Sam Saunders

Dr, BSc PhD Leeds

  • The University of Western Australia (M310), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 2264 Citations
  • 22 h-Index
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Personal profile


I joined UWA as a research fellow in 2002, appointed lecturer in chemistry in 2004, and promoted to senior lecturer 2007. My research interests are in determining anthropogenic impacts, to develop practical tools for environmental impact assessment. Research projects range from laboratory based chromatographic analysis of environmental samples, field campaign measurements, to chemical simulations of the atmosphere. Study regions extend from local WA to wider Australia, Hong Kong, China and as far a field as the UK and antarctica.

I have a career record of over 60 publications and conference papers, with a total of 1044 citations. Prior to relocation to Australia I was a member of the European Union scientific steering committee on EUROTRAC-2 for the Chemical Mechanism Development group, and have since become a member of MASSANZ (Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand) CASANZ (Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand)

I undertook my degree and PhD at the University of Leeds, UK followed by research fellowships at Leeds and also the University of Melbourne in 1991. Building on the groundwork of my experimental elementary reaction kinetics PhD, understanding complex chemical kinetics, generating and measuring gas phase radicals at concentrations of 10^11 molecules cm-3 has led me to applying this knowledge in developing highly complex chemical models of the troposphere, as well as undertaking field measurements of atmospheric components, to aid in validating the model work.

I am a member of the original concept and development team of the Master Chemical Mechanism, and undertook the chemical software development and mechanism writing together with Mike Jenkin (Imperial College London), together we have written in excess of 10,000 elementary reactions appropriate to the planetary boundary layer, and made this available to the scientific community through a dedicated website. (see useful links below)

Current projects

Atmospheric Science and Air Quality Issues

- On-site, long term measurements of tropospheric VOC by proton-transfer- reaction mass spectrometry (PTR- MS)
- Atmospheric reactions of organic compounds from Bayer Refinery Stack Emissions (BRSE)
- Aromatic compounds and the development of secondary organic aerosol (SOA); questions of toxicity and associated health impacts
- Biogenic emissions in WA, identification and tropospheric degradation pathways
- Mechanistic sensitivity testing comparisons of single VOC (volatile organic compound) atmospheric chamber experiments with tropospheric ozone models.
- Assessment of emissions, monitoring and meteorological data to develop a regional chemical mechanism for simulating observed ozone formation and ambient VOC measurements in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta of CHina
- Pollutant dispersion within the CBD, Perth WA
- Indoor air pollution: Investigation of organic compound processes in the indoor environs; observations and modelling.

Marine Environmental studies

- VOC analysis of olfactory signatures from Antarctic seabirds
- Effects of Sediment and Turbidity on the Reef Corals in the NW of Western Australia
- Identification and quantification of the lipid extracts using quantitative gas chromatographic (GC-MS) methods, and TLC analysis for lipid fraction assessment.

Teaching overview

2005-2008 Unit coordinator: CHEM1105, Introductory chemistry, CHEM1104, biological inorganic and physical chemistry, and CHEM3310, environmental chemistry. Lecturer in CHEM3311 green chemistry, and EART2235, introduction to geochemistry.

PSB Singapore: lecture preparation, and coordinator for CHEM1104 PSB. Supervision of undergraduate research projects as part of the CHEM3309 unit, chemistry in the workplace, running throughout semester 2.

FLPS Science Communications Units: participant News publication article, Science Communication Writing, COMM2208.


Chemistry in the biosphere - Experiments, modelling and analysis.

Much of my research involves the use of computer models to study atmospheric processes in detail. The models are constructed using a combination of detailed chemical mechanisms, measurements and emissions data. I have been instrumental in the development of a Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) for use in these models.


  • Analytical chemistry
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Computer modelling of complex reaction systems
  • Elementary reaction kinetics
  • Environmental chemistry

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Research Output 2001 2018

203 Downloads (Pure)

Investigation into the atmospheric degradation of alpha-phellandrene: A computational, experimental and modelling study.

Mackenzie-Rae, F. A., 2018, (Unpublished)

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

nonmethane hydrocarbon

Ozonolysis of α-phellandrene - Part 2: Compositional analysis of secondary organic aerosol highlights the role of stabilized Criegee intermediates

Mackenzie-Rae, F. A., Wallis, H. J., Rickard, A. R., Pereira, K. L., Saunders, S. M., Wang, X. & Hamilton, J. F., 6 Apr 2018, In : Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 18, 7, p. 4673-4693 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
formic acid
formation mechanism
10 Citations (Scopus)

Evaluation of the effectiveness of air pollution control measures in Hong Kong

Lyu, X. P., Zeng, L. W., Guo, H., Simpson, I. J., Ling, Z. H., Wang, Y., Murray, F., Louie, P. K. K., Saunders, S. M., Lam, S. H. M. & Blake, D. R., 1 Jan 2017, In : Environmental Pollution. 220, p. 87-94 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Volatile Organic Compounds
Air pollution control
Air Pollution
Hong Kong
Volatile organic compounds
5 Citations (Scopus)

Modeling C1–C4 Alkyl Nitrate Photochemistry and Their Impacts on O3 Production in Urban and Suburban Environments of Hong Kong

Lyu, X. P., Guo, H., Wang, N., Simpson, I. J., Cheng, H. R., Zeng, L. W., Saunders, S. M., Lam, S. H. M., Meinardi, S. & Blake, D. R., 16 Oct 2017, In : Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 122, 19, p. 10539-10556 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hong Kong
Volatile Organic Compounds
Photochemical reactions
volatile organic compounds
1 Citation (Scopus)

Ozonolysis of alpha-phellandrene - Part 1: Gas- and particle-phase characterisation

Mackenzie-Rae, F. A., Liu, T., Deng, W., Wang, X., Saunders, S. M., Fang, Z. & Zhang, Y., 6 Jun 2017, In : Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 17, 11, p. 6583-6609 27 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Projects 2002 2013