Professor Paul Bernhardt


School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 336 54266


After completing my undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Newcastle, I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Basel (Switzerland) from 1990-2. I returned to Australia in 1993 to take up an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Australian National University (Canberra) from 1993-4. I joined The University of Queensland in 1994.

Research Interests

  • Protein Electrochemistry
    This research involves incorporating redox active enzymes with electrochemical systems such that the enzyme functions natively whilst in communication with an electrode (rather than with a natural electron transfer partner). We are currently investigating a number of systems, most from the molybdenum enzyme family that catalyse oxygen transfer reactions of both organic and inorganic substrates.
  • Copper Complexes as Atom Transfer Radical Catalysts
    Atom transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP) is one of the most widely used 'controlled' radical polymerisation techniques and has resulted in polymers with well defined molecular weights and architectures. Our work is focused on complexes that catalyse this process by generating organic radicals from the simple reaction between a Cu(I) complex and an alkyl halide initiator. We can probe this atom transfer reaction with cyclic voltammetry and we have gained new insight to this interesting and fundamentally important reaction. This has now progressed to developing electrocatalytic synthetic methods for C-C bond formation reactions in collaboration with Prof. Craig Williams (SCMB).

Research Impacts

My research interests include all aspects of coordination chemistry; particularly its relevance to the areas of electrochemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, spectroscopy and catalysis.

In recent years some of the areas in which we have been, and continue to be, actively involved include:

  • Enzyme electrochemistry (collaborations with several UQ and international groups).
  • Invesitigation of copper complexes that are active in atom transfer radical polymerisation catalysis
  • Transition metal-mediated organic oxidation and reduction reactions


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle


View all Publications


View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Kalimuthu, Palraj and Bernhardt, Paul V. (2017). Electrochemistry of molybdenum and tungsten enzymes. Molybdenum and tungsten enzymes: spectroscopic and theoretical investigations. (pp. 168-222) edited by Russ Hille, Carola Schulzke and Martin L. Kirk. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Royal Society of Chemistry. doi: 10.1039/9781782628842-00168

  • Bernhardt, Paul V. (2009). Communication with the mononuclear molybdoenzymes: Emerging opportunities and applications in redox enzyme biosensors. Engineering the Bioelectronic Interface: Applications to Analyte Biosensing and Protein Detection. (pp. 1-24) edited by Davis, J.. Cambridge, UK: The Royal Society of Chemistry.

  • Bernhardt, P. V. and Lawrance, G. (2004). Cobalt. Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry II: From Biology to Nanotechnology. (pp. 1-145) edited by J. A. McCleverty and T. J. Meyer. Oxford: Elsevier/Pergamon. doi: 10.1016/B0-08-043748-6/05083-0

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision