Section: Overview
Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching
Career

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Computational Chemistry
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Physical chemistry
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Chemical education

Available to supervise research students

Not available for media queries

About John Orbell

Professor Orbell has been a Professor of Chemistry since 2004. He has a diverse range of research interests and an international profile in a number of areas.

He was born in London, England. He completed his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Auckland in 1979 – where he had been employed as a Lecturer in Chemistry from 1974 to 1978.

His current research interests include:

  • the identification of potential drug leads from traditional medicines
  • the effect of electromagnetic fields on physical and chemical processes,
  • the development and implementation of wildlife rehabilitation technologies
  • the development of improved technologies for the conversion of food waste to biogas
  • the application of computational chemistry methods to the study of biological molecules and their properties.

From 1980 to 1981 he was awarded a Johns Hopkins University Research Fellowship to undertake postdoctoral studies. Subsequently, from 1982 to 1987 he held research and teaching positions at the University of Trieste in Italy, Flinders University of South Australia, the University of Maryland, U.S.A, and St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia.

In 1988, he was appointed as a Lecturer in Chemistry in the School of Applied Science at the Western Institute, Melbourne – later to become part of Victoria University.

From 1993 to 1997 he was the Head of the Department of Environmental Management at Victoria University.

Since its inception, Professor Orbell has contributed to the development of educational programs and research culture at Victoria University.

Qualifications

  • PhD (Chemistry), University of Auckland, NZ, 1980

Key publications

Year Citation
2018 Piyadasa, C., Yeager, T. R., Gray, S. R., Stewart, M. B., Ridgway, H. F., Pelekani, C., & Orbell, J. D. (180301). Antimicrobial effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields from commercially available water treatment devices - controlled studies under static and flow conditions. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, 93(3), (871-877).

doi: 10.1002/jctb.5442

2017 Stewart, M. B., Myat, D. T., Kuiper, M., Manning, R. J., Gray, S. R., & Orbell, J. D. (170515). A structural basis for the amphiphilic character of alginates - Implications for membrane fouling. Carbohydrate Polymers, 164 (162-169).

doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2017.01.072

2017 Piyadasa, C., Yeager, T. R., Gray, S. R., Stewart, M. B., Ridgway, H. F., Pelekani, C., & Orbell, J. D. (170501). The influence of electromagnetic fields from two commercially available water-treatment devices on calcium carbonate precipitation. Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology, 3(3), (566-572).

doi: 10.1039/c7ew00060j

2017 Bigger, S. W., Ngeh, L. N., Dann, P., & Orbell, J. D. (170101). Towards a quantitative indicator of feather disruption following the cleansing of oiled birds. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 120(1-2), (268-273).

doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.04.051

2017 Finger, A., Lavers, J. L., Dann, P., Kowalczyk, N. D., Scarpaci, C., Nugegoda, D., & Orbell, J. D. (170101). Metals and metalloids in Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) prey, blood and faeces. Environmental Pollution, 223 (567-574).

doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.01.059

2016 Finger, A., Lavers, J. L., Orbell, J. D., Dann, P., Nugegoda, D., & Scarpaci, C. (160915). Seasonal variation and annual trends of metals and metalloids in the blood of the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 110(1), (261-273).

doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.06.055

2015 Finger, A., Lavers, J. L., Dann, P., Nugegoda, D., Orbell, J. D., Robertson, B., & Scarpaci, C. (150713). The Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) as an indicator of coastal trace metal pollution. Environmental Pollution, 205 (365-377).

doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.06.022

2014 Stewart, M. B., Gray, S. R., Vasiljevic, T., & Orbell, J. D. (141104). The role of poly-M and poly-GM sequences in the metal-mediated assembly of alginate gels. Carbohydrate Polymers, 112 (486-493).

doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.06.001

2014 Stewart, M. B., Gray, S. R., Vasiljevic, T., & Orbell, J. D. (140215). Exploring the molecular basis for the metal-mediated assembly of alginate gels. Carbohydrate Polymers, 102(1), (246-253).

doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2013.11.034

2014 Myat, D. T., Stewart, M. B., Mergen, M., Zhao, O., Orbell, J. D., & Gray, S. (140101). Experimental and computational investigations of the interactions between model organic compounds and subsequent membrane fouling. Water Research, 48(1), (108-118).

doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2013.09.020

Research funding for the past 5 years

Please note:

  • Funding is ordered by the year the project commenced and may continue over several years.
  • Funding amounts for contact research are not disclosed to maintain commercial confidentiality.
  • The order of investigators is not indicative of the role they played in the research project.

Protecting Victoria's little penguin population from the adverse effects of oil-spill contamination
From: Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMST)
For period: 2018-2020
$89,081

The Research and Development of Iron Powder/Zeolite Blend for the Cleansing of Oil Spills
From: Phillip Island Nature Park
Investigators: Dr Lawrence Ngeh, Mr David Kay, Prof Stephen Bigger
For period: 2016-2016
Not disclosed

The application of magnetic particle technology to wildlife remediation
From: Penguin Foundation
Investigators: Prof Stephen Bigger
For period: 2015-2018
$115,000

Transformation of EDCs/PPCPs and Resulting Toxicity Following Drinking water Disinfection'
From: Water Quality Research Australia Limited
For period: 2012-2015
$91,335
Evaluation of non-chemical pulsed-power technology as an antifouling pre-treatment for reverse osmosis desalination membranes
From: National Centre of Excellence for Desalination
Investigators: Dr Thomas Yeager, Prof Stephen Gray
For period: 2012-2015
$178,000

The Rational Development of Improved Pre-conditioning Agents for the Removal of Oil Contamination from Wildlife and Rocky Foreshore
From: ARC - Linkage, Phillip Island Nature Park
Investigators: Prof Stephen Bigger, Dr Lawrence Ngeh
For period: 2009-2015
$126,420
Lowering Membrane Fouling by Matching Pre-treatment to Membrane Type
From: ARC - Linkage, Orica Limited
Investigators: Prof Stephen Gray
For period: 2009-2015
$148,420

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Not available for media queries

Currently supervised research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
2 PhD Associate supervisor
7 PhD Principal supervisor
1 Masters by Research Principal supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (2) Associate supervisor
PhD (7) Principal supervisor
Masters by Research (1) Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
6 PhD Principal supervisor
4 PhD Associate supervisor
1 Masters by Research Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (6) Principal supervisor
PhD (4) Associate supervisor
Masters by Research (1) Principal supervisor

Awards

Year Award
2015

Collaborative Research Network Award for Exceptional Achievements - Collaborative Research Network (CRN)

2014

Google Impact Challenge Award - - in partnership with the Penguin Foundation

2013

Banksia Sustainability Award - in partnership with the Phillip Island Nature Parks

2012

Vice-Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in Research and Research Training (Research Team Category) - Victoria University

Show more awards

Professional memberships

  • Fellow, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute Inc.
  • Academic Member, American Chemical Society