Dr Muhammad Hanif

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

Profile Image
Research Fellow


2015-present, Research Fellow at the University of Auckland (New Zealand

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

2011-2013, Assistant Professor, COMSATS Institute of Technology (Pakistan)

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

Research | Current

My research interests are focused on coordination chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry and chemical biology; utilising an interdisciplinary approach for the design and development of metallodrugs. These projects encompass a variety of metal ions as well as numerous ligand systems. Moreover, wide panoply of bioanalytical techniques and methods is used for thorough understanding of their cellular modes of action.

I have been very active in the area of medicinal bioinorganic chemistry, developing compounds that can target cancer cells effectively. For example, I contributed successfully in the designed of anticancer-active organometallic complexes appended with carbohydrate moieties as drug delivery vehicles (e.g. Chemistry – A European Journal 2008)  and I was also the first to develop a strategy to enhance the selective accumulation of organometallic anticancer agents in tumour tissues by using endogenous proteins as drug delivery vectors (Chemical Communications 2012).


2012 Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship of the Austrian Science Fund

2010 Distinction in PhD


Areas of expertise

Biological Inorganic Chemistry, Coordination Chemistry, Design and Development of Anticancer Agents

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Associate Member – Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK
  • Full Member  – Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
  • Full Member – New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (NZIC)
  • Affiliate Investigator Maurice Wilkins Centre (MWC)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Hanif, M., & Hartinger, C. G. (2018). Anticancer metallodrugs: where is the next cisplatin?. Future medicinal chemistry, 10 (6), 615-617. 10.4155/fmc-2017-0317
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger
  • Babak, M. V., Pfaffeneder-Kmen, M., Meier-Menches, S. M., Legina, M. S., Theiner, S., Licona, C., ... Jakupec, M. A. (2018). Rollover Cyclometalated Bipyridine Platinum Complexes as Potent Anticancer Agents: Impact of the Ancillary Ligands on the Mode of Action. Inorganic chemistry10.1021/acs.inorgchem.7b03210
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger
  • Movassaghi, S., Hanif, M., Holtkamp, H. U., Söhnel T, Jamieson, S. M. F., & Hartinger, C. G. (2018). Making organoruthenium complexes of 8-hydroxyquinolines more hydrophilic: impact of a novel l-phenylalanine-derived arene ligand on the biological activity. Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003), 47 (7), 2192-2201. 10.1039/c7dt04451h
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger, Tilo Soehnel, Stephen Jamieson
  • Hanif, M., & Hartinger, C. G. (2018). Ruthenium anticancer agents en route to the tumor: From plasma protein binding agents to targeted delivery. In A. A. Holder, L. Lilge, W. R. Browne, M. A. Lawrence, J. L. Bullock (Eds.) Ruthenium Complexes Photochemical and Biomedical Applications (pp. 161-180). Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. 10.1002/9783527695225.ch8
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger
  • Ashraf, A., Hanif, M., Kubanik, M., Söhnel T, Jamieson, S. M. F., Bhattacharyya, A., & Hartinger, C. G. (2017). Aspirin-inspired organometallic compounds: Structural characterization and cytotoxicity. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 839, 31-37. 10.1016/j.jorganchem.2017.01.016
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34188
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stephen Jamieson, Christian Hartinger, Tilo Soehnel
  • Aman, F., Hanif, M., Kubanik, M., Ashraf, A., Söhnel T, Jamieson, S. M. F., ... Hartinger, C. G. (2017). Anti-Inflammatory Oxicams as Multi-donor Ligand Systems: pH- and Solvent-Dependent Coordination Modes of Meloxicam and Piroxicam to Ru and Os. Chemistry - A European Journal, 23 (20), 4893-4902. 10.1002/chem.201700263
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34176
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Tilo Soehnel, Christian Hartinger, Stephen Jamieson
  • Hanif, M., Moon, S., Sullivan, M. P., Movassaghi, S., Kubanik, M., Goldstone, D. C., ... Hartinger, C. G. (2016). Anticancer activity of Ru- and Os(arene) compounds of a maleimide-functionalized bioactive pyridinecarbothioamide ligand. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 165, 100-107. 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2016.06.025
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34184
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger, David Goldstone, Stephen Jamieson, Tilo Soehnel
  • Parveen, S., Hanif, M., Movassaghi, S., Sullivan, M., Kubanik, M., Shaheen, M., ... Hartinger, C. (2016). Cationic Ru(η6-p-cymene) Complexes of 3-Hydroxy-4-pyr(id)ones: Lipophilic Triphenylphoshine as Co-ligand is Key to Highly Stable and Cytotoxic Anticancer Agents. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry10.1002/ejic.201601163
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Hartinger, Stephen Jamieson, Tilo Soehnel

Contact details

Primary location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
New Zealand

Social links

Web links