Born in Hong Kong in 1981 and moved to sunny Sydney, Australia at the age of 11, Clarissa completed her B.Sc. degree with honours in organic chemistry in 2002, followed by a M.Sc. (research) in 2005 on novel antifungal agents at the School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney (USYD). She then moved to the Faculty of Pharmacy (USYD), where she obtained her PhD working on novel conformationally restricted GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) analogues under the supervision of A/Prof. Jane Hanrahan and Prof. Mary Collins (Chebib). For part of her PhD research, Clarissa spent 9 exciting months in the far flung city of Copenhagen in 2006/07, working on imidazole acetic acid analogues of GABA under the supervision of A/Prof. Bente Frølund at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. After graduating in 2010, she carried out some independent voluntary research at the Faculty of Pharmacy (USYD) on the design and synthesis of novel bicyclic analogues loosely based on Zolpidem. For a short time between 2011 and 2012, Clarissa joined the LifeScience section of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) as a synthetic/medicinal chemist. She began her postdoc position in November 2012 with the Prof. Nick Gilbert from the MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine (IGMM), working in close collaboration with the Bradley Group, where she is currently based full-time, on the design and synthesis of novel photoactivatable DNA-DNA and DNA-protein crosslinkers as probes to study the chromatin fibre structure, and as novel photodynamic therapy agents.
In her spare time, Clarissa is a keen traveller, and enjoys running, swimming, going to the gym, meeting with friends, playing the violin, going to concerts, reading, languages, cooking, baking and too many others to be listed here.