Donnelly Research Group


The research of the Donnelly Group focuses on the application of synthetic inorganic/organic chemistry to biology and materials science. In particular, we are interested in the application of coordination chemistry to metal-based drugs and the study of metal ions in biological systems.

Our multidisciplinary research involves inorganic and organic synthesis to make new compounds that are analysed by a wide range of analytical techniques including: multinuclear NMR, mass spectrometry, electronic and fluorescent spectroscopy, EPR, electrochemical techniques and X-ray crystallography.

The research group is based in new ‘state of art’ laboratories in the $150 million Bio21 Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology building that opened in 2005. The Institute provides state-of-the-art facilities for researchers in a dynamic interdisciplinary environment.


Positron emission tomography (PET) can be used for the diagnosis and characterisation of breast cancer. The figure above shows a PET image of a positron-emitting copper cage amine complex tethered to an antibody (trastuzumab) selectively binding to a breast tumour xenograft in a mouse model.