Professor Frances Separovic


Location: Room 550, Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute
Address: School of Chemistry, Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
Phone No: 9035-7539 or 8344-7137

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  • BA(Hons), Macquarie University, 1985
  • PhD, University of New South Wales, 1992
  • Experimental Scientist, CSIRO, 1984-1993
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institutes of Health, USA, 1994-1995
  • Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO, 1993-1995
  • Associate Professor and Reader, University of Melbourne, 1996-2005
  • Professor, University of Melbourne, 2005-
  • Associate Dean International, Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, 2009-2011
  • Head, School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne, 2010-2015
  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Science, 2012-

Areas of Interest

Physical Chemistry

  • biophysical chemistry
  • biological membrane systems
  • structural biology

Biological and Medicinal Chemistry

  • lipid-peptide interactions
  • biological solid-state NMR
  • antimicrobial and amyloid peptides

Spectroscopy and Molecular Characterisation

  • NMR spectroscopy
  • solid-state NMR


NMR and Structure of Membrane Peptides

NMR spectroscopy, complemented by a range of biophysical techniques, is being used to determine the structure and dynamics of membrane polypeptides to determine their mechanism of activity. Currently our main focus is the structure and interactions of amyloid peptides from Alzheimer’s disease, pore-forming toxins and antibiotic peptides in model biological membranes. The results of our research provide insights into the biophysical chemistry of membrane-active peptides and proteins relevant to disease states and their possible treatments.

Solid-state NMR experiments have been designed for the structural determination of molecular systems that do not lend themselves to solution-state NMR and crystallographic methods, including crystalline powders and biological membranes. Our primary research interest is the determination of the structure and dynamics of membrane components in situ. Using solid-state NMR, we have determined the molecular structure of the antibiotic gramicidin A and the bee toxin melittin within phospholipid membranes. Together with researchers from CSIRO, industry and other international laboratories, we study biological macromolecules, geopolymers and ionic liquids with a range of pharmaceutical and industrial applications.


A list of publications produced since 2001 can be viewed at - Find an Expert