Dr Justin Chalker

Senior Lecturer in Synthetic Chemistry

College of Science and Engineering

place Physical Sciences Building (3109)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Justin M. Chalker earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in the History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Pittsburgh in 2006. At Pittsburgh, he contributed to the total synthesis of several natural products under the direction of Theodore Cohen. Supported by a Rhodes Scholarship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Justin then completed his D.Phil. at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Benjamin Davis where he developed several tools for the site-selective modification of proteins. In 2012, Justin started his independent career as an assistant professor at The University of Tulsa where he established a diverse research program in organic chemistry, biochemistry and material science. In 2015, Justin moved to Flinders University as a Lecturer in Synthetic Chemistry and recipient of an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award. Justin has been recognised with several accolades for his efforts in teaching and research including the 2016 Tall Poppy of the Year for South Australia, the 2017 Dream Chemistry Award Finalist (1 of 5 globally), Eureka Prize Finalist for Outstanding Early Career Researcher (2018), SA Science Excellence Awards STEM Educator of the Year (2018) and the AMP Tomorrow Maker Award (2018). In 2017, Justin was promoted to Senior Lecturer and Research Leader in the Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology at Flinders University.

Lab Website: www.chalkerlab.com


Senior Lecturer, Flinders University (2017-present)

Lecturer in Synthetic Chemistry, Flinders University (2015-2017)

Assistant Professor, The University of Tulsa (2012 to 2015)

D.Phil., Organic Chemistry, Oxford University (2011) - Advisor: Prof. Benjamin G. Davis

B.S., Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh (2006) - Advisor: Prof. Theodore Cohen

B.A., History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh (2006)

Honours, awards and grants


  • AMP Tomorrow Fund (2018) $44,800
  • Australian Research Council LIEF (w/ Flinders, UNSW, UWA, UQ) (2018) $380,000
  • SA Science Excellence Awards STEM Educator of the Year (2018) $10,000
  • Defence Innovation Partnership (w/ Hayball, Plush, Sweetman, Fang, Tang) (2018) $150,000
  • Coca-Cola, Brisa Water, and Ogilvy & Mather partnership in water remediation (2018) $26,000
  • Royal Society International Exchange Grant (w/ T. Hasell) (2018) $22,000
  • RACI Academic Sharp Brain Award (2017) $5000
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Project (w/ C.Raston, K.Stubbs, G.Weiss) (2017) $575,000
  • Australian Natl Environmental Science Program, Emerging Priorities Funding (2016) $80,000
  • Australian Research Council, Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2015) $372,000
  • STEMulating Education, Oklahoma Department of Education (2014) $70,000
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2008) $166,000
  • Rhodes Scholarship (Oxford tuition and stipend) (2006) $150,000


  • Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge Mentor of the Year (2012)
  • F1000 Faculty Member of the Year, Chemical Biology Division (2013)
  • Visiting Lecturer, Inaugural Summer School in Chemical Biology, University of Leiden (2014)
  • Australian Research Council, Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2015)
  • Fresh Science Early Career Research Award for South Australia (2015)
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Early Career Researchers, Flinders University (2015)
  • Visiting Lecturer, Marie Curie Training Network in Protein Conjugates, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Lisbon (2016)
  • Tasmanian Alkaloid Visiting Lectureship, University of Tasmania (2016)
  • South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year (2016)
  • Green Chemistry Emerging Investigator (2017)
  • ChemSocRev Emerging Investigator (2017)
  • David Solomon Award, Chemeca and RACI Academic Sharp Brain Competition (2017)
  • Dream Chemistry Award finalist (1 of 5 globally) (2017)
  • RACI Youth Chemistry Lecturer, Tasmania (2018)
  • Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry New Talent Award (2018)
  • Eureka Prize Finalist for Outstanding Early Career Researcher (1 of 3 in Australia) (2018)
  • SA Science Excellence Awards STEM Educator of the Year (2018)
  • AMP Tomorrow Maker (2018)
Research expertise
Organic chemistry
Research interests

Research in our laboratory falls under the general purview of organic chemistry and its application to problems in chemical synthesis, chemical biology, and material science. One goal in our lab is to design reactions, reagents, and catalysts that streamline the synthesis of valuable materials such as pharmaceuticals and polymers. These efforts are closely linked to our commitment to develop sustainable and environmentally benign chemistry. A second goal in our laboratory is to invent chemical tools that are useful in the interrogation of biological systems. This research provides insight to fundamental biomolecular processes and also provides a foundation for novel therapeutic and diagnostic strategies. Prospective Ph.D. and Honours students are encouraged to contact Dr Chalker directly.

For more on our research, visit our lab's website: www.chalkerlab.com

For links to recent publications and bibliometrics, please follow the Google Scholar or LinkedIn icons at the top of this page.

Teaching interests

I am interested in all aspects of organic chemistry and allied fields of biochemistry and chemical biology. Currently I teach second and third year organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and a chemical biology Honours module. In these efforts, I aim to inspire students and convince them that organic chemistry is a valuable and interesting academic discipline in and of itself, but also a highly practical science intimately related to a variety of pursuits in biology, energy, materials, and medicine.

For more:

2018 STEM Educator of the Year Statement

Teaching Webpage

Topic lecturer
CHEM3711 Organic Synthesis and Mechanism
CHEM2702 Organic Reactions
CHEM3712 Introduction to Polymer Science
CTEC3101 Clean Technology (Project Supervisor)
CPES7721 Chemical Biology (Honours Module)
CPES3700 Research Project (Supervisor)
CPES8700 Research Project (Supervisor)
Supervisory interests
Chemical biology
Functional materials
Green chemistry
Organic chemistry
Organic synthesis
Protein chemistry
Sustainable chemistry

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