The University of Queensland’s Professor Mary Garson.
The University of Queensland’s Professor Mary Garson.
26 August 2013

The University of Queensland’s Professor Mary Garson has become the first Australian to receive a ‘Distinguished Woman in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering’ award for her eminent leadership and contributions to chemistry in Australia and overseas.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists (IUPAC) award was presented at the 47th IUPAC General Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month.

Professor Garson, from UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, said it was an honour to be recognised so highly for her contributions to the chemical sciences.

“Women have emerged as leaders in the worldwide science community and these awards celebrate their successes,” she said.

“However, women are still underrepresented in the top ranks of science. I am passionate about encouraging other women to make significant contributions to science, and hope that this award will prompt more Australian women scientists to put themselves forward for such awards.”

Professor Garson’s research explores the chemistry and chemical ecology of bioactive compounds from marine fauna and from medicinal plants, with the aim of understanding chemical communication in the natural world.

Professor Garson also gave two invited lectures at the World Chemistry Congress held in association with the General Assembly, and introduced a lecture given by HRH Princess Chulabhorn of Thailand on bioactive components from Thai medicinal resources.

Professor Garson will take over the position of President of the Organic and Biomolecular Division of IUPAC in January 2014 for a two year term.

“I am excited about my role in leading the international organic chemistry community to new initiatives and collaborations over the next two years,” she said.

“When I was a university student, I looked ahead to a fascinating and rewarding career as a scientist, and so I really hope that Australian students fully explore the wonderful opportunities that lie ahead of them in science-based careers.”

Media: Professor Mary Garson, PH: 07 3365 3605 or 0402 715 893, Email:

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists (IUPAC)

IUPAC is an international chemistry standards organization and world authority on many global issues involving the chemical sciences. IUPAC serves to advance the worldwide aspects of the chemical sciences and to contribute to the application of chemistry in the service of Mankind.

IUPAC Distinguished Woman in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering award

The awards program was initiated as part of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry celebrations to acknowledge and promote the work of women chemists/chemical engineers worldwide. Recipients are selected based on excellence in basic or applied research, distinguished accomplishments in teaching or education, or demonstrated leadership or managerial excellence in the chemical sciences