Dr Greg Watson | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Greg Watson

BSc Griff., PhD Griff., BSc (Hons) Griff., PhD Griff.

  • Senior Lecturer, Chemistry
61 7 5456 5682
Office location
FC-A-1-10.1 (Building A)
Fraser Coast
Gregory Watson

Dr Greg Watson’s teaching and research has been multi-disciplinary in its approach and setting, resulting in a broad teaching profile and papers published in Biological, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Medical and Teaching journals/books. A primary focus of current studies includes investigation of properties, functions and potential applications of chemically nano/micro-structured surfaces. This is primarily targeted on technologies and structuring found in Nature and potential applications in engineering, the medical sector and ‘smart’ new materials for a range of technologies (eg. self-cleaning, controlled adhesion of liquids and solids, anti-bacterial, anti-reflection, cell-platforms etc).

His research is often showcased with recent personnel appearances on numerous media including the ABC science show Catalyst, Channel 10 - National News and the Discovery Channel. His work has been featured extensively both nationally and internationally (for example ABC Science, ABC National and Local News, Channel Seven News, Radio National, The Australian, NBC News, New Scientist, National Geographic, Smithsonian.com, Scientific American, Nature News and International Business Times). He has a commitment to providing science education to children at the primary and secondary school level with TV appearances on children television programs eg Channel 10-Totally Wild, Channel 10-Scope, Channel 9-The Shak.

Previous posts include Senior Lecturer at James Cook University and Lecturer at Griffith University. Dr Watson prior to academia held several management and supervisory positions in industry where staff training and operational management were a primary focus. During this period Dr Watson successfully completed a number of instructional, training and legal courses and together with this real world experience has allowed him to transfer such skills to academia and carry out consultancies for a broad range of businesses.

Dr Watson is currently an editorial review board member and has reviewed a diverse range of manuscripts submitted to chemical, physics, biology and multi-disciplinary journals including:

Langmuir, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Chemical Communications, Tissue Engineering, Polymer International, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Small, Current Microbiology, ACS Nano, Journal of Microscopy, Micron, Scientific Reports, Physical Review E, Microbial Ecology, PLoS One, Macromolecular Rapid Communications, Biomacromolecules, Naturwissenschaften, BMC Cell Biology, Biophysical Journal, Frontiers in Physiology, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Journal of Insect Science, Applied Surface Science, Nanotechnology, Materials Today, Biotechnology Journal, Thin Solid Film, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research: Part A, Lab on a Chip.

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

Dr Watson offers numerous student projects which can be modified to suit both undergraduate (1st to 4th year) and postgraduate students. He encourages students to alter, expand or explore variations to these projects, or indeed explore ideas and projects they may have. He also has research projects for High School Teachers who would like to engage with professional development. He welcomes and encourages co-supervision of students with other colleagues from various disciplines. Many projects can be undertaken by students from a variety of degree or major programs thus encouraging multi-disciplinary research and learning. Dr Watson has over 30 projects on offer. Some examples of general areas in projects on offer are listed below. Projects can be tailored to suit students with studies utilising equipment ranging from still camera photography, high speed video camera to advanced surface analysis instrumentation.

Selected examples of research projects areas
  • Determining insect cuticle chemistry using Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR)
  • The development of new University undergraduate experiments (as well as Secondary and Primary school experiments) for chemistry and physics subjects based on cutting edge research of liquid droplet interaction
  • Adhesion, wetting properties and self-cleaning properties of contact points on targeted insect cuticle regions such as antennae and wing
  • Airborne contaminant adhesion on artificial surfaces found in houses (e.g. fibres, and polymers): Investigations of various particles e.g., fungal spores, pollens, bacteria
  • Airborne contaminant effects on insect surfaces: investigations of various particles e.g., fungal spores, pollens, bacteria
  • Environmental chemical exposure to living cells - responses investigated using atomic force microscopy
  • Nano clamping of nano-tears on polymer surfaces
  • Nano and micro natural nanostructures on insect wings: from superhydrophobicity & water capture to the next self cleaning technologies
  • Frictional studies of earth dwelling insects and crustaceans
  • Controlled frictional differentiation on a polymer surface for selectively patterning chemistry for separation of biological molecules
  • Surface degradation of pharmaceutical medicines analysed by scanning probe microscopy
  • Flight mechanisms of ultra-light weight insects in natural and urban environments
  • Cooling responses of paper wasps under varied environmental conditions
  • Mechanical properties and functioning of insect wing membranes
  • Pesticides comprised of hydrophobic particle films for control of insects and plant diseases: Adhesional interactions and wetting properties
  • Towards healthier waterways: Characterisation and quantitative measurement of aquatic nano and micro-particles using atomic force microscopy
  • Establishing temperature profiles for ghost crab holes correlated with spatial positioning and tidal responses

Research grants

Dr Watson has been successful in attracting funding from numerous sources including ARC Discovery, LIEF grants, Internal grants (some examples below) as well as consultancy income from diverse industries. Recent grant funding examples:

LIEF Grant LE120100121 2012

An integrated system for characterization of mechanical behaviour of bio- and nanomaterials at micro and nano scales in Queensland

Collaboration Across Boundaries 2011

Adhesion and fouling properties of terrestrial natural micro/nano structures in aquatic environments

JCU FAIG Grant 2011

Self-Cleaning Mechanisms of Geckos

GU-JCU Collaborative Grants: 2010

The Application of Scanning Probe Microscopy for the Analysis of Malarial Gametocytes

Griffith University Signature Funding Scheme: Teaching Grant 2008

Engaging Research in Nanoscience (incorporation of research based experiments for third and fourth year students)

Griffith University E- Grant 2008

Properties, functions and potential applications of nano/micro-scale arrays on insect surfaces

Griffith University Research Grant: 2007

Nano-Machining of Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) films: Fabrication by Atomic Force Microscopy

ARC Discovery Grant DP05597822 2005-2007

Nano-machining of diamond-like carbon (DLC): Scientific basis and technical potential

Research areas

  • biodiscovery, biomimetics, multidisciplinary science
  • nanotechnology and nanoscience
  • biological, chemical and physical interfaces
  • behavioural and urban ecology
  • fauna and flora morphology

Teaching areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Marine Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Nanotechnology and Nanoscience
  • Biomimetics
  • Mathematics
  • General Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Entomological structuring
  • Material and Interfacial science


Dr Watson has produced over 150 publications comprising of 2 books; 8 book chapters; over 80 refereed papers and over 70 contributions entailing invited and conference papers/abstracts and a number of consultancy reports. Dr Watson’s papers are in a diverse range of high profile and high impact journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Nature Communications, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Advanced Healthcare Materials, Small, ACSNano, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Interface, Biophysical Journal. His work has been highlighted and featured in several journals as well as appearing on the front cover of numerous journals and several books. His papers have been cited almost 1000 times since 2010 and he has an h-index over 20 (PhD 2001) and RG Score over 35.

Dr Greg Watson's specialis areas of knowledge include: General Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Marine Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Nanotechnology and Nanoscience, Biomimetics, Mathematics, General Physics, Biophysics, Entomological structuring, Material and Interfacial science

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