Professor Nicholas Cox

ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Biological Physics 029901
  • Plant Cell And Molecular Biology 060702
  • Structural Chemistry And Spectroscopy 030606
  • Enzymes 060107
  • Physical Chemistry (Incl. Structural) 0306


My research career has focused on the study of biological and biomimetic enzymes using magneto-optical and magnetic resonance techniques. My research interests span: exciton coupling within large pigment assemblies, the spectroscopy of transition metals, particularly with regard to metallocofactors, electron transfer within the biological photosynthetic apparatus and more recently, the development of synthetic enzymes and catalysts.

I have experience in: (magnetic) circular dichroism, continuous wave and pulsed Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and FT-infrared spectroscopy. I am also interested in the development of effective models and computational simulation in all these fields. Current research highlights include:

(i)  The first spectroscopic characterization of the di-manganese ribonucleotide reductase (Mn-RNR). Our multifrequency study (9 GHz, 34 GHz and 244 GHz) on the Mn-RNR, together with the work of Joanne Stubbe (MIT) has allowed the mechanism of metallocofactor assembly to be resolved.

(ii) Detection of substrate (water) binding to the the oxygen evolving complex (OEC) of Photosystem II (PS II) in the S1/S2 state using high field (94 GHz) EPR/EDNMR spectroscopy and isotopic (17O) labeling. These experiments suggest that the slow exchanging substrate in the S1/S2 state is a μ-oxo bridge of the tetramanganese cluster.

(iii) The first electronic structural model of the OEC of PSII in its catalytic state prior to O-O bond formation. Our work on the OEC (multifrequency EPR/55Mn EDNMR/ENDOR) resolves the structure of the tetra-manganese cluster support oxo/oxyl coupling mechanism for O-O bond formation in S4.



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:  24 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers