Professor Christopher Sumby

Christopher Sumby
Professor of Chemistry & Deputy Dean Research
School of Physical Sciences
Faculty of Sciences

Christopher Sumby is Deputy Dean - Research and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Adelaide where he undertakes research into the synthesis and properties of nanomaterials to address energy and environmental challenges. Prof. Sumby has been awarded various fellowships and awards, including an ARC Future Fellowship (2009), a South Australian Young Tall Poppy Award (2009) and a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science International Invitational Fellowship (2014). Prof. Sumby is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials at the University of Adelaide where key research themes include Chemical and Electrical Energy Storage; Energy Waste Management; Heterogeneous Catalysis; and Nanoporous materials for Gas Separations. Prof. Sumby also directs the Bragg Crystallography Facility, the X-ray diffraction centre at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Christopher Sumby

Christopher Sumby is Deputy Dean - Research and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Adelaide where he undertakes research into the synthesis and properties of nanomaterials to address energy and environmental challenges. Prof. Sumby has been awarded various fellowships and awards, including an ARC Future Fellowship (2009), a South Australian Young Tall Poppy Award (2009) and a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science International Invitational Fellowship (2014). Prof. Sumby is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials at the University of Adelaide where key research themes include Chemical and Electrical Energy Storage; Energy Waste Management; Heterogeneous Catalysis; and Nanoporous materials for Gas Separations. Prof. Sumby also directs the Bragg Crystallography Facility, the X-ray diffraction centre at the University of Adelaide.

Research Areas

Porous Molecular Materials

Solution-processable porous materials such as porous organic cages (POCs) and metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs) are among research targets within our research laboratory at the University of Adelaide.  These are examples of novel porous materials with potential applications in gas storage, separations and catalysis. An advantage of such materials, by comparison with extended framework materials such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), is their readily solution processibility.

Some recent contributions include:

Example: Kinetically controlled porosity in an organic cage.
Example: Kinetically controlled porosity in an organic cage.


Metal-organic Frameworks

Our work on MOFs relies heavily on developing new ligand systems to prepare novel MOF materials and careful manipulation of the structures of existing MOF materials through linker modifications and metal node replacements.

MOF Synthesis

In this area we have undertaken the development of a new group of azolium-containing materials that are important precursors to N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) containing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), the synthesis of MOFs from diol containing biphenylcarboxylate ligands, and MOFs prepared from ‘hinged’ ligands.  The later of these show interesting structural flexibility.

Some papers include:

Example: Post-synthetic structural processing in a metal-organic framework.
Example: Post-synthetic structural processing in a metal-organic framework.


MOF Catalysis

MOFs are promising materials for heterogeneous catalysis and our research team is investigating how particular structural motifs can be incorporated into the design of MOFs to develop new or more efficient catalysts.  This work extends from garnering new fundamental insight into MOF supported catalysts through to new MOF catalysts. Techniques such as post-synthetic metalation (see our review of this area) are important to preparing new catalysts and we have also developed purpose-built catalytic testing facilities for examining gas phase catalysis.

An example of MOF catalysis - hydroboration of carbon dioxide.
An example of MOF catalysis - hydroboration of carbon dioxide.


Some recent papers include:

MOF Structuralisation, Composites and Particle Size

For MOFs to be applied as components of real-world systems, precise control over and optimisation of the physical form of the material is required. In this respect we are examining modulation of the crystal size and morphology (changes at the nanoscale) and how the application dictates the internal organisation of the solid and overall external shape of the composite (changes at the macroscale).  This work is done in collaboration with Dr Kenji Sumida (ARC DECRA fellow, School of Physcial Sciences, UoA).



Date Position Institution name
2017 Professor of Chemistry The University of Adelaide
2014 Deputy Dean (Research) University of Adelaide
2013 - 2016 Associate Professor University of Adelaide
2010 - 2014 ARC Future Fellow University of Adelaide
2010 - 2012 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
2007 - 2010 Australian Post-doctoral Fellow (APD) University of Adelaide
2006 - 2009 Lecturer in Chemistry University of Adelaide
2006 - 2007 FRST Science and Technology Fellow University of Otago
2003 - 2006 EPRSC-funded Post-doctoral Fellow University of Leeds

Awards and Achievements

Date Type Title Institution Name Amount
2016 Award Sandy Mathieson Award of the Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand
2016 Invitation CrystEngComm New Talent Issue contributor
2016 Invitation Journal of Coordination Chemistry Emerging Investigator Issue
2015 Invitation RSC Emerging Investigator Issue Royal Society of Chemistry
2014 Fellowship JSPS International Incoming Fellowship (longterm)
2009 Award South Australian Young Tall Poppy Award The Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS)
2009 - 2013 Fellowship ARC Future Fellowship
Award Royal Society of New Zealand Science and Technology Award Royal Society of New Zealand
Award Ralph Earle Seminar Prize University of Canterbury
Award Haydon Prize in Chemistry University of Canterbury
Fellowship New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee Claude McCarthy Fellowship Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara


Date Institution name Country Title
2000 - 2003 University of Canterbury New Zealand PhD
1996 - 1999 University of Canterbury New Zealand BSc. (Hons.)

Research Interests

Chemical Sciences, Inorganic Chemistry, Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, Nanochemistry and Supramolecular Chemistry, Solid State Chemistry, Transition Metal Chemistry


Year Citation
2017 Dechnik, J., Sumby, C. & Janiak, C. (2017). Enhancing mixed-matrix membrane performance with metal-organic framework additives. Crystal Growth and Design, 17, 8, 4467-4488.
2017 Lippi, R., Howard, S., Barron, H., Easton, C., Madsen, I., Waddington, L. ... Kennedy, D. (2017). Highly active catalyst for CO2methanation derived from a metal organic framework template. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 5, 25, 12990-12997.
2017 Day, A., Lamr, H., Sumby, C. & George, J. (2017). Biomimetic total synthesis of rhodonoids C and D, and murrayakonine D. Organic Letters, 19, 10, 2463-2465.
2017 Ledingham, E., Merritt, C., Sumby, C., Taylor, M. & Greatrex, B. (2017). Stereoselective Cyclopropanation of (-)-Levoglucosenone Derivatives Using Sulfonium and Sulfoxonium Ylides. Synthesis (Germany), 49, 12, 2652-2662.
2017 Legendre, S., Jevric, M., Klepp, J., Sumby, C. & Greatrex, B. (2017). A domino Kornblum-DeLaMare/aza-Michael reaction of 3,6-dihydro-1,2-dioxines and application to the synthesis of the ceramide transport inhibitor (±)-HPA-12. Tetrahedron, -.
2017 Burgun, A., Coghlan, C., Huang, D., Chen, W., Horike, S., Kitagawa, S. ... Doonan, C. (2017). Mapping-out catalytic processes in a metal-organic framework with single-crystal X-ray crystallography. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 56, 29, 8412-8416.
2017 Dechnik, J., Gascon, J., Doonan, C., Janiak, C. & Sumby, C. (2017). Mixed-matrix-membranen. Angewandte Chemie, 129, 32, 9420-9439.
2017 Huxley, M., Coghlan, C., Bloch, W., Burgun, A., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2017). X-ray crystallographic insights into post-synthetic metalation products in a metal-organic framework. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 375, 2084, 20160028-1-2016-0028-12.
2017 Kadir, M. & Sumby, C. (2017). Synthesis, crystal structure and coordination chemistry of DI-2-pyridylmethaneamine-based chelating ligands with cadmium salts. Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences, 21, 5, 1036-1044.
2017 Dechnik, J., Gascon, J., Doonan, C., Janiak, C. & Sumby, C. (2017). Mixed-matrix membranes. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 56, 32, 9292-9310.
2017 Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2017). Metal-organic framework catalysis. CrystEngComm, 19, 29, 4045-4049.
2017 Lam, H., Pepper, H., Sumby, C. & George, J. (2017). Biomimetic total synthesis of (±)-verrubenzospirolactone. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 56, 29, 8532-8535.
2017 Bruce, M., Halet, J., Le Guennic, B., Skelton, B., Sobolev, A., Sumby, C. & White, A. (2017). Structural systematics of some trinuclear alkynyl and diynyl Group 11 complexes containing dppm [dppm=CH2(PPh2)2]. Coordination Chemistry Reviews, -.
2017 Burgun, A., Bloch, W., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2017). Engineering isoreticular 2D metal-organic frameworks with inherent structural flexibility. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 70, 5, 566-575.
2016 Linder-Patton, O., Bloch, W., Coghlan, C., Sumida, K., Kitagawa, S., Furukawa, S. ... Sumby, C. (2016). Particle size effects in the kinetic trapping of a structurally-locked form of a flexible metal-organic framework. CrystEngComm, 18, 22, 4172-4179.
2016 Ricco, R., Pfeiffer, C., Sumida, K., Sumby, C., Falcaro, P., Furukawa, S. ... Doonan, C. (2016). Emerging applications of metal-organic frameworks. CrystEngComm, 18, 35, 6532-6542.
2016 Sumby, C. J. (2016). A thin film opening. NATURE CHEMISTRY, 8, 4, 294-296.
2016 Bruce, M., Ellis, B., Halet, J., Le Guennic, B., Nicholson, B., Sahnoune, H. ... Zaitseva, N. (2016). Syntheses and structures of some complexes containing M₃(μdppm)₃ moieties (M = Cu, Ag) linking C₄{M'Lₓ} groups [M'Lₓ = Re(CO)₃((BU ͭ₂-bpy), Ru(dppe)Cp*]. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 453, 654-666.
2016 Evans, J., Huang, D., Haranczyk, M., Thornton, A., Sumby, C. & Doonan, C. (2016). Computational identification of organic porous molecular crystals. CrystEngComm, 18, 22, 4133-4141.
2016 Capon, P., Burgun, A., Coghlan, C., Crees, R., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2016). Hydrogen adsorption in azolium and metalated N-heterocyclic carbene containing MOFs. CrystEngComm, 18, 37, 7003-7010.
2016 Linder-Patton, O., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2016). Staggered pillaring: a strategy to control layer-layer packing and enhance porosity in MOFs. Journal of Coordination Chemistry, 69, 11-13, 1802-1811.
2016 Teo, J., Coghlan, C., Evans, J., Tsivion, E., Head-Gordon, M., Sumby, C. & Doonan, C. (2016). Hetero-bimetallic metal-organic polyhedra. Chemical Communications, 52, 2, 276-279.
2016 Sumby, C. (2016). Metal-organic frameworks: A thin film opening. Nature Chemistry, 8, 4, 294-296.
2016 Huxley, M., Coghlan, C., Burgun, A., Tarzia, A., Sumida, K., Sumby, C. & Doonan, C. (2016). Site-specific metal and ligand substitutions in a microporous Mn²⁺-based metal–organic framework. Dalton Transactions, 45, 10, 4431-4438.
2016 Burgun, A., Valente, P., Evans, J., Huang, D., Sumby, C. & Doonan, C. (2016). Endohedrally functionalised porous organic cages. Chemical Communications, 52, 57, 8850-8853.
2015 Evans, J., Huang, D., Hill, M., Sumby, C., Sholl, D., Thornton, A. & Doonan, C. (2015). Molecular design of amorphous porous organic cages for enhanced gas storage. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 119, 14, 7746-7754.
2015 Evans, J. D., Sumby, C. J. & Doonan, C. J. (2015). Synthesis and applications of porous organic cages. Chemistry Letters, 44, 5, 582-588.
2015 Stockton, K., Merritt, C., Sumby, C. & Greatrex, B. (2015). Palladium-Catalyzed Suzuki-Miyaura, Heck and Hydroarylation Reactions on (-)-Levoglucosenone and Application to the Synthesis of Chiral γ-Butyrolactones. European Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2015, 32, 6999-7008.
2015 Bloch, W. & Sumby, C. (2015). Silver(I) coordination polymers of the ‘hinged’ pyrazine containing ligand di-2-pyrazinylmethane. Supramolecular Chemistry, 27, 11-12, 807-819.
2015 Huang, A. C., Sefton, M. A., Sumby, C. J., Tiekink, E. R. T. & Taylor, D. K. (2015). Mechanistic studies on the autoxidation of α-guaiene: structural diversity of the sesquiterpenoid downstream products. Journal of Natural Products, 78, 1, 131-145.
2015 Bloch, W. & Sumby, C. (2015). Probing solid-state breathing and structural transformations in a series of silver(I) porous coordination polymers. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2015, 22, 3723-3729.
2015 Kitchin, M., Teo, J., Konstas, K., Lau, C., Sumby, C., Thornton, A. ... Hill, M. (2015). AIMs: a new strategy to control physical aging and gas transport in mixed-matrix membranes. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 3, 29, 15241-15247.
2015 Bloch, W., Burgun, A., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2015). Probing post-synthetic metallation in metal-organic frameworks: insights from X-ray crystallography. Chemical Communications, 51, 25, 5486-5489.
2015 Bruce, M., Burgun, A., George, J., Nicholson, B., Parker, C., Skelton, B. ... Zaitseva, N. (2015). Some reactions of azides with diynyl-bis(phosphine)ruthenium-cyclopentadienyl complexes. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 797, 185-193.
2015 Kitchin, M., Konstas, K., Sumby, C., Czyz, M., Valente, P., Hill, M. ... Doonan, C. (2015). Continuous flow synthesis of a carbon-based molecular cage macrocycle via a three-fold homocoupling reaction. Chemical Communications, 51, 75, 14231-14234.
2015 Kadir, M., Ramli, R., Kassim, N., Mansor, N. & Sumby, C. (2015). Synthesis, structural and spectroscopic studies of palladium(II) metallo-macrocyles containing ancillary blocking ligands and N,N'-2,6-Bis(3-pyridylmethyl)pyridine dicarboxamide. Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences, 19, 3, 520-530.
2014 Lu, T., Goh, A. W., Yu, M., Adams, J., Lam, F., Teo, T. ... Wang, S. (2014). Discovery of (E)-3-((Styrylsulfonyl) methyl) pyridine and (E)-2-((Styrylsulfonyl) methyl) pyridine Derivatives as Anticancer Agents: Synthesis, Structure–Activity Relationships, and Biological Activities. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 57, 6, 2275-2291.
2014 Rankine, D., Keene, T. D., Doonan, C. J. & Sumby, C. J. (2014). Reprogramming kinetic phase control and tailoring pore environments in Coᴵᴵ and Znᴵᴵ metal-organic frameworks. Crystal Growth and Design, 14, 11, 5710-5718.
2014 Evans, J. D., Sumby, C. J. & Doonan, C. J. (2014). Post-synthetic metalation of metal–organic frameworks. Chemical Society reviews, 43, 16, 5933-5951.
2014 Hollis, C., He, X. & Sumby, C. (2014). Ruthenium complexes of hexakis(cyanophenyl)[3]radialenes and their di(cyanophenyl)methane precursors: Synthesis, photophysical, and electrochemical properties. Journal of Coordination Chemistry, 67, 8, 1367-1379.
2014 Kadir, M. A., Mansor, N., Yusof, M. S. M. & Sumby, C. J. (2014). Synthesis and crystal structure of N-6-[(4-pyridylamino) carbonyl]-pyridine-2-carboxylic acid methyl ester zinc complex. Complex Metals, 1, 1, 32-37.
2014 Evans, J. D., Huang, D. M., Hill, M. R., Sumby, C. J., Thornton, A. W. & Doonan, C. J. (2014). Feasibility of mixed matrix membrane gas separations employing porous organic cages. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 118, 3, 1523-1529.
2014 Coghlan, C., Sumby, C. & Doonan, C. (2014). Utilising hinged ligands in MOF synthesis: a covalent linking strategy for forming 3D MOFs. CrystEngComm, 16, 28, 6364-6371.
2014 Bloch, W., Burgun, A., Coghlan, C., Lee, R., Coote, M., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2014). Capturing snapshots of post-synthetic metallation chemistry in metal-organic frameworks. Nature Chemistry, 6, 10, 906-912.
2014 Burgun, A., Gendron, F. D. R., Sumby, C. J., Roisnel, T., Cador, O., Costuas, K. ... Lapinte, C. (2014). Hexatriynediyl Chain Spanning Two Cp*(dppe) M Termini (M= Fe, Ru): Evidence for the Dependence of Electronic and Magnetic Couplings on the Relative Orientation of the Termini. Organometallics, 33, 10, 2613-2627.
2014 Babarao, R., Coghlan, C., Rankine, D., Bloch, W., Gransbury, G., Sato, H. ... Doonan, C. (2014). Does functionalisation enhance CO₂ uptake in interpenetrated MOFs? An examination of the IRMOF-9 series. Chemical Communications, 50, 24, 3238-3241.
2014 Huang, A. C., Sumby, C. J., Tiekink, E. R. T. & Taylor, D. K. (2014). Synthesis of guaia-4(5)-en-11-ol, guaia-5(6)-en-11-ol, aciphyllene, 1- epi-melicodenones C and E, and other guaiane-type sesquiterpenoids via the diastereoselective epoxidation of guaiol. Journal of Natural Products, 77, 11, 2522-2536.
2014 Burgun, A., Crees, R., Cole, M., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2014). A 3-D diamondoid MOF catalyst based on in situ generated [Cu(L)2] N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) linkers: hydroboration of CO₂. Chemical Communications, 50, 79, 11760-11763.
2013 He, Z., Pang, Q., Rankine, D., Sumby, C., Zhang, L., Doonan, C. & Li, Q. (2013). Encapsulation of polyoxometalates within layered metal-organic frameworks with topological and pore control. Crystengcomm, 15, 45, 9340-9343.
2013 Foo, H., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Sumby, C. & Monro, T. (2013). Towards microstructured optical fibre sensors: surface analysis of silanised lead silicate glass. Journal of Materials Chemistry C: materials for optical and electronic devices, 1, 41, 6782-6789.
2013 Burgun, A., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2013). Triazolium-containing metal-organic frameworks: Control of catenation in 2-D Copper(II) paddlewheel structures. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 66, 4, 409-418.
2013 Bloch, W., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2013). Using hinged ligands to target structurally flexible copper(II) MOFs. Crystengcomm, 15, 45, 9663-9671.
2013 Avellaneda, A., Valente, P., Burgun, A., Evans, J., Markwell-Heys, A., Rankine, D. ... Doonan, C. (2013). Kinetically controlled porosity in a robust organic cage material. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 52, 13, 3746-3749.
2013 Keene, T., Rankine, D., Evans, J., Southon, P., Kepert, C., Aitken, J. ... Doonan, C. (2013). Solvent-modified dynamic porosity in chiral 3D kagome frameworks. Dalton Transactions (Print Edition), 42, 22, 7871-7879.
2013 Pehere, A., Sumby, C. & Abell, A. (2013). New cylindrical peptide assemblies defined by extended parallel β-sheets. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 11, 3, 425-429.
2013 Avellaneda, A., Valente, P., Burgun, A., Evans, J. D., Markwell-Heys, A. W., Rankine, D. ... Doonan, C. J. (2013). Kinetically controlled porosity in a robust organic cage material. Angewandte Chemie, 125, 13, 3834-3837.
2013 Sumby, C. (2013). Research front on coordination polymers. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 66, 4, 397-400.
2013 Hollis, C. A., Batten, S. R. & Sumby, C. J. (2013). Two-dimensional and three-dimensional coordination polymers of hexakis (4-cyanophenyl)[3] radialene: the role of stoichiometry and kinetics. Crystal Growth & Design, 13, 6, 2350-2361.
2013 Rankine, D., Keene, T., Sumby, C. & Doonan, C. (2013). Chelation-driven fluorescence deactivation in three alkali earth metal MOFs containing 2,2’-dihydroxybiphenyl-4,4’-dicarboxylate. Crystengcomm, 15, 45, 9722-9728.
2013 Bloch, W., Babarao, R., Hill, M., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2013). Post-synthetic structural processing in a metal-organic framework material as a mechanism for exceptional CO₂/N₂ selectivity. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135, 28, 10441-10448.
2012 Evans, J., Hollis, C., Hack, S., Gentleman, A., Hoffmann, P., Buntine, M. & Sumby, C. (2012). Anion-π interactions of hexaaryl[3]radialenes. Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 116, 30, 8001-8007.
2012 Abdul Kadir, M., Clements, P., Hanton, L., Hollis, C. & Sumby, C. (2012). Pre-organisation or a hydrogen bonding mismatch; silver(I) diamide ligand coordination polymers versus discrete metallo-macrocyclic assemblies. Supramolecular Chemistry, 24, 8, 627-640.
2012 Crees, R., Moubaraki, B., Murray, K. & Sumby, C. (2012). Synthesis and coordination chemistry of 2-(di-2-pyridylamino)pyrimidine; structural aspects of spin crossover in an Fe(II) complex. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 65, 7, 842-850.
2012 Abdul Kadir, M., Hanton, L. & Sumby, C. (2012). Building blocks for coordination polymers: self-assembled cleft-like and planar discrete metallo-macrocyclic complexes. Dalton Transactions (Print Edition), 41, 15, 4497-4505.
2012 Bloch, W. & Sumby, C. (2012). Guest-induced crystal-to-crystal expansion and contraction of a 3-D porous coordination polymer. Chemical Communications, 48, 19, 2534-2536.
2012 Rankine, D., Avellaneda, A., Hill, M., Doonan, C. & Sumby, C. (2012). Control of framework interpenetration for in situ modified hydroxyl functionalised IRMOFs. Chemical Communications, 48, 83, 10328-10330.
2012 Avellaneda, A., Hollis, C., He, X. & Sumby, C. (2012). Fluorescent hexaaryl-and hexa-heteroaryl [3] radialenes: synthesis, structures, and properties. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry, 8, 71-80.
2011 Bloch, W., Derwent - Smith, S., Issa, F., Morris, J., Rendina, L. & Sumby, C. (2011). Fused pyrazino [2,3-b]indolizine and indolizino[2,3-b]quioxaline derivatives; synthesis, structures and properties. Tetrahedron, 67, 48, 9368-9375.
2011 Englich, F. V., Foo, T. C., Richardson, A. C., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Sumby, C. J. & Monro, T. M. (2011). Photoinduced electron transfer based ion sensing within an optical fiber. Sensors, 11, 10, 9560-9572.
2011 Sumby, C. (2011). Bridging ligands comprising two or more di-2-pyridylmethyl or amine arms: alternatives to 2,2'-bipyridyl-containing bridging ligands. Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 255, 15-16, 1937-1967.
2011 Abdul-Kadir, M., Hanton, L. R. & Sumby, C. J. (2011). Self-assembled metallo-macrocycle based coordination polymers with unsymmetrical amide ligands. Dalton Transactions, 40, 45, 12374-12380.
2010 Ioannidis, M., Gentleman, A., Ho, L., Lincoln, S. & Sumby, C. (2010). Complexation and structural studies of a sulfonamide aza-15-crown-5 derivative. Inorganic Chemistry Communications, 13, 5, 593-598.
2010 Crees, R., Cole, M., Hanton, L. & Sumby, C. (2010). Synthesis of a zinc(II) imidazolium dicarboxylate ligand metal-organic framework (MOF): a potential precursor to MOF-tethered N-heterocyclic carbene compounds. Inorganic Chemistry, 49, 4, 1712-1719.
2009 Sumby, C. & Hanton, L. (2009). Syntheses and studies of flexible amide ligands: a toolkit for studying metallo-supramolecular assemblies for anion binding. Tetrahedron, 65, 24, 4681-4691.
2009 Hollis, C., Hanton, L., Morris, J. & Sumby, C. (2009). 2-D Coordination Polymers of Hexa(4-cyanophenyl)[3]-radialene and Silver(I): Anion•••π-Interactions and Radialene C−H•••Anion Hydrogen Bonds in the Solid-State Interactions of Hexaaryl[3]-radialenes with Anions. Crystal Growth & Design, 9, 6, 2911-2916.
2009 Sumby, C., Leita, B., Moubaraki, B., Murray, K. & Steel, P. (2009). Synthesis and coordination chemistry of doubly-tridentate tripodal pyridazine and pyrimidine-derived ligands: structural interplay between M2L and M2L2 (M=Ni and Pd) complexes and magnetic properties of iron(II) complexes. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 62, 9, 1142-1154.
2009 Westcott, A., Sumby, C., Walshaw, R. & Hardie, M. (2009). Metallo-gels and organo-gels with tripodal cyclotriveratrylene-type and 1,3,5-substituted benzene-type ligands. New Journal of Chemistry, 33, 4, 902-912.
2008 Sumby, C. & Steel, P. (2008). Synthesis and crystal structure of a 2nm long rectangular copper dimetallomacrocycle. Journal of Coordination Chemistry, 61, 1, 117-123.
2008 Antonioli, B., Bray, D., Clegg, J., Gloe, K., Gloe, K., Jager, A. ... Wenzel, M. (2008). Interaction of copper(II) and palladium(II) with linked 2,2'-dipyridylamine derivatives: Synthetic and structural studies. Polyhedron, 27, 13, 2889-2898.
2008 Carruthers, C., Ronson, T., Sumby, C., Westcott, A., Harding, L., Prior, T. ... Hardie, M. (2008). The dimeric "hand-shake" motif in complexes and metallo-supramolecular assemblies of cyclotriveratrylene-based ligands. Chemistry-A European Journal, 14, 33, 10286-10296.
2008 Sumby, C. (2008). Ruthenium(II) Complexes of New Chelating Indolizino [2,3-b] pyrazine- and Indolizino[2,3-b] quinoxaline-Derived Ligands: Syntheses, Electrochemistry and Absorption Spectroscopy. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 61, 11, 894-904.
2008 Sumby, C. & Steel, P. (2008). Synthesis and X-ray crystal structures of three copper(II) complexes of 1,4-bis(di-2-pyridylmethyl)phthalazine. Journal of Coordination Chemistry, 61, 14, 2179-2185.
2008 Sumby, C., Gordon, K., Walsh, T. & Hardie, M. (2008). Synthesis and complexation of multiarmed cycloveratrylene-type ligands: Observation of the "Boat" and "Distorted-Cup" conformations of a cyclotetraveratrylene derivative. Chemistry-A European Journal, 14, 14, 4415-4425.
2007 Sumby, C. & Steel, P. (2007). Mono- and dinuclear ruthenium complexes of bridging ligands incorporating two di-2-pyridylamine motifs: Syntheses, spectroscopy and electorchemistry. Polyhedron, 26, 18, 5370-5381.
2007 Sumby, C. & Steel, P. (2007). Coordination chemistry of di-2-pyridylamine-based bridging heterocyclic ligands: A structural study of coordination polymers and discrete dinuclear complexes. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 360, 6, 2100-2114.
2007 Sumby, C. & Hardie, M. (2007). 2,3,7,8,12,13-Hexahydroxy-10,15-dihydro-5H-tribenzo[a,d,g]cyclononene acetone disolvate. Acta Crystallographica Section E-Structure Reports Online, 63, 4, O1537-O1539.
2006 Sumby, C., Carr, M., Franken, A., Kennedy, J., Kilner, C. & Hardie, M. (2006). Crystal-packing motifs of [Ag₄L₄]⁴+ star-burst tetrahedra. New Journal of Chemistry, 30, 10, 1390-1396.
2006 Sumby, C., Fisher, J., Prior, T. & Hardie, M. (2006). Tris (pyridylmethyl-amino)cyclotriguaiacylene cavitands: An investigation of the solution and solid-state behaviour of metallo-supramolecular cages and cavitand-based corodination polymers.. Chemistry-A European Journal, 12, 11, 2945-2959.
2006 Antonioli, B., Bray, D., Clegg, J., Gloe, K., Gloe, K., Kateva, O. ... Wenzel, M. (2006). Silver(I) complexation of linked 2,2'-dipyridylamine derivatives. Synthetic, solvent extraction, membrane transport and X-ray structural studies. Dalton Transactions (Print Edition), 40, 4783-4794.
2005 Sumby, C. & Hardie, M. (2005). Capsules and star-burst polyhedra : An [Ag[2]L[2]] capsule and a tetrahedral [Ag[4]L[4]] metallosupramolecular prism with cyclotriveratrylene-type ligands. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 44, 39, 6395-6399.
2005 Sumby, C. & Hardie, M. (2005). Disentangling disorder in the three-dimensional coordination network of {Ag₃[Tris(2-pyridylmethyl)cyclotriguaiacylene]₂}(PF₆)₃. Crystal Growth & Design, 5, 4, 1321-1324.
2005 Sumby, C. & Steel, P. (2005). An investigation of the coordination chemistry of the hexadentate ligand di-2-pyridylketone azine; the formation of a discrete tetranuclear complex with silver nitrate. New Journal of Chemistry, 29, 8, 1077-1081.
2005 Hardie, M., Ahmad, R. & Sumby, C. (2005). Network structures of cyclotriveratrylene and its derivatives. New Journal of Chemistry, 29, 10, 1231-1240.
2004 Hardie, M., Mills, R. & Sumby, C. (2004). Building blocks for cyclotriveratrylene-based coordination networks. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2, 20, 2958-2964.
2004 Steel, P. & Sumby, C. (2004). Synthesis and X-ray crystal structure of a bridging trispiran ligand. Arkivoc (Online Ed), 2004, 7-12.
2004 Hardie, M. & Sumby, C. (2004). Interwoven 2-D coordination network prepared from the molecular host Tris(isonicotinoyl)cyclotriguaiacylene and Silver(I) Cobalt(III) bis(dicarbollide). Inorganic Chemistry, 43, 22, 6872-6874.
2003 Steel, P. & Sumby, C. (2003). Coordination chemistry of di-2-pyridylmethane and related bridging ligands with silver(i), copper(ii), palladium(ii) and zinc(ii). Dalton Transactions (Print Edition), 23, 4505-4515.
2003 Sumby, C. & Steel, P. (2003). 'All twisted up': a dinuclear helicate with a highly contorted pyridazine bridge. Inorganic Chemistry Communications, 6, 2, 127-130.
2003 Sumby, C. & Steel, P. (2003). Cyclometalated compounds. XVII.¹ The first threefold cyclopalladation of a single benzene ring. Organometallics, 22, 12, 2358-2360.
2003 D'Alessandro, D., Keene, F., Steel, P. & Sumby, C. (2003). Ruthenium (II) Complexes of Multidentate Ligands Derived from Di (2-pyridyl) methane. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 56, 7, 657-664.
2002 Steel, P. & Sumby, C. (2002). Anion-directed self-assembly of metallosupramolecular coordination polymers of the radialene ligand hexa(2-pyridyl)[3]radialene. Inorganic Chemistry Communications, 5, 5, 323-327.
2002 Steel, P. & Sumby, C. (2002). Hexa(2-pyridyl)[3]radialene: self-assembly of a hexanuclear silver array. Chemical Communications, 4, 322-323.

Conference Papers

Year Citation
2014 Foo, H. T. C., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Sumby, C. J. & Monro, T. M. (2014). Comparison of 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES) grafting chemistry on silica and lead silicate glass. Australian Conference on Microscopy and Microanalysis. Adelaide, Australia.
2012 Richardson, A., Foo, T., Englich, F., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Sumby, C. & Monro, T. (2012). A microstructured optical fiber sensor for ion-sensing based on the photoinduced electron transfer effect. Asia Pacific Optical Sensors Conference. J. Canning & G. D. Peng (Eds.) Sydney, Australia.
2009 Englich, F., Foo, H., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Sumby, C. & Monro, T. (2009). Towards a microstructured optical fibre fluorescence sensor based on photoinduced electron transfer photobleaching. Australasian Conference on Optics, Lasers and Spectroscopy and Australian Conference on Optical Fibre Technology (ACOLS ACOFT). Adelaide.
2009 Foo, H., François, A., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Sumby, C. & Monro, T. (2009). Comparison of surface functionalization techniques on silica and soft glasses for optical fibre sensing applications. Australasian Conference on Optics, Lasers and Spectroscopy and Australian Conference on Optical Fibre Technology (ACOLS ACOFT). Adelaide.

Conference Items

Year Citation
2014 Doonan, C. J., Sumby, C. J. & Bloch, W. M. (2014). MOFs: Nanosized windows into Angstrom space. 248th National Meeting of the American-Chemical-Society (ACS). San Francisco, CA.
2006 Hardie, M., Fisher, J., Stephenson, M. D., Sumby, C. J. & Westcott, A. (2006). Materials with network structures from cavitand ligands and extended networks of discrete coordination complexes. 1st British-Sino Joint Symposium on Chemistry CCS/RSC/EPSRC Workshop on Materials Chemistry. Beijing, China.
2004 Hardie, M. J., Ahmad, R. & Sumby, C. (2004). Rigid molecular hosts as building blocks for network structures. 22nd European Crystallographic Meeting, ECM22. Budapest, Hungary.


Year Citation
2003 Sumby, C. J.; (2003); The Synthesis and Study of Bridging Heterocyclic Ligands: A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry in the University of Canterbury;

Research Funding

Project Funding

Prof. Christian Doonan; Prof. Christopher Sumby; Dr Stephen Bell; Professor Paolo Falcaro, Metal-organic frameworks at the biointerface. ARC DP170103531

Project Summary: This project aims to understand the chemistry that governs the crystallisation of metal-organic frameworks (MOF) around functional biomacromolecules and explore these bio-composites’ uses. Functional biomacromolecules, such as proteins, could be applied to biotechnology and Industrial biocatalysis. The project will develop MOF-encapsulated biocatalytic platform materials that allow inherently fragile biomacromolecules to remain active in conditions needed for industrial processes. This project could advance the widespread commercial application of biocatalysts and biosensors.

Doonan, C. J., Sumby, C. J., Huang, D. M., Champness, N. R.; X-ray snapshots of chemical transformations in open framework materials, ARC DP160103234.

Project summary: The aim of this project is to unearth structural insights into the chemistry of coordinatively unsaturated metal complexes – reactive species lacking their full complement of binding groups – by isolating them within a carefully designed metal-organic framework and examining them via single crystal X-ray diffraction. Such intrinsically reactive species play an important role in metal-based catalysis, but their definitive structural characterisation remains a significant challenge. This project aims to facilitate a detailed understanding of how these species bind and activate substrates and thus provide important first steps towards developing novel adsorbents for separations and efficient catalysts.

Kepert, C. J. and others, Solving the energy waste roadblock, Science Industry Endowment Fund

Doonan, C. J., Sumby, C. J., Long, J. R., Metal-organic frameworks as heterogeneous catalytic systems, ARC DP110103741.

Monro, T. M., Sumby, C. J., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Hoffmann, P., Abell, A. D.; Disruptive approaches to biological sensing, ARC FS100100039.

Sumby, C. J.; Internally decorated discrete Metallo-supramolecular Assemblies and infinite Metal-Organic Frameworks as molecular containers; ARC FT0991910.

Sumby, C.J.; Anion Binding and Sensing With Self-Assembled Metallo-Supramolecular Assemblies; ARC DP0773011.

Infrastructure Funding

Gerson, A., Sumby, C. J. and others, Microdiffraction: Advanced capabilities for spatial resolution, trace phase detection and solid object analysis, ARC LE140100122.

Sumby, C. J. and 9 others, Enhanced Powder Diffraction Facilities for SA, ARC LE120000012.

Murray, K. S., Spiccia, L., Deacon, G. B., Batten, S. R., Boskovic, C., Gahan, L. R., Hanson, G. R., Sumby, C. J., Schenk, G., Abrahams, B. F., National magnetochemical facility; ARC LE100100197.

Monro, T. M., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Tan, H. H., Dell, J. M., Madden, S., Sumby, C. J., Ottaway, D. J., Harris, H. H.; Capability for the fabrication and characterisation of mid-infrared photonic materials; ARC LE100100104.

Sumby, C.J., Carver, J.A., Wallace, J.C., Hrmova, M., Pring, A. Abell, A.D., Booker, G.W., Bruce, M.I., Brugger, J., Ford, C.M., Harris, H.H., Morris, J.C., Paton, J.C., Peet, D.J., Pyke, S.M., Shearwin, K.E., Menz, R.I., Abbott, C.A., Anderson, P.A., Brown, M.H., Johnston, M.R., Schuller, K.A., Lopez, A.F., Pitson, S.M., Lincoln, S.F., McKinnon, R.A.; The South Australian Facility for Small and Large Molecule X-Ray Diffraction Structure Determination (The Bragg Crystallography Facility); ARC LE0989336.

Chemistry IA - Coordination Chemistry

Foundations of Chemistry IB - Redox chemistry and main group chemistry

Environmental & Analytical Chemistry II - Atmospheric Chemistry

Molecular Structure Determination III - X-ray Crystallography

Advanced Synthetic Methods III - Organometallic Chemistry

Synthesis of Materials III - Supramolecular Chemistry


The Research Group

The research group occupies a number of labs throughout the Johnson and Badger Buildings of the University of Adelaide's North Terrace Campus.  We have state-of-the-art labs for materials synthesis and structure solution (by single crystal and powder X-ray diffraction - the Bragg Crystallography Facility) that complement the synthetic chemistry facilities.

Group photo, November 2016

See our group website:

We work as part of the Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials.  Read our Blog here.

The research group is run in collaboration with Assoc. Prof. Christian Doonan.

Current Group Members

Post-doctoral Fellows
  • Dr Alexandre Burgun (Jan 2012 - ) - ARC Post-doctoral Fellow
PhD students
  • Jesse Teo
  • Mel Kitchin (in collaboration with CSIRO, Dr Matthew Hill)
  • Renata Lippi (in collaboration with CSIRO, Dr Danielle Kennedy)
  • Michael Huxley
  • Olilver Linder-Patton
  • Harley Betts (in collaboration with Prof. Hugh Harris)
  • Rosemary Young
  • Kate Flint (in collaboration with Em. Prof. Richard Keene)
  • Rob Dickinson
Honours students
  • Tom de Prinse

Group Alumni

Post-doctoral Fellows
  • Dr Tony Keene - Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Southampton
  • Dr Cam Coghlan (Oct 2012 - 2016) - Science Industry Endowment Fund Fellow
PhD students
  • Dr Maisara Abdul-Kadir (2012), Synthesis and Coordination Chemistry of Polypyridyl Amide Ligands.  Currently: academic at the University of Malaysia, Terengganu.
  • Dr Courtney Hollis (2013), Studies of Hexaaryl[3]radialene Ligands: Synthesis, Coordination Chemistry and Anion Interactions. Currently: research scientist at Bionomics, SA.
  • Dr Witold Bloch (2014), Engineering Flexible Metal-Organic Frameworks from Methylene-hinged Ligands. Currently: Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Gottingen.
  • Dr Herbert T. C. Foo (2014), Optical Fibre Sensors with Surface-immobilised Fluoroionophores. Currently: research scientist in IPAS, The University of Adelaide.
  • Dr Jack Evans (2015), Simulations of Molecular and Extended Porous Materials. Currently: post-doctoral fellow at ParisTech.
  • Dr Damien Rankine (2016), Metal-Organic Frameworks Containing Dihydroxy Motifs: Control of Phase Formation and Pore Environments. Currently: research chemist at Dominant Chemicals.
Masters student
  • Patrick Capon (2017), Incorporation of N-Heterocyclic Carbenes and Their Precursors into Metal-Organic Frameworks. Currently: PhD student (Abell lab)
Honours students
  • Courtney Hollis, 2008
  • Marie Ioannidis, 2008
  • Witold Bloch, 2009
  • Xin (Jenny) He, 2009
  • Stephanie Derwent-Smith, 2010 (mid-year)
  • Damien Rankine, 2010
  • Nectaria Georgopolos, 2010
  • Jack Evans, 2011
  • Michael Lewis, 2011
  • Jessica Noack, 2014 (mid-year)
  • Rosemary Young, 2015
  • Oliver Linder-Patton, 2015
  • Kate Flint, 2016
  • James Preston, 2016


Date Role Membership Country
2015 - ongoing Member American Chemical Society United States
2015 - ongoing Member Royal Australian Chemistry Institute (MRACI CChem) Australia
2015 - ongoing Member Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand (SCANZ) Australia

Committee Memberships

Date Role Committee Institution Country
2017 - 2017 Chair Program Chair for Crystal 31
2017 - 2017 Member SCANZ Council
2017 - 2018 Vice-President SA Branch of the RACI RACI Australia
2015 - ongoing Co-Chair User Advisory Committee, Macromolecular crystallography (MX) PAC. Australian Synchrotron
2013 - 2016 Member User Advisory Committee, Macromolecular crystallography (MX) PAC Australian Synchrotron Australia
2013 - ongoing Member Tall Poppy Selection Panel Committee The Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) Australia

Editorial Boards

Date Role Editorial Board Name Country
2016 - 2019 Board Member Journal of Coordination Chemistry
Professor of Chemistry & Deputy Dean Research
North Terrace
Room Number
1 05
Org Unit