Katrina Wruck

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Research Fellow



Role in the Centre

Katrina Wruck is an early career researcher with expertise in the green activation of mineralogical samples and mining waste to make value-added products. Katrina’s PhD research focused on the formulation of synthetic zeolites derived from mining waste streams for the selective removal of pollutants, such as nutrients, from wastewater. In line with the Centre for Materials Science themes, her research focuses of materials characterisation of meta-phase condensed matter materials utilising both traditional and non-ambient analysis such as thermal in situ XRD (X-Ray Diffraction) and TGA-SIFT-MS (Thermogravimetric Analysis Selected Ion Flow Mass Spectroscopy).
Her is cross-disciplinary, encompassing knowledge from the fields of industrial chemistry, process engineering and materials science to deliver high-tech, green chemistry-based solutions for the transition to cleaner adsorption technologies.

Short Biography

Katrina Wruck is a proud Mabuigilaig (Torres Strait Islander) women and started at QUT in 2012 as an undergraduate, completing the Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemistry) with Distinction. She began her research journey in 2013 through the QUT Vacation Research Experience Scheme (VRES) at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology under Professor Kathryn Fairfull-Smith investigating the synthesis of compounds TMIO and TEIO from iodination of isoindoline nitroxides.

After getting a taste for research, she joined the Resource Transformation Group working under Professor Graeme Millar for the completion of various projects including a Final Year Research Project (Capstone), VRES, Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Chemistry) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Notably, she worked with Gilmour Space Corporation to activate silver gauze catalysts for monopropellant light weight satellites which utilised 3D printed rocket fuel. This activation method is still used today. Her PhD research was sponsored by the ARC research hub for Energy Efficient Separation which was a cross-institution initiative to develop advanced separation materials, products and processes with a low carbon footprint in Australia. Katrina worked with Zeolites Australia to transform low grade ultra-fine natural heulandite zeolite dust to high grade synthetic zeolite LTA using a novel process. After her PhD, Katrina was recruited as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the School of Chemistry and Physics (QUT) through the P2P program which provides a pathway for First Nations people to enter academia. She is a passionate advocate for STEM outreach, impacting thousands of students through various outreach programs, teaching opportunities and community involvement.

In 2022, Katrina was named the Queensland Women in STEM Prize Judges Award Winner in 2022 for her outreach work and contributions to the field of Chemistry.

Selected Publications

K. Wruck, G.J. Millar, and T. Wang, Transformation of heulandite type natural zeolites into synthetic zeolite LTA. Environmental Technology & Innovation, 2021: p. 101371.