Associate Professor Marc in het Panhuis
Australian Research Council Future Fellow
Associate Professor, School of Chemistry
Associate Dean (International), Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
Head, Soft Materials Group
Research Mentor, Early Career Researchers Development Program
Coordinator, International Bachelor of Science degree program
Associated Editor, Journal of Materials Chemistry B
PhD, Physics, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland
Ingenieur, Chemical Engineering, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Although Marc was originally interested in History, his desire to understand how nature and the physical world functions led him to a career in science, while history became his hobby.
He studied and worked in four different countries (Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom and USA) before settling in Australia to join the University of Wollongong in 2006. Although Marc says he made the move in order to work with Professors Gordon Wallace and Leon Kane-Maguire, for whom he had much respect for their ‘boundless energy and zest for research’, his love of the local surf beaches may also have influenced his decision!
His main research focus is to combine bio and synthetic polymers with carbon nanostructures, and/or conducting polymers via processing techniques such as additive fabrication into soft (wet and tough) materials for water treatment, soft robotics, bionics and tissue engineering applications.
In 2009, Marc was awarded a ARC Future Fellowship and he became a Chief Investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, contributing to the Materials and Bionics programs.
Marc has obtained significant amounts of research funding and has 120 papers (80 refereed journal papers, 30 conference papers and 10 book chapters) and 4 patents. Since moving to Australia in 2006, research on hydrogel forming biopolymers (such as gellan gum), and their reinforcement and processing using printed methodologies, have become increasingly important features of his work. Biopolymers are now an integral part of the research efforts of seven out of nine PhD students currently under his supervision.
Understanding materials characteristic and its importance in processing and materials fabrication has enabled him to make a number of breakthroughs in the processing of conducting materials (including printing of device structures) as well as the development of self-healing hydrogels and bio-inks for the printing of living cells.
A gifted and experienced science communicator, Marc particularly enjoys working with children, students and early career researchers. He is inspired by the excitement in school children when talking to them about science and the world around us such as gels in the ocean.