Method

Third Year Chemistry Practical Coordinator

Research Interests

The Research Group

The research group occupies a number of labs throughout the Johnson and Badger Buildings of the University of Adelaide's North Terrace Campus.  We have state-of-the-art labs for materials synthesis and structure solution (by single crystal and powder X-ray diffraction - the Bragg Crystallography Facility) that complement the synthetic chemistry facilities.

See our group website:

We work as part of the Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials.  Read our new Blog here.

The research group is co-managed by Assoc. Prof. Christian Doonan.

Current Group Members

  • Post-doctoral Fellows
    • Dr Alexandre Burgun (Jan 2012 - ) - ARC Post-doctoral Fello
    • Dr Cam Coghlan (Oct 2012 - ) - Science Industry Endowment Fund Fellow
    • Dr Witold Bloch - Science Industry Endowment Fund Fellow
  • PhD students
    • Damien Rankine
    • Jack Evans
    • Jesse Teo
    • Mel Kitchin (in collaboration with CSIRO)
    • Renata Lippi (in collaboration with CSIRO)
  • Honours students
    • Michael Huxley 
    • Andrew Tarzia

Major Research Interests:

  1. Porous Materials: The synthesis of porous materials as scaffolds for heterogenous catalysts, and storage and selective separations of gases, e.g. carbon dioxide/nitrogen, carbon dioxide/methane.  Our research is focused on the synthesis of novel linkers and the incorporation of these into porous materials. We have several areas of focus, including:
    • Azolium linkers that can be used to liberate an N-heterocyclic carbene within a framework.
    • Linear links with masked donor functionality.
    • Flexible porous materials (MOFs/PCPs).

    Much of the work undertaken here is in collaboration and supported by the Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials.

  2. Supramolecular Chemistry (of Anions): Some of our research in this area is directed toward materials that display novel interactions with anions and utilisation of such interactions to develop sensors or sequestration agents.  We also work on metallo-supramolecular assemblies, including potential medicinal application of such entities.
  3. Sensor Architectures for MOFs (Microstructured Optical Fibres): We work as part of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) on materials that interface the fibres to analytes.



Research Funding

Project Funding

Kepert, C. J. and others, Solving the energy waste roadblock, Science Industry Endowment Fund

Doonan, C. J., Sumby, C. J., Long, J. R., Metal-organic frameworks as heterogeneous catalytic systems, ARC DP110103741.

Monro, T. M., Sumby, C. J., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Hoffmann, P., Abell, A. D.; Disruptive approaches to biological sensing, ARC FS100100039.

Sumby, C. J.; Internally decorated discrete Metallo-supramolecular Assemblies and infinite Metal-Organic Frameworks as molecular containers; ARC FT0991910.

Sumby, C.J.; Anion Binding and Sensing With Self-Assembled Metallo-Supramolecular Assemblies; ARC DP0773011.

Infrastructure Funding

Gerson, A., Sumby, C. J. and others, Microdiffraction: Advanced capabilities for spatial resolution, trace phase detection and solid object analysis, ARC LE140100122.

Sumby, C. J. and 9 others, Enhanced Powder Diffraction Facilities for SA, ARC LE120000012.

Murray, K. S., Spiccia, L., Deacon, G. B., Batten, S. R., Boskovic, C., Gahan, L. R., Hanson, G. R., Sumby, C. J., Schenk, G., Abrahams, B. F., National magnetochemical facility; ARC LE100100197.

Monro, T. M., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Tan, H. H., Dell, J. M., Madden, S., Sumby, C. J., Ottaway, D. J., Harris, H. H.; Capability for the fabrication and characterisation of mid-infrared photonic materials; ARC LE100100104.

Sumby, C.J., Carver, J.A., Wallace, J.C., Hrmova, M., Pring, A. Abell, A.D., Booker, G.W., Bruce, M.I., Brugger, J., Ford, C.M., Harris, H.H., Morris, J.C., Paton, J.C., Peet, D.J., Pyke, S.M., Shearwin, K.E., Menz, R.I., Abbott, C.A., Anderson, P.A., Brown, M.H., Johnston, M.R., Schuller, K.A., Lopez, A.F., Pitson, S.M., Lincoln, S.F., McKinnon, R.A.; The South Australian Facility for Small and Large Molecule X-Ray Diffraction Structure Determination (The Bragg Crystallography Facility); ARC LE0989336.


Group Alumni

Post-doctoral Research Fellows

  • Dr Tony Keene (Jan 2012 - Nov 2012) - Science Industry Endowment Fund Fellow. Currently Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Southampton.
  • Dr Antonio Avellaneda (2010-April 2012) - ARC Research Associate
  • Dr Peter Valente (2012-June 2014) - ARC Research Associate


  • Dr Maisara Abdul-Kadir (2012), Synthesis and Coordination Chemistry of Polypyridyl Amide Ligands.  Currently: academic at the University of Malaysia, Terengganu.
  • Dr Courtney Hollis (2013), Studies of Hexaaryl[3]radialene Ligands: Synthesis, Coordination Chemistry and Anion Interactions. Currently: research scientist at Bionomics, SA.
  • Dr Witold Bloch (2014), Engineering Flexible Metal-Organic Frameworks from Methylene-hinged Ligands.
  • Dr Herbert T. C. Foo (2014), Optical Fibre Sensors with Surface-immobilised Fluoroionophores. Currently: research scientist in IPAS, The University of Adelaide.


  • Courtney Hollis, 2008
  • Marie Ioannidis, 2008
  • Witold Bloch, 2009
  • Xin (Jenny) He, 2009
  • Stephanie Derwent-Smith, 2010 (mid-year)
  • Damein Rankine, 2010
  • Nectaria Georgopolos, 2010
  • Jack Evans, 2011
  • Michael Lewis, 2011
  • Jessica Noack, 2014 (mid-year)


Professional Associations

Member of the Royal Australian Chemistry Institute (MRACI CChem)

Member of the Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand (SCANZ)

PAC Co-chair - MX beamlines, Australian Synchrotron (

Tall Poppy Selection Panel Committee Member (2013-)

Entry last updated: Friday, 3 Jul 2015

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