Prof. Michelle Coote

Associate Director (Staff Development)
ARC Laureate

Professor Michelle Coote is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, where she completed a B.Sc. (Hons) in industrial chemistry (1995), followed by a Ph.D. in polymer chemistry (2000). Following postdoctoral work at the University of Durham, UK, she joined the Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University in 2001, initially as a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Leo Radom. She established her own research group in 2004 and was promoted to Professor in 2011. She has published extensively in the fields of polymer chemistry, radical chemistry and computational quantum chemistry, and is a member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science.

Michelle has received many awards including the 2001 IUPAC prize for young scientists, the RACI Cornforth medal (2000), Rennie medal (2006) David Sangster Polymer Science and Technology Achievement Award (2010) and HG Smith medal (2016), the Le Fevre Memorial Prize of the Australian Academy of Science (2010) and the Pople Medal of the Asia-Pacific Association for Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (2015). In 2014, she was elected to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science, and in 2017 she was awarded a Georgina Sweet ARC Laureate Fellowship. She is also currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Research interests

We work in the fast-growing field of computer-aided chemical design. We use state-of-the-art quantum chemistry calculations to identify and explain the mechanism, kinetics and thermodynamics of complicated multi-step chemical processes - information that is difficult (often impossible) to obtain via experiment alone. We then use this information to design in silico new chemical reagents to improve the efficiency of an existing process or, in some cases, allow new chemical products to be made. We are currently involved in investigating the effects of electric fields on chemical reactions, studying the extraordinary catalytic power of enzymes, designing materials with tuneable debonding properties and improved stability to degradation, and designing reagents to control stereochemistry of polymers produced in free radical polymerization.

We work in close collaboration with many experimental groups (including industry), who put our chemical designs into practice, and we are members of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science. We have also established an experimental laboratory specializing polymer chemistry for testing our theoretical predictions in house.

More details




Selected recent publications:

  • 1. Gryn'ova G., Marshall D.L., Blanksby S.J. and Coote M.L. Switching Radical Stability By pH-Induced Orbital Conversion Nature Chem. (2013), 5, 474-481.
  • 2.  Gryn'ova G., Coote M.L. Origin and scope of long-range stabilizing interactions and associated SOMO-HOMO conversion in distonic radical anions J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2013), 135, 15392-15403.
  • 3. Lee R., Coote M.L. New insights into 1,2,4-trioxolane stability and the crucial role of ozone in promoting polymer degradation Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. (2013), 15, 16428-16431.
  • 4. Noble B.B. and Coote M.L. First Principles Modelling of Free-Radical Polymerization Kinetics Int. Rev. Phys. Chem. (2013), 32, 467-512.
  • 5. Guimard N.K., Ho J., Brandt J., Lin C.Y., Namazian M., Mueller J.O., Oehlenschlager K.K., Hilf S., Lederer A., Schmidt F.G., Coote M.L., and Barner-Kowollik C. Harnessing Entropy to Direct the Bonding/Debonding of Polymer Systems Based on Reversible Chemistry Chem. Sci. (2013), 4, 2752-2759.
  • 6. Gryn'ova G., Lin C.Y. and Coote M.L. Which Side-Reactions Compromise Nitroxide Mediated Polymerization? Polym. Chem. (2013), 4, 3744-3754.

For full publication list see: