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Rona Chandrawati

Scientia Fellow; Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Dr Rona Chandrawati obtained her PhD from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Melbourne in 2012. She was then a Marie Curie Fellow at Imperial College London before returning to Australia in 2015 as a Lecturer at The University of Sydney. In 2018, she was promoted to Scientia Fellow - Senior Lecturer at The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney). Dr Chandrawati's research focuses on developing technology to detect diseases better and faster. Early diagnosis has the potential to radically improve the chances of patient survival but figures show that many people do not know they are ill until it is too late. Traditionally, diagnoses are performed in pathology laboratories; however, these tests can be expensive, slow, need specialized equipment, and are inappropriate for resource-limited settings. Her research team developed colorimetric assays using nanoparticles to detect blood clotting factors, cancer biomarkers, flu biomarkers, and heavy metal ions at clinically relevant levels. These assays will be valuable in prompt identification and early intervention for controlling potential life threatening diseases. The Chandrawati Lab also works on developing colorimetric sensors to detect food spoilage. Over the last 5 years, Dr Chandrawati has successfully attracted over AUD 1.8M in competitive funding as a Lead Chief Investigator. She published in high impact journals including Science, Advanced Materials, Advanced Science, Chem, Nano Letters, ACS Nano. Her recent awards include Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2017), Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Early Career Research (2017), Engineering Dean’s Research Award (2017), New South Wales Fresh Scientists (2017), Elsevier Woman in Chemical Engineering Award (2015), and Monash Engineering Women’s Leadership Award (2015).