Dr Muhammad Hanif

Dr. rer. nat. (PhD, 2010) from the University of Vienna, Austria

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Senior Research Fellow



2019 Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

2010 PhD with distinction (University of Vienne, Austria)

Previous and Current Appointments

2019-present, Senior Research Fellow, the University of Auckland (New Zealand)

2015-2019, Research Fellow, the University of Auckland (New Zealand)

2013–2015, Erwin Schrödinger Fellow, University of Auckland (New Zealand)

2011-2013, Assistant Professor, COMSATS University Islamabad (Pakistan)

2007-2010, Research Assistant, University of Vienna (Austria)

Research | Current

My research focuses on synthetic inorganic chemistry, coordination chemistry and bioinorganic chemistry, utilising an interdisciplinary approach to design and develop inorganic compounds and materials for biomedical and technological applications. These projects encompass a variety of metal ions, as well as numerous carefully designed ligand systems. Moreover, a vast panoply of techniques and methods is used to thoroughly understand their properties.

Teaching | Current

  • CHEM 720 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 320 Design and Reactivity of Inorganic Compounds 
  • CHEM 253 Making Molecules: Synthesis and Isolation (NEFU)
  • CHEM 251 Structure and Spectroscopy (NEFU)
  • CHEM 120 The Chemistry of the Material World

In the past, I have contributed teaching in the following courses:                             

  • CHEM 735 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHEM 392 Issues in Drug Design and Development
  • CHEM 100 Molecules that Changed the World 
  • PHARMACY 211 Applied Science of Pharmacy
  • TFC CHEM 91F Foundation Chemistry 1 


  • 2021 Alan Sargeson Lectureship Award by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)
  • 2019 Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship of the Health Research Council of New Zealand
  • 2019 CLeaR Academic Development Bursary, the University of Auckland
  • 2019 Contributed to the ChemComm-Emerging Investigators Issue
  • 2013 Research Productivity Award by Pakistan Council of Sciences and Technology
  • 2012 Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship of the Austrian Science Fund
  • 2012  Outstanding Research Award for the best paper by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan
  • 2010 Distinction in PhD, University of Vienna


  • Theme Leader – ‘Healthy People, Healthy Community’ theme, Faculty of Science, UoA (Jan 2021 to Dec 2022)
  • Member – Faculty of Science Research Steering Committee (July 2020-June 2021)
  • Co-chair – Faculty of Science Early Career Researchers Society Committee (July 2020-June2021)
  • Elected member on Senate Committee of University (1 February 2021 to 31 January 2024)

Areas of expertise

Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry, Coordination Chemistry, and Bioinorganic Chemistry

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Associate Editor – Frontiers in Chemistry (Inorganic Section) 
  • Editorial Board Member – Biomedicines
  • Editorial Board Member – Advances in Chemical Research
  • Committee Member – RSC Chemists' Community Fund 
  • Member – Royal Society of Chemistry UK
  • Member – Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
  • Member – New Zealand Institute of Chemistry
  • Affiliate Investigator – Maurice Wilkins Centre

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Hanif, M., Yang, X., Tinoco, A. D., & Plażuk D (2020). Editorial: New Strategies in Design and Synthesis of Inorganic Pharmaceuticals. Frontiers in Chemistry, 8.10.3389/fchem.2020.00453
  • Hanif, M., Arshad, J., Astin, J. W., Rana, Z., Zafar, A., Movassaghi, S., ... Reynisson, J. (2020). A Multitargeted Approach: Organorhodium Anticancer Agent Based on Vorinostat as a Potent Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)10.1002/anie.202005758
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Tilo Söhnel, Christian Hartinger, Stephen Jamieson, Euphemia Leung
  • Babak, M. V., Le Faouder, P., Trivelli, X., Venkatesan, G., Bezzubov, S. I., Kajjout, M., ... Vezin, H. (2020). Heteroleptic Ruthenium(II) Complexes with Bathophenanthroline and Bathophenanthroline Disulfonate Disodium Salt as Fluorescent Dyes for In-Gel Protein Staining. Inorganic chemistry, 59 (7), 4527-4535. 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b03679
  • Truong, D., Sullivan, M. P., Tong, K. K. H., Steel, T. R., Prause, A., Lovett, J. H., ... Ott, I. (2020). Potent Inhibition of Thioredoxin Reductase by the Rh Derivatives of Anticancer M(arene/Cp*)(NHC)Cl2 Complexes. Inorganic chemistry, 59 (5), 3281-3289. 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b03640
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Dianna Truong, Matthew Sullivan, David Goldstone, Stephen Jamieson, Christian Hartinger, Tilo Söhnel, Kelvin Tong
  • Rana, Z., Diermeier, S., Hanif, M., & Rosengren, R. J. (2020). Understanding Failure and Improving Treatment Using HDAC Inhibitors for Prostate Cancer. Biomedicines, 8 (2).10.3390/biomedicines8020022
  • Mohabeer, P. K., Carr, B., Hanif, M., Hartinger, C., Groutso, T., Jelley, R. E., ... Blackman, A. G. (2020). Synthesis, structure and fluxionality of Co(III) complexes containing chelated sulfate. POLYHEDRON, 17610.1016/j.poly.2019.114303
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger, Rebecca Jelley, Tilo Söhnel
  • Hanif, M., & Hartinger, C. G. (2020). From the hypothesis-driven development of organometallic anticancer drugs to new methods in mode of action studies. In P. J. Sadler, R. VanEldik (Eds.) (pp. 339-359). ELSEVIER ACADEMIC PRESS INC. 10.1016/bs.adioch.2019.10.007
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger
  • Enyedy, E. A., MeszAros, J. P., Spengler, G., Hanif, M., & Hartinger, C. G. (2019). Comparative solution studies and cytotoxicity of gallium(III) and iron(III) complexes of 3-hydroxy-2(1H)-pyridinones. POLYHEDRON, 172, 141-147. 10.1016/j.poly.2019.04.010
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 10, Room 1033
New Zealand

Web links