Pall Thordarson

Pall Thordarson

Pall Thordarson

B.Sc. (Iceland) 1996, Ph.D. (Sydney) 2001, CChem, MRACI

Associate Professor

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9385 4478


Room 133, Dalton Building
UNSW, Kensington, 2052

Research Group Website


Biographical Details

B.Sc. Chemistry from the University of Iceland (1996), Researcher, Science Institute, the University of Iceland (1996-1997). Ph.D, The University of Sydney (1997-2001). Postdoctoral Fellow, the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands (2001), Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands (2001-2003). The University of Sydney SESQUI Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2003-2005). Australian Research Council, Australian Research Fellow, The University of Sydney (2006-2007) and UNSW (2007-2010). Appointed Senior Lecturer, UNSW (2007); Associate Professor (2013).

Research Interests

Our research is the area of bio-mimetic chemistry and its application in nanotechnology/nanobiotechnology as we have observed that the most complex and elegant examples of "nanotechnology" come from Nature. In our group we therefore first look to Nature for inspiration when it comes to solving the problems we are currently dealing with in nanotechnology (e.g., biosensors or tissue engineering). This is the philosophy of bio-mimetic chemistry, which underpins most of the work in our group. To this end we apply a combination of organic synthesis, bioconjugate chemistry (chemical modification of biological molecules), cellular biology (for activity assays) and supramolecular chemistry to make our target systems and we use various spectroscopic techniques such as UV, fluorescence and NMR as well as microscopy techniques such as AFM, STM and TEM, to analyse these systems.

Projects currently running in our group include (see our research group website for details):

  • Light-activation in bioelectronics
  • Self-assembled gels for biomedical application
  • Application of microscopy in chemistry
  • Non-linear interactons in supramolecular chemistry


  • Dr. Timothy W. Schmidt, The University of Sydney (Photophysics)
  • A/Prof. Filip Braet, The University of Sydney (Cellular biology, cancer and microscopy)
  • Dr. Wenrong Yang, The University of Sydney (microscopy)
  • Prof. Alan E. Rowan, The University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands (allosteric binding)
  • Prof. Mogens B. Nielsen, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark (TTF chemistry)

Selected Publications

  1. Pall Thordarson, Edward J. A. Bijsterveld, Alan E. Rowan and Roeland J. M. Nolte, Epoxidation of Polybutadiene by a Topologically Linked Catalyst, Nature, 2003, 424, 915-918.
  2. Pall Thordarson, Edward J. A. Bijsterveld, Johannes A. A. W. Elemans, Peter Kasák, Roeland J. M. Nolte and Alan E. Rowan, Highly Negative Homotropic Allosteric Binding of Viologens to a Double-Cavity Porphyrin, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2003, 125, 1186-1187.
  3. Wenrong Yang, Pall Thordarson, J. Justin Gooding, Simon P. Ringer and Filip Braet, Carbon nanotubes for biological and biomedical applications, Nanotechnology, 2007, 18, 412001 (front cover article).
  4. Bas Hulsken, Richard van Hameren, Jan W. Gerritsen, Tony Khoury, Pall Thordarson, Maxwell J. Crossley, Alan E. Rowan, Roeland J. M. Nolte, Johannes A. A. W. Elemans and Sylvia Speller, Real-Time Single Molecule Imaging of Alkene Oxidation by Manganese Porphyrins at a Liquid-Solid Interface, Nature Nanotechnology, 2007, 2, 285-289.
  5. James E. A. Webb, Maxwell J. Crossley, Peter Turner, and Pall Thordarson, Pyromellitamide Aggregates and Their Response to Anion Stimuli, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 7155-7162.
  6. Joshua R. Peterson, Trevor A. Smith and Pall Thordarson*, Photoinduced reduction of catalytically and biologically active Ru(II)bisterpyridine-cytochrome c bioconjugates, Chem. Commun., 2007, 1899-1901.
  7. Mohammad Choucair, Pall Thordarson and John A. Stride, Gram-scale production of graphene based on solvothermal synthesis and sonication, Nature Nanotechnology, 2009, 4, 30-33.
  8. Katie W. K. Tong, Sabrina Dehn, James E. A. Webb, Kio Nakamura, Filip Braet and Pall Thordarson, Pyromellitamide Gelators: Exponential Rate of Aggregation, Hierarchical Assembly and their Viscoelastic Response to Anions, Langmuir, 2009, 25, 8586-8592.
  9. Joshua R. Peterson, Trevor A. Smith and Pall Thordarson, Synthesis, characterization and room temperature photo-induced electron transfer in biologically active bis(terpyridine)ruthenium(II)-cytochrome c bioconjugates and the effects of solvents on the bioconjugation of cytochrome c, Org. Biomol. Chem., 2010, 8, 151-162.
  10. Warren Ty Truong, Yingying Su, Joris T. Meijer, Pall Thordarson and Filip Braet, Self-Assembled Gels for Biomedical Applications, Chem. Asian J., 2011, 6, 30-42.