Professor Michelle Coote

BSc(Hons) PhD
Professor and ARC Future Fellow
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Quantum Chemistry 030701
  • Chemical Thermodynamics And Energetics 030602
  • Free Radical Chemistry 030501
  • Catalysis And Mechanisms Of Reactions 030601
  • Proteins And Peptides 030406
  • Physical Organic Chemistry 030505
  • Polymerisation Mechanisms 030305
  • Electrochemistry 030604
  • Main Group Metal Chemistry 030204
  • Physical Chemistry Of Materials 030304
  • Theoretical And Computational Chemistry 0307


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 has recently completed an ARC Future Fellowship. 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. She 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). She was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2014, and is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Researcher's projects

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 work in close collaboration with many experimental groups (including industry), both nationally and internationally, who put our chemical designs into practice. Our particular area of interest is radical chemistry, and especially radical polymerisation, and we are members of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science.

Some of our current areas of research include

-the development and experimental benchmarking of computational methodology for studying larger chemical reactions, including those related to polymerization and enzyme-mediated processes

-the design of better reagents and better kinetic models for controlling the molecular weight and stereochemistry of radical polymerization,

-clarifying the mechanism by which organic materials degrade and the design of improved antioxidants

-the use of electric fields to catalyse non-redox reactions

Available student projects

Projects are available in all areas of our current research, including both experimental and theoretical studies


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  30 September 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers