Professor Michelle Coote


Michelle Coote has been at the Research School of Chemistry since 2001, following postdoctoral work at the University of Durham, UK (1999-2001).

She is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, where she completed a B.Sc. (Hons) in industrial chemistry (1995), followed by a PhD in polymer chemistry (2000) under the supervision of Professor Tom Davis. She has published extensively in the fields of free-radical polymerization kinetics, radical chemistry and computational quantum chemistry, and is a member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free-Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology.

She was awarded the IUPAC prize for young scientists in 2001, the RACI Cornforth medal in 2000 and the RACI Rennie Medal in 2006. Michelle became Professor of Chemistry in 2010.

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: