O'Hair Group

“Mass spectrometry, MS, is a powerful tool to analyze a wide range of molecules and to study fundamental chemistry in the gas phase. Research in our group is focused on the use of advanced MS techniques and molecular modelling methods to explore contemporary problems in chemistry.” - Professor Richard O’Hair

Biography

Professor Richard O'Hair
​School of Chemistry
University of Melbourne
ARC Centre of Excellence in Free Radical Chemistry
T: (+61 3) 8344 2452
E: rohair [at] unimelb.edu.au

Richard O'Hair is a Professor in the School of Chemistry. He is a founding Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology and a Research Group Leader at the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute. 
 
Richard completed his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at The University of Adelaide (working with Professor John Bowie), where he also received a DSc in 2005. He undertook post-doctoral studies at The University of Wollongong (working with Professor Roger Truscott) and The University of Colorado at Boulder (working with Professor Chuck DePuy) before taking up a position of Assistant Professor at Kansas State University in 1993. He returned to Australia in 1996 to take up the position of Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry, where he rose through the ranks to full Professor in 2006. Richard widely collaborates with major research groups locally and internationally and has published over 285 research articles. He has been:
A Senior Humboldt fellow (with Professor Konrad Koszinowski at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen). 
A Université Claude Bernard Professorial Fellow, Lyon (with Professor Philippe Dugourd).
A Université Pierre et Marie Curie Professorial Fellow, Paris (with Professor Jean-Claude Tabet).
Visiting Research Professor at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Talahassee (with Professor Alan Marshall).
A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Faculty Research Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (with Prof. Scott McLuckey).
 
His major research interests cover a wide range of topics in fundamental and applied mass spectrometry. The general themes of the programs in which he has been engaged have dealt with the fundamental gas-phase chemistry of organic, inorganic and organometallic species. In recent years he has been involved in the development of mass spectrometry based approaches for the structural analysis of biological molecules.
 
Richard is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry, past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry, Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, has served on the Editorial advisory board of Organometallics and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory boards of The Chinese Journal of Chemistry and four Mass Spectrometry journals.
 
Richard has also made significant contributions to Chemistry Education in Australia, including serving on the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) Science Expert Advisory Studies Committee and VCAA Chemistry Review Committee.  These committees were charged with the responsibilities of making recommendations on the review of the Victorian curricula for the final two years of high school Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Science and developing a new Victorian curriculum for the final two years of  high school Chemistry.

Research

We use advanced mass spectrometry methods to: 

  • Study the metabolism of exogenous small molecules (e.g. insecticides or drugs) in animal models in vivo. We have developed the use of isotopes and computer programs to help track these metabolites in a “sea” of other small molecules.
  • Discover new chemical reactions, which underpins efforts to prepare diverse molecules that are central to modern society. We have developed a mechanisms based approach that blends fundamental experimental and theoretical studies to invent new catalysts and reactions for chemical synthesis.

Fundamental and Applied Mass Spectrometry: Mass spectrometry, MS, is a powerful tool to analyse a wide range of molecules and to study fundamental chemistry in the gas phase.  Research in my group is focused on the use of advanced MS techniques and molecular modelling methods to explore contemporary problems in chemistry and at the chemistry/biology interface. I am particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms of reactions widely used in synthesis, including organometallic reactions and transition metal catalysed reactions. Another key area is the development of radical based methods for the analysis of biomolecules via MS. Our applied MS work has involved identification of small bioactive molecules and the revitalisation of the Twin Ion Method to study metabolism of exogenous small molecules (e.g. insecticides or drugs) in animal models in vivo. These studies are often carried out in collaboration with workers in the USA, France and Germany and with collaborators at the Bio21 Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology.

Techniques

Finnigan-MAT model LCQ (San Jose, CA, USA) quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer; Finnigan LTQ FT hybrid mass spectrometer (San Jose, CA, USA) linear ion trap and Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FT-ICR); HPLC; High Performance Computing Resources; multistage mass spectrometry techniques, molecular modelling.

Group Members

Group Leader

Richard O'Hair

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr Jiaye Li

PhD Students

Michael Leeming; 
Roberto Fusetto (joint with Phil Batterham)
Yang “Ethan” Yang

Masters Students

Qiuyan “Sandra” Jin;  
  Howard Ma;  
Fiona Bathie
Weam Altalhi;   
Zilin “Doris” Wang