Jeffrey Harmer specialises in Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) for biology, chemistry and materials science applications

Assoc Prof Harmer’s research focuses on high-resolution continuous wave and pulse Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to determine structure, dynamics and function of molecules and materials containing unpaired electrons (paramagnetic materials). Examples include the active sites of metalloenzymes, metal complexes, radicals, diamagnetic proteins that have been spin labelled with small paramagnetic probes, battery electrodes and advanced materials for heterogeneous catalysis.


The EPR facility has a strong commitment to help industry in areas where radicals or paramagnetic centres are involved. Please contact the EPR facility for further details. Recent work for industry includes characterisation of radicals in advanced materials being developed for quantum computing, and in glassy carbon materials for a wide range of potential applications from energy storage to health. We are also involved in environmental work, e.g. characterising the toxicity of air born particles by determining their radical concentrations.


My position as EPR group leader has two aspects. Firstly, the EPR facility is open access (bookable via RIMS) and thus I have collaborative research interests with units across UQ and more widely within Australia. Contact me for further details. Secondly, I have my own research group and we are focused on structural biology and enzyme function and here I collaborate with researchers at UQ as well as nationally (e.g. McDevitt from Monash, Cox/Huber/Otting from ANU). I also collaborate on battery material development (these contain a lot of paramagnetic centres) and energy storage (e.g. radicals are candidates for energy storage) and metal complexes for catalysis (collaborator from Chem Eng, AIBN and SCMB).


Jeffrey Harmer was at the ETH Zürich (2000-2007) were he received funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the University of Oxford (2007-2013) were he was funded by the Chemistry Department, EPSCR UK and BBSRC UK. He returned to Australia on an ARC Future Fellowship and has since been awarded further funding from the ARC (LIEF & DP), NHMRC (Project and Ideas) and the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF).

Key Publications

Bowen, A. M., Johnson, E. O. D., Mercuri, F., Hoskins, N. J., Qiao, R. H., McCullagh, J. S. O., Lovett, J. E., Bell, S. G., Zhou, W. H., Timmel, C. R., Wong, L. L., Harmer, J. R. 2018, ‘A Structural Model of a P450-Ferredoxin Complex from Orientation-Selective Double Electron-Electron Resonance Spectroscopy’, Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 140, no. 7, pp. 2514-2527 (Refereed Journal Article)

Timmel, Christiane R., Harmer, Jeffrey R., Timmel, CR, Harmer, JR 2014, ‘Structural Information from Spin-Labels and Intrinsic Paramagnetic Centres in the Biosciences Preface’, Structural Information From Spin-Labels and Intrinsic Paramagnetic Centres in the Biosciences, vol. 152, pp. V-VII (Edited Book)

Ebner, S., Jaun, B., Goenrich, M., Thauer, R. K., Harmer, J. 2010, ‘Binding of Coenzyme B Induces a Major Conformational Change in the Active Site of Methyl-Coenzyme M Reductase’, Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 132, no. 2, pp. 567-575 (Refereed Journal Article)

Buttner, T., Geier, J., Frison, G., Harmer, J., Calle, C., Schweiger, A., Schonberg, H. & Grutzmacher, H. 2005, ‘A stable aminyl radical metal complex’, Science, vol. 307, no. 5707, pp. 235-238, doi:10.1126/science.1106070 (Refereed Journal Article)

Alina E. Motygullina, Mehdi Mobli & Jeffrey R. Harmer 2019, ‘Optimizing the transformation of HYSCORE data using the maximum entropy algorithm’, Journal of Magnetic Resonance, vol. 301, pp. 30–39, doi:10.1016/j.jmr.2019.02.002 (Refereed Journal Article)