Research Network for Metals in Medicine



Associate Professor Grant Collins

BSc(Hons), PhD(ANU)

Position: Associate Professor in Chemistry

Affiliation: University College, University of New South Wales, School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences

Postal Address:
University College of UNSW
Australian Defence Force Academy
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 (2) 6286 8077

Research Profile

My research primarily focuses on the interactions between transition metal complexes and DNA. This work aims at understanding the principles of DNA recognition, with the ultimate goal of being able to design compounds that can control gene expression. In addition, I am also involved in the development of new multi-nuclear platinum complexes, a very promising class of anti-cancer drug.
My main area of expertise is in the analysis of the interactions between metal complexes and DNA, in particular by NMR spectroscopy. With my students and collaborators, we have studied the DNA binding of inert intercalating ruthenium(II) and rhodium(III) complexes, inert groove binding platinum(II) and cobalt(III) complexes and covalent binding platinum(II) complexes. Our major recent research achievements have been the first unambiguous demonstration that metallointercalators can intercalate from the DNA minor groove, and our contribution to the understanding of the mechanism of action of multi-nuclear platinum drugs, particularly the pre-covalent binding association.

Selected Publications

  1. Smith, J.A., Collins, J.G., Patterson, B.T. and Keene, F.R. Total Enantioselectivity in the DNA Binding of the Dinuclear Ruthenium(II) Complex [{Ru(Me2bpy)2}2(m-bpm)]4+ {bpm = 2,2'-bipyrimidine; Me2bpy = 4,4'-dimethyl-2,2'-bipyridine}. 2003, submitted.
  2. Collins, J.G. and Wheate, N.J. Potential Adenine and Minor Groove Binding Platinum Complexes. 2003, submitted
  3. Brodie, C.R., Collins, J.G. and Aldrich-Wright, J.R. The Structure Activity Relationship of Platinum(II) Intercalating Agents Containing Methyl-Substituted 1,10-Phenanthrolines, 2003, submitted.
  4. Wheate, N.J. and Collins, J.G. Multi-Nuclear platinum complexes as anti-cancer agents. Coordination Chem. Rev. 2003, 241, 133.
  5. Wheate, N.J., Evison, B.J., Herlt, A.J., Phillips, D.R and Collins, J.G. DNA binding of the anti-cancer platinum complex trans [{Pt(NH3)2Cl}m-dpzm]2+ J. Chem. Soc. Dalton Trans. 2003, 3486.
  6. St Quintin, T.D., Leslie, D.R. and Collins, J.G. Hydrolysis of Sesquimustards, Aust. J. Chem. 2003, 56, 309.
  7. Freasier, B., Collins, G. and Newitt, P. A Web-Based Interactive Homework Quiz and Tutorial Package: Motivating Undergraduate Chemistry Students. J. Chem Ed. 2003, 80, 1344.
  8. Patterson, B.T., Collins, J.G., Foley, F.M. and Keene, F.R. Dinuclear Ruthenium(II) Complexes as Probes for DNA Bulge Sites. J. Chem. Soc. Dalton Trans. 2002, 4343.
  9. Greguric, A., Greguric I., Hambley, T.W., Aldrich-Wright, J.R. and Collins, J.G. Minor Groove Intercalation of D-[Ru(Me2phen)2dppz]2+ to the Hexanucleotide d(GTCGAC)2. J. Chem. Soc. Dalton Trans. 2002, 849.
  10. Wheate, N.J., Cullinane, C., Webster, L.K and Collins, J.G. Synthesis, cytotoxicity, cell uptake and interstrand cross-linking of dpzm linked platinum anti-cancer complexes. Anti-Cancer Drug Design, 2001, 16, 91.
  11. Foley, F.M., Keene, F.R. and Collins, J.G. The DNA Binding of the DD-LL- and LD-Stereoisomers of [{Ru(Me2bpy)2}2(m-bpm)]4+. J. Chem. Soc., Dalton Trans. 2001, 2968.
  12. Wheate, N.J., Broomhead, J.A., Collins, J.G. and Day, A.I. Thermal Rearrangement of N-Substituted Pyrazoles to 4,4-Dipyrazolylmethane and 1,1,2-(4,4,4-Tripyrazolyl)ethane. Aust. J. Chem., 2001, 54, 141.
  13. MacLeod, J.K., Flanigan, I.L., Williams, J.F. and Collins, J.G. Mass spectrometric studies of the path of carbon in photosynthesis: positional isotopic analysis of 13C-labelled C4 to C7 sugar phosphates. J. Mass Spectrometry, 2001, 36, 500.
  14. Wheate, N.J., Cutts, S.M., Phillips, D.R., Aldrich-Wright, J.R. and Collins, J.G. The Binding of [(en)Pt(m-dpzm)2Pt(en)]4+ to G/C Rich Regions of DNA. J. Inorg. Biochem. 2001, 84, 119.
  15. Collins, J.G., Rixon, R.M. and Aldrich-Wright, J.R. Interaction of [Pt(en)(phen)]2+ and [Pt(en)(phi)]2+ with the hexanucleotide d(GTCGAC)2: Evidence for minor groove binding. Inorg. Chem., 2000, 39, 4377.
  16. Wheate, N.J. and Collins, J.G. A 1H NMR Study of the Oligonucleotide Binding of [(en)Pt(m-dpzm)2Pt(en)]Cl4. J. Inorg. Biochem. 2000, 78, 313.
  17. Wheate, N.J., Webster, L.K, Brodie, C.R, and Collins, J.G. Synthesis, DNA Binding and Cytotoxicity of Isohelical DNA Groove Binding Platinum Complexes. Anti-Cancer Drug Design, 2000, 15, 313.
  18. Collins, J.G., Aldrich-Wright, J.R., Greguric, I. and Pellegrini, P.A. Binding of the D- and L-Enantiomers of [Ru(dmphen)2dpq]2+ to the Hexanucleotide d(GTCGAC)2. Inorg. Chem. 1999, 38, 5502.


We have standard laboratory facilities for the synthesis, purification and analysis of metal complexes and their interactions with DNA.

International Linkages

Professor Nick Farrell (Virginia Commonwealth University, USA)