Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Professor Tim Wess

Professor Tim Wess


Personal Profile

My career has demonstrated both breadth, and depth in terms of recognised expertise. My background is in Science and I have held a personal Chair (Cardiff University, UK) since 2003, and a Ph.D. (University Edinburgh, UK) 1989. This gave the firm foundation for a successful academic career, I have a research h-index of 43 which is categorised as "Outstanding" by Hirsh. I am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2017 recognised for my work on inclusivity in education.

My position as Executive Dean of a large Faculty comprising 8 schools with over 16,000 (9000 FTE) students has allowed me to lead strategies to improve student evaluations, reduce attrition and increase progression rates. The award of the Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health to Charles Sturt University through a commencement grant of $8.7M, marks a high point in achievement for the Faculty.

My previous roles include Pro Vice Chancellor (Cardiff University), Co-opted Council Member (University of Wales, Newport), and Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences (Cardiff University). The knowledge and skills gained in each, allowed me to develop skills in: university merger negotiation, strategic partnership formation, global research management and academic governance.

Social justice and equity have been a strong component of my work in and beyond the higher education sector. I am a member of the 8 person Athena SWAN SAGE National Advisory Group for gender equity Australia, building on my UK leadership in this important area. The journal Nature published an article I wrote in 2017, A call to Action for Equality. I Chair the CSU Equity and Diversity Committee and am a member of the Health and Safety Committee. My Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language and Nation Building (2015) has supported my work raising awareness of the cultural gap that needs to be bridged. This study was a transformative step in my life where I personally challenged my own understanding of knowledge and different ways of knowing and doing. I am now an advisor to projects on Cultural Science with the Environment Trust and my research includes toward cultural wellbeing through language reclamation.

Professional Leadership

2014-present member of the ANSTO PAC for neutron beamtime allocation.

2016-resent member of the National Advisory Group for Science Australia Gender Equity Athena SWAN.

2016-present Chair of the Murrumbidgee Health Research Committee.

2017-present Chair of the Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health.

I held a large number of National and International roles before relocating to Australia in 2013.  These include advisory positions with Ministerial agencies, advising on  online learning for health care training and science policy (Wales Government and UK Government)  national research infrastructure (UK Department of Business Industry and Skills) science policy (Slovenia and Lithuania) and cultural heritage science (France).  In Australia I am a member of the Bragg Institute, (ANSTO) Beam time selection panel for Neutron Studies and Chair of the Murrumbidgee Local Health district Research committee.  I have delivered presentations and given advice on Research Impact to directors of the Office of Environmental Heritage NSW and also the Victorian Government Department of Business and Innovation. I was a member of the UK Research Excellence Framework panel (REF 2014).

I have held a personal chair in Biophysics (U. Cardiff UK) since 2003, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry (U. Edinburgh UK). In 2015, I was in the first cohort to be awarded the Graduate Certificate of Wiradjuri Language and Nation building (Charles Sturt University).  I have a research h-index of 43 which is categorised as "Outstanding" by Hirsh. I have acted as advisor to the Slovenian, Lithuanian, Welsh, Westminster and French governments.    In 2016 I was co-chair of the highly prestigious USA Gordon Research Conference for "Scientific methods in Cultural Heritage".

International Scientific leadership
2012 UK representative for the appointment of the science director of the European Synchrotron.
2012-present advisor to Lithuanian ministries on research infrastructure and governance. I have run a series of workshops in Vilnius and Kaunas for Ministries (Economy, Education and Science) and researchers on open access to research facilities.
2011-present Board Member of RAMIRI (Realising and Managing International Research Infrastructures). Chaired by John Wood, this FP7 funded group co-ordinated workshops and training for top level large project research directors and administrators
2010-present Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee for IPANEMA, the ancient materials' European platform (SOLEIL Synchrotron, France) an internationally leading research complex for cultural heritage science based at the Soleil Synchrotron Paris.  I also report as Chair to the French ministry of culture on their behalf through a Comite de Pilotage.
2007-2010 Chair of the Environmental & Cultural Heritage beamtime award committee for the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
2009-present Visiting evaluator for the Slovenian Science Ministry for investment strategies in biomedical sciences  
2006-2009 Co-Chair of the Scientific Programme Committee for the 2009 International Conference of Small angle X-ray Scattering.

UK National Scientific Leadership
2012-present Member of National Assembly for Wales Cross Party group on science and technology.
2012-present Member of evaluation team for the ALICE accelerator science programme at the Science and Technology Facilities Council Daresbury laboratory.
2011- present Member of the 8 person steering group for the Research Complex at Harwell. This £45M research facility is a multipurpose interdisciplinary centre for researchers to augment studies using the UK Diamond synchrotron, ISIS neutron source and Central Laser facility.
2010-present I am a panel member of the Research Excellence Framework REF2014 (A3) (Subjects allied to medicine).
2010-present Member of MEGAFOCUS (Minority Ethnic Groups Association for Ophthalmic Care Uptake and Service Improvement in Wales)
2010 EPSRC Basic Technology evaluator of the £50M investment portfolio.
2007-2010 Chair of the Photon Science Governing Body for the New Light Source Project (NLS)
2009-2012 Science in Society Fellow (SiS), Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)  
2009 member of RCUK International Bridges (China, India, US)  grant review panel.
2008-2010 Member of STFC Science board
2007-2009 Chair of Physics and Life Sciences Committee, Science and Technology Research Council
2004-2007 Member of Scientific Advisory Committee Diamond Light Source synchrotron
2004-2007 Chair of the Facilities access panel, Daresbury Laboratory.

UK National Academic Leadership
2009-present Governor University of Wales Newport. I am the main external academic lead for the board and was co-opted as such. I am a member of the Human resources committee and link governor to the school of education.
2006-10 External Examiner for the Field of Leather Technology MSc and BSc. at The University of Northampton

UK National Administrative leadership
2011 –present panel member of the UK Equality Challenge Unit Athena SWAN charter.
2010-present trustee of Royal National Institute for Blind People Wales.
2010-present Member of MEGAFOCUS (Minority Ethnic Groups Association for Ophthalmic Care Uptake and Service Improvement in Wales)
2010-present Member of All Wales Steering group for Eye Health Improvement
2009-present trustee of Vale for Africa charity to facilitate relations between the vale of Glamorgan and Tororo province Uganda.
2009-present Member of the All Wales Vision Strategy board

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My background is in Biochemistry and Medical Physics, which has given me an international research profile with a main theme of understanding the structure function relations of biopolymers with over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals this has attracted over $7M in research funding. This work was initially focussed around the main biopolymers of living organisms such as collagen, DNA, keratin, chitin and cellulose. I have contributed significantly to our fundamental understanding of each of these classes of all important molecules. Work with government and museums also led my research into the field of Cultural Heritage Science. This has attracted significant media attention especially relating to work on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Domesday Book. In 2016, I was Co-chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Scientific Methods in Cultural Heritage.

I have a strong track record in facility administration and research council leadership within research Councils UK and now with ANSTO. I also have held a number of international advisory positions to governments of scientific investment and industry research partnerships in France, Slovenia, Lithuania and UK.

My main research techniques concentrate around x-ray scattering and allied techniques which usually requires synchrotron sources. I have been very successful in obtaining beamtime at synchrotron and neutron sources over the last 25 years to support the research grants I have obtained. The impact of my work was also recognised, for example, by Industry funded projects with Unilever (on hair structure and treatments), and with Johnson and Johnson (on the cytokine properties of collagen fragments).

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Over 120 publications in peer reviewed journals to date from 1989 to 2012

Publications 2007-present include:

1.    Patten K, Gonzalez L,  Kennedy C, Mills D, Davis G, Wess T.J. Is there evidence for change to collagen within parchment samples after exposure to an X-ray dose during high contrast X-ray microtomography? a multi technique investigation Heritage Science. 2013; 1 25-40.

2.    Patten K and Wess TJ  2013   Suprafibrillar structures of collagen, evidence for local organization and auxetic behaviour in architectures  J. Biophysical Chemistry 4 103-109.

3.     Kennedy CJ,  Revie WA, Troalen L , Wade M, Wess T.J. Studies of hair for use in lime plaster: Implications for conservation and new work  Polymer Degradation and Stability 2013  98 829-926.

4.    Goh K L, Holmes D F, Lu Y, Purslow P P, Kadler K E, Bechet D, Wess T J Bimodal collagen fibril diameter distributions direct age-related variations in tendon resilience and resistance to rupture.  Journal of Applied Physiology 2012; 113 878-88. *

5.    Wade M, Tucker I, Cunningham P, Skinner R, Bell F, Lyons T, Patten K, Gonzalez L, Wess T.J. Investigating the origins of nanostructural variations in differential ethnic hair types using X-ray scattering techniques.   Int J Cosmet Sci. 2013 35 430-41.

6.    Gonzalez L, Wade M, Bell N, Thomas K, Wess T.J. Using attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR FT-IR) to study the molecular conformation of parchment artifacts in different macroscopic states.  Appl Spectrosc. 2013 67:158-62.

7.    Protein and mineral characterization of rendered meat and bone meal Buckley M., Penkman KEH. Wess, T. J,. Reaney S, Collins MJ Food Chemistry. 2012; 134(3).

8.    Gonzalez LG, Hiller J, Terrill NJ, Parkinson J, Thomas K, Wess TJ.     Effects of isopropanol on collagen fibrils in new parchment.  Chem Cent J. 2012 31; 6:24-30.

9.    Možir A, Gonzalez L, Kralj Cigić I, Wess TJ, Rabin I, Hahn O, Strlič M. A study of degradation of historic parchment using small-angle X-ray scattering, synchrotron-IR and multivariate data analysis   Anal Bioanal Chem. 2012 402:1559-66.

10.    Baldock C, Oberhauser AF, Ma L, Lammie D, Siegler V, Mithieux SM, Tu Y, Chow JY, Suleman F, Malfois M, Rogers S, Guo L, Irving TC, Wess TJ, Weiss AS. Shape of tropoelastin, the highly extensible protein that controls human tissue elasticity Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 108(11):4322-7.

11.    Regini JW, Ecroyd H , Meehan S, Bremmell K , Clarke MJ, Lammie D, Wess T, and Carver JA .  The interaction of unfolding α-lactalbumin and malate dehydrogenase with the molecular chaperone αB-crystallin: a light and X-ray scattering investigation Mol Vis. 2010 16:2446-56.

12.    Paul, A., Fallis, I., Cooper, C., Wess, T., Thomas, K., Heenan, R., King, S., Griffiths, P. (2010) A contrast variation small-angle scattering study of the microstructure of 2,5-dimethyl -7- hydroxyl -2, 5-diazaheptadecane-toluene-butanol oil-in-water metallomicroemulsions. Soft Matter, 6 (11): 2552-2556

13.    Goh, K.L., Chen, Y., Chou, S.M., Listrat, A., Bechet, D., Wess, T.J.  (2010) Effects of frozen storage temperature on the elasticity of tendons from a small murine model.   Animal,4: 1-5

14.    Dybowska, A., Manning, D.A.C., Collins, M.J., Wess, T., Woodgate, S., Valsami-Jones, E. (2009) An evaluation of the reactivity of synthetic and natural apatites in the presence of aqueous metals Science of the Total Environment, 407 (8): 2953-2965

15.    Glab J, Wess T (2008) Changes in the Molecular Packing of Fibrillin Microfibrils During Extension Indicate Intrafibrillar and Interfibrillar Reorganization in Elastic Response. Journal of Molecular Biology, 383: 1171-1180.

16.    Gonzalez, L; Wess, T.  (2008) Use of Attenuated Total Reflection-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy to Measure Collagen Degradation in Historical Parchments. Applied Spectroscopy, 62 (10): 1108-1114.

17.    Wess TJ (2008) Collagen fibrillar structure and hierarchies. Collagen: Structure and Mechanics, 49-80.

18.    Conners R , Hill DJ, Borodina E, Agnew C, Daniell SJ, Burton NM, Sessions RB, Clarke AR, Catto LE, Lammie D, Wess T, Brady RL, Virji M. (2008) The Moraxella adhesin UspA1 binds to its human CEACAM1 receptor by a deformable trimeric coiled-coil. EMBO Journal, 27: 1779-1789

19.    Goh KL, Holmes DF, Lu HY, Richardson S, Kadler KE, Purslow PP, Wess TJ. (2008) Ageing changes in the tensile properties of tendons: Influence of collagen fibril volume fraction. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 130: 021011-8.

20.    von Lerber K, Strlic M, Kolar J, Kruger J, Pentzien S, Kennedy C, Wess T, Sokhan M, Kautek W. (2007) Laser cleaning of undyed silk: Indications of chemical change Springer Proceedings in Physics, 116: 313-320.

21.    Etok SE, Valsami-Jones E, Wess TJ, Hiller JC, Maxwell CA, Rogers KD, Manning DAC, White ML, Lopez-Capel E, Collins MJ, Buckley M, Penkman KEH, Woodgate SL (2007) Structural and chemical changes of thermally treated bone apatite. Journal of Materials Science, 42: 9807-9816.

22.    Mankelow TJ, Burton N, Stefansdottir FO, Spring FA, Parsons SF, Pedersen JS, Oliveira CL, Lammie D, Wess T, Mohandas N, Chasis JA, Brady RL, Anstee DJ (2007) The Laminin 511/521-binding site on the Lutheran blood group glycoprotein is located at the flexible junction of Ig domains 2 and 3. Blood, 110:3398-406.

23.    Kennedy CJ, Sturcova A, Jarvis MC, Wess TJ (2007) Hydration effects on spacing of primary-wall cellulose microfibrils: a small angle X-ray scattering study. Cellulose, 14: 401-408.

24.    Lammie D, Osborne J, Aeschlimann D, Wess TJ (2007) Rapid shape determination of tissue transglutaminase using high-throughput computing. Acta crystallographica section D-biological crystallography, 63: 1022-1024.

25.    Cameron, GJ; Cairns, DE; Wess, TJ (2007) The variability in type I collagen helical pitch is reflected in the D periodic fibrillar structure. Journal of Molecular Biology, 372: 1097-1107.

26.    Kennedy CJ, Cameron GJ, Sturcova A, Apperley DC, Altaner C, Wess TJ, Jarvis MC (2007) Microfibril diameter in celery collenchyma cellulose: X-ray scattering and NMR evidence.  Cellulose, 14: 235-246.

27.    Gourrier A, Wagermaier W, Burghammer M, Lammie D, Gupta HS, Fratzl P, Riekel C, Wess TJ, Paris O (2007) Scanning X-ray imaging with small-angle scattering contrast. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 40: S78-S82

28.    Dyksterhuis LB, Baldock C, Lammie D, Wess TJ, Weiss AS (2007) Domains 17-27 of tropoelastin contain key regions of contact for coacervation and contain an unusual tum-containing crosslinking domain. Matrix Biology, 26: 125-135.

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