STANSW Chemistry K-12 Conference  
Theme : Green Chemistry
Online : Across two weeks of after school PL (3:30 - 5:30 pm)
Week 1 : Mon 14 Sept - Fri 18 Sept
Week 2:  Mon 21 Sept - Fri 25 Sept


Full Conference Registrations are now closed, however you can still register for individual sessions.


In partnership with Macquarie University, our conference will explore Green Chemistry/Green Science framed by the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the UN Development Programme and the 2020 National Science Week theme, Deep Blue.   

This year's conference aims to contextualise Chemical World content in Stages 1 to 5 Science, as well as examine concepts covered in Stage 6 Chemistry through this lens. The aim is provide teachers with experiences to engage in professional learning which assists them to make real-world, relevant and authentic links in the classroom for their students.

NB a separate K-6 Primary program stream will be offered with a focus on Material World integrating Digital Technologies

Week 1 Program Highlights:
 Monday 14 September 2020
Open Plenary brought to you by Macquarie University

1. Executive Dean, Faculty Science & Engineering Magnus Nyden: Welcome on behalf of MQU
2. Prof. Alison Rodger: Importance of sustainability and what that means in Australia

Keynote Topics:
Synthetic Biology and renewable biohydrogen production for a sustainable future
How does plastic pollution impact the world's most abundant photosynthetic organisms?

Q&A Forum Chair:  
- A/ Prof. Joanne Jamie, Dept of Molecular Sciences
- Leeta Caiger,  STANSW Chemistry Organising Committee

KN 1:  Synthetic Biology and renewable biohydrogen production for a sustainable future

Synthetic Biology is a multi-disciplinary field combining Chemistry, Biology and Engineering to solve a myriad of global problems. Synthetic Biology relies on changing the DNA of organisms and enzymes, the cells tiny molecular machines, to perform chemical transformations. One example that demonstrates how Synthetic Biology can be used to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the renewable bio-hydrogen project at the Molecular Science Department at Macquarie University. Hydrogen is a versatile fuel but currently 96% of hydrogen is primarily produced from fossil fuels and thus neither renewable nor clean. The MQ bio-hydrogen team aims to overcome this by genetically engineering bacteria to produce bio-hydrogen from renewable plant-based materials such as sugar. This green hydrogen can be utilised to generate renewable electricity, it can be combined with natural gas in our pipelines to reduce carbon footprints, or used for transportation with zero net carbon emissions. Green hydrogen can also be used for making steel production more environmental friendly. This project emerged from an international undergraduate student competition in 2017 and has since gained great traction. Dr Kerstin Petroll and Jocelyn Johns will present this project and briefly introduce other research opportunities at the MQ Molecular Science Department that contribute towards SDGs.

Kerstin Petroll has a PhD in Synthetic Biology and over 5 years of experience in the development of sustainable bioprocesses. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Macquarie University and part of HydGene Renewables working on the biohydrogen-production and commercialisation.

Jocelyn Johns’ PHD research focuses on improving the yields of engineered bio-hydrogen bacteria. Jocelyn Johns is striving to impact global carbon emissions, saving the world from the current climate crisis, by increasing renewable bio-hydrogen production to reach commercially viable yields.

KN 2: How does plastic pollution impact the world's most abundant photosynthetic organisms?
Human activities are resulting in profound changes to the world’s oceans. Marine plastic pollution is an issue of particular concern and can affect marine life in many different ways, including via leaching of potentially toxic substances. However, almost nothing is known about how such pollutants affect photosynthetic bacteria, key marine primary producers. Our work focusses on the marine bacteria Prochlorococcus, which have an estimated annual abundance of ~ 3 octillion individuals, are central to the marine food chain and thought to be responsible for ~10% of global oxygen production, yet have not previously been considered in pollution risk assessments. We used a suite of different techniques to monitor the effects of chemicals leached from common plastics on Prochlorococcus, from the level of population growth, to cell physiology, down to changes in expression of all genes in the genome. In parallel, we undertook detailed chemical analysis of pollutants to investigate what was contributing to toxic effects. Our work showed that common plastics leach a complex mix of substances and this ‘cocktail’ of chemicals can negatively affect these important organisms, suggesting that plastic pollution has the capacity to impact marine ecosystems in more ways than has been previously recognised.

Dr Sasha Tetu,  Senior Lecturer in the Department of Molecular Sciences. The main research focus is on understanding the genetic basis for microbial adaptation to environmental pressures. They are particularly interested in how microorganisms respond to anthropogenic pressures. They are currently working to combine microbial ecology and toxicogenomics techniques to determine how common chemical pollutants affect key marine photosynthetic bacteria that underpin marine food webs.


Week 2 Program Highlights:
 Friday 25 September 2020
Closing Plenary brought to you by Macquarie University

Macquarie University, Department of Molecular Sciences brings us a suite of keynote speakers addressing our green science theme with a Q&A forum session with participants.

Fri KN1: Accessible evidence for human involvement in modern climate change

While many people readily understand that modern global warming is occurring, the difficulty that many have is in understanding how humans are causing this phenomenon, which is central to their decision-making with regard to what action should they or, others take to solve the problem as well as adapt. There is conclusive evidence that humans are responsible for the rise in modern carbon dioxide emissions which is not often presented in educative or outreach settings. This evidence will be presented in this talk as it is normally done in an outreach manner.

Dennys Angove is an atmospheric scientist who retired from the CSIRO Energy Flagship in August 2014 where, as a Principal Research Scientist he studied the effect of fossil fuel emissions on air quality in the urban atmosphere. Dennys was recently appointed to the Hornsby Council, Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) and is actively involved providing science outreach talks for the WEA as well as the community on air quality and climate change.

Fri KN2: Climate change: challenges & opportunities

Our climate system is changing rapidly as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. In Australia, we are already experiencing severe drought, increased bushfire and flooding risk, coastal erosion and unprecedented heatwaves. The changing climate is affecting all sectors – our economy, food security, health, and communities. But it is our environmental life support system that is feeling the impacts most significantly, with climate change exacerbating many other factors that lead to species loss and habitat decline. This talk will summarise the latest global and national trends in the climate and identify the most important observed and future impacts. It will also outline what we need to do to achieve a stable climate by the second half of this century, and highlight the many exciting opportunities we have to ensure a viable future, both for the planet’s species and our children.

Lesley Hughes is Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) at Macquarie University whose main research interest is the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. She is a former Lead Author in the IPCC’s 4th and 5th Assessment Report, a former federal Climate Commissioner and now a Councillor with the Climate Council of Australia. She is also a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and a Director of WWF-Australia.

Fri KN3: Testing for trace level volatiles in air samples

The presentation will cover aspects of testing for trace level volatiles (usually organic compounds) in air samples using gas chromatography /mass spectrometry techniques.  The talk will cover how these samples are collected in the field and also some case studies on some recent environmental projects & incidents.   For example, a residential vapour intrusion incident from a former industrial site and vapour measurements from a power station fire.

Danny Slee (BSc, hons) is the manager of the Organics laboratory at the National Measurement Institute (NMI, North Ryde) focussing on the testing of trace organic pollutants in air, water and soil samples for regulatory purposes.  A key capability is the analysis of volatile organics using canister sampling followed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.  The air testing facility receives samples from consultants involved in environmental projects such as assessing vapour intrusion into houses, landfill gas site monitoring and contamination incidents.


To register, please sign in to your existing account.   Don't have an account? - Create a new one.

There a two registration options to select from:

1. Full Conference (two weeks)* - up to 10 sessions   $575 plus GST**
2. Per session registration (pay as you go)* - $130 plus GST**

*workshops will be filtered once you select your registration option.  
** member fees will be displayed when you log in to your account and will be issued according to your member grade.

Keynote sessions are included as complimentary when booking in workshop sessions. RSVP is required.

Select your sessions by clicking the ''Add'' button next to each session title.

  Full Conference  
   Per Session
 Individual Member
 $250  $50
 Primary Individual Member 
 $200  $40
 Primary School Associate
 Secondary School Associate  
 $425  $75
 Student/ Pre-Service Member    
 $120  $20
 Life Members
 $0  $0
 Non Member $575   $130  







Completing the STANSW Chemistry Conference Online will contribute to 1.5 - 2 hours/ per session of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 6.4.2, 6.2.2 & 7.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW. STANSW Inc is endorsed to provide the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient Teacher.