Research Network for Metals in Medicine



Associate Professor Paul Bernhardt

Position: Associate Professor, Chemistry

Affiliation: University of Queensland, Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Postal Address:
Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences
The University of Queensland
Queensland, 4072.

Phone: +61 (07) 3365 4266
Webpage: A/Prof. Bernhardt's web-page

Research Profile

A/Prof Bernhardt's initial research training is in the area of synthetic macrocyclic coordination chemistry. Following his PhD work, postdoctoral work in the Comba (Basel, Switzerland) and Sargeson (ANU) groups broadened his experience to cover molecular mechanics modelling of coordination compounds and transition metal spectroscopy. After he joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Queensland as a faculty member his interests extended to the roles of metal ions in biological systems. This prompted a sabbatical visit to Oxford where he spent part of this period in the laboratory of Professor Fraser Armstrong; a leader in the area of protein electrochemistry. Following this visit, A/Prof Bernhardt established his own research program in protein electrochemistry.

A/Prof Bernhardt has authored or co-authored more than 120 refereed papers (more than half of these being published in the last five years). He is the senior author on more than two-thirds of these publications. In addition he also published single author full papers in high-ranking journals such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Inorganic Chemistry (twice) and Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions on work conducted independently of other collaborators and research students. He also has co-authored a Chapter for the second edition of Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry; a prestigious series covering all aspects of coordination chemistry. The chapter co-authored by Dr Bernhardt dealt with the element cobalt and this comprised a review of 60,000 words covering the chemistry of this element over the last 20 years.

A/Prof Bernhardt's most recent (high-impact) journal publications are predominantly in the area of electron transfer and spectroscopy of inorganic and bioinorganic systems. Indeed within the last 3 years, his research program has had a distinct emphasis on biological inorganic chemistry. He has established a program in the electrochemistry of redox active proteins within the recently established Centre for Metals in Biology at the University of Queensland (of which he is Deputy Director), and has also established an active and productive collaboration with the Richardson group at the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia. Both of these collaborations are receiving ARC Discovery Grant support at present.

Selected Publications

  1. P. V. Bernhardt, P. Chin, D. R. Richardson 'Unprecedented oxidation of a biologically active aroylhydrazone chelator catalysed by iron(III): serendipitous identification of diacylhydrazine ligands with high iron chelation efficacy' Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 2001, 6, 801-809.
  2. K.-F. Aguey-Zinsou, P. V. Bernhardt, U. Kappler, A. G. McEwan 'Direct Electrochemistry of a Bacterial Sulfite Dehydrogenase' Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2003, 125, 530-535.
  3. K.-F. Aguey-Zinsou, P. V. Bernhardt, J. J. De Voss, K. E. Slessor 'Electrochemistry of P450cin: new insights into P450 electron transfer' Chemical Communications, 2003, 418-419.
  4. P. V. Bernhardt, L. M. Caldwell, T. B. Chaston, P. Chin and D. R. Richardson, 'Cytotoxic iron chelators: characterization of the structure, solution chemistry and redox activity of ligands and iron complexes of the di-2-pyridyl ketone isonicotinoyl hydrazone (HPKIH) analogues', Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 2003, 8, 866-880.
  5. K. F. Aguey-Zinsou, P. V. Bernhardt and S. Leimkuehler, 'Protein Film Voltammetry of Rhodobacter Capsulatus Xanthine Dehydrogenase', Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2003, 125, 15352-15358.


  • Protein electrochemistry laboratory comprising voltammetric and potentiometric setups for determining protein redox potentials and performing electrocatalysis.
  • Equipment for complex stability constant measurements (potentiometric and spectrophotometric)
  • X-ray crystallography laboratory, high field NMR, and EPR spectrometers on campus
  • Fully equipped synthetic laboratory

International linkages

Dr Silke Leimkuehler (Braunschweig, Germany)
Prof Wolfgang Nitschke (Marseilles, France)