Prof. Dave Winkler

Prof. Dave Winkler’s PhD was in chemical physics (radioastronomy and microwave spectroscopy). He is boundary-crossing, lateral thinker with broad academic training in physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, and mathematics. He worked with Defence Science and Technology Organization then CSIRO (where he is currently a Fellow in evolutionary robotics at Data61) for over 30 years. He is an adjunct Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor of Chemistry and Physics at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, and a visiting Professor in Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham. He employs modern mathematical, artificial intelligence, and evolutionary methods to design bespoke bioactive molecules and materials for medical, aerospace, energy, and environmental applications. He published seminal papers on complex systems science, which has guided his research over the past decade.  He collaborates with several international research groups that use automated methods to construct materials libraries with novel properties. He models how materials chemistry, physicochemical properties, and topographies modulate biological properties such as cell attachment, proliferation, and differentiation. He also uses computational methods to design small molecule and peptide drugs and non-biological materials, such as porous and 2D materials. He works with AI and robotics teams to develop soft robots that incorporate evolution across multiple scales, from materials to morphologies. He published ~300 research papers and book chapters, 60 research and client reports, 25 patents, has a h-index of 47, and an 1-10 index of 140. He helped establish several local and international start-up companies including Betabiotics (local, antibiotics); and Asymmetrex (Boston, stem cell markers). He is the immediate past President of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies, past President of the Asian Federation for Medicinal Chemistry, a past member of the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Chemistry, past Chair and Honorary General Secretary of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. He was a recent recipient of the Herman Skolnik award (ACS), Adrien Albert award (RACI), Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) Distinguished Fellowship, and a CSIRO Medal for Business Excellence.


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