Doctor David Harman

Doctor David Harman

Associate Lecturer In Chemistry,

Mass Spectrometry Facility Manager,
Research Services

Associate Lecturer In Chemistry,


My introduction to scientific research occurred in Armidale when I undertook a BSc (Hons) degree with Stephen Glover at the University of New England, investigating the cyclisation reactions of alkoxyiminyl radicals.  Following the offer of a scholarship, I moved south to Canberra to study for a PhD with Althel Beckwith within the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University.  While at the RSC I investigated the mechanism of the rearrangements of various activated intermediates, including free radicals.  After completion of doctoral studies, I worked for three months with Alan Watchman from Archaeology and Natural History at ANU.  During this time we investigated by HPLC the nature of binders in 6000 year old rock art from Baja California (Mexico), verified by GC-MS dating ages from rock art in New Mexico by exclusion of petroleum residue from paint samples, and established by FT-IR that samples from suspected "touch ups" of rock art in Malta were not modern paint.  In 2004 I began postdoctoral studies in mass spectrometry with Stephen Blanksby at the University of Wollongong.  After setting up a synthetic organic chemistry laboratory, I prepared a suite of compounds to study the gas phase decarboxylation of aromotic percarboxylate anions.  While in Wollongong I modified a state-of-the-art ion trap mass spectrometer in order to allow the study of reactions between charge-tagged radicals and small molecules and to measure their rate constants.  These modifications paved the way for the development of ozone induced dissociation of alkenes (OzID), from which came two US patents on lipid structural analysis.  After a year working as a mass spectrometer technician at UoW, in 2008 I moved into materials science and managed an analysis laboratory (NMR, MALDI-MS, TGA-MS) at the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute - part of an ARC Centre of Excellence under the direction of Gordon Wallace.  While at IPRI I prepared a number of water-dispersable conducting polymers, including some made from biomolecules.  Along the way I trained as a high school science teacher. 

In January 2013 I started at UWS in the roles of Lecturer and Manager of the Mass Spectrometry Facility.

In December 2015 I commenced in the role of Lecturer in the School of Medicine.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Harman.


  • PhD Australian National University
  • GDED University of Canberra
  • BSc University of New England

Professional Memberships

  • MRACI, CChem (2004)
  • ANZSMS (2004)


  • electrically conducting polymers
  • free radicals and reactive intermediates
  • mass spectrometry
  • nanotechnology
  • physical organic chemistry
  • synthesis

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Science
  • Research Services
  • Science


  • Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry
  • Laboratory User Group, School of Medicine
  • Emergency Warden, School of Medicine


Phone: (02) 4620 3212
Location: 30.2.34

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Current Teaching Areas

  • 300808 Introductory Chemistry
  • 300892 Medical Science Project
  • 300910 Advanced Science Project C

Previous Teaching Areas

  • 300892 Medical Science Project, 2015
  • 300910 Advanced Science Project C, 2015
  • 300910 Advanced Science Project C, 2017
  • 300910 Advanced Science Project C, 2019
  • 300924 Science Research Project, 2017
  • 300924 Science Research Project, 2019
  • 400861 Foundations of Medicine 1, 2017
  • 400861 Foundations of Medicine 1, 2018
  • 400861 Foundations of Medicine 1, 2019
  • 400862 Foundations of Medicine 2, 2018
  • 400862 Foundations of Medicine 2, 2019
  • 401172 Honours Project (Medicine), 2015
  • 401172 Honours Project (Medicine), 2016
  • 401172 Honours Project (Medicine), 2018
  • 800176 Internship and Community Engagement (PG), 2017


Journal Articles

  • Ang, D., Kelso, C., Beck, J., Ralph, S., Harman, D. and Aldrich-Wright, J. (2020), 'A study of Pt(II)-phenanthroline complex interactions with double-stranded and G-quadruplex DNA by ESI-MS, circular dichroism, and computational docking', Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, vol 25 , pp 429 - 440.
  • Dankers, C., Tadros, J., Harman, D., Aldrich-Wright, J., Nguyen, T. and Gordon, C. (2020), 'Immobilized carbodiimide assisted flow combinatorial protocol to facilitate amide coupling and lactamization', ACS Combinatorial Science, vol 22, no 5 , pp 255 - 267.
  • Zhang, Y., Harman, D., Avdeev, M. and Karatchevtseva, I. (2019), 'Cu(II) ion directed self-assembly of a Y8/Cu6 heterometallic coordination cage via an Y(III) metalloligand', Inorganica Chimica Acta, vol 484 , pp 521 - 526.
  • Dhananjayan, K., Irrgang, F., Raju, R., Harman, D., Moran, C., Srikanth, V. and Muench, G. (2019), 'Determination of glyoxal and methylglyoxal in serum by UHPLC coupled with fluoresecence detection', Analytical Biochemistry, vol 573 , pp 51 - 66.
  • Spare, L., Menti, M., Harman, D., Aldrich-Wright, J. and Gordon, C. (2019), 'A continuous flow protocol to generate, regenerate, load, and recycle chlorotrityl functionalised resins', Reaction Chemistry and Engineering, vol 4, no 7 , pp 1309 - 1317.
  • Tayebi, M., El-Hage, C., Pinczowski, P., Whiteley, P., David, M., Li, Q., Varghese, S., Mikhael, M., Habiba, U., Harman, D., Tatarczuch, L., Bogeski, M., Birchall, I., Ferguson, K., Walker, L., Masters, C. and Summers, B. (2019), 'Plant poisoning leads to alpha-synucleinopathy and neuromelanopathy in kangaroos', Scientific Reports, vol 9, no 1 .
  • Murphy, P., Kabir, M., Srivastava, T., Mason, M., Umala Dewi, C., Lim, S., Yang, A., Djordjevic, D., Killingsworth, M., Ho, J., Harman, D. and O'Connor, M. (2018), 'Light-focusing human micro-lenses generated from pluripotent stem cells model lens development and drug-induced cataract in vitro', Development (Cambridge), vol 145, no 1 .
  • Spare, L., Harman, D., Aldrich-Wright, J., Nguyen, T. and Gordon, C. (2018), 'Chemoselective flow hydrogenation approaches to diversify the cytotoxic tetrahydroepoxyisoindole carboxamide scaffold', Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis, vol 360, no 6 , pp 1209 - 1217.
  • Spare, L., Laude, V., Harman, D., Aldrich-Wright, J. and Gordon, C. (2018), 'An optimised approach for continuous-flow solid-phase peptide synthesis utilising a rudimentary flow reactor', Reaction Chemistry and Engineering, vol 3, no 6 , pp 875 - 882.
  • Spare, L., Falsetta, P., Gilbert, J., Harman, D., Baker, M., Li, F., McCluskey, A., Clegg, J., Sakoff, J., Aldrich-Wright, J. and Gordon, C. (2017), 'Cytotoxicity of a series of norcantharidin-inspired tetrahydroepoxyisoindole carboxamides', ChemMedChem, vol 12, no 2 , pp 130 - 145.
  • Perez Fernandez, V., Harman, D., Morley, J. and Cameron, M. (2017), 'Optimized method to quantify dopamine turnover in the mammalian retina', Analytical Chemistry, vol 89, no 22 , pp 12276 - 12283.
  • Li, L., Zhang, Y., Avdeev, M., Lindoy, L., Harman, D., Zheng, R., Cheng, Z., Aldrich-Wright, J. and Li, F. (2016), 'Self-assembly of a unique 3d/4f heterometallic square prismatic box-like coordination cage', Dalton Transactions, vol 45, no 23 , pp 9407 - 9411.
  • Harman, D., Gorkin, R., Stevens, L., Thompson, B., Wagner, K., Weng, B., Chung, J., in het Panhuis, M. and Wallace, G. (2015), 'Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):dextran sulfate (PEDOT:DS) : a highly processable conductive organic biopolymer', Acta Biomaterialia, vol 14, no 1 , pp 33 - 42.
  • Gunawardena, D., Karunaweera, N., Lee, S., van der Kooy, F., Harman, D., Raju, R., Bennett, L., Gyengesi, E., Sucher, N. and Muench, G. (2015), 'Anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon (C. zeylanicum and C. cassia) extracts - identification of e-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxy cinnamaldehyde as the most potent bioactive compounds', Food and Function, vol 6, no 3 , pp 910 - 919.
  • Fanna, D., Smith, A., Zhang, Y., Li, L., Shepherd, N., Harman, D. and Li, F. (2015), 'Synthesis and characterisation of two new tripodal metalloligands incorporating zinc(II)', Journal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry, vol 82, no 1-2 , pp 173 - 178.
  • Li, L., Saigo, N., Zhang, Y., Fanna, D., Shepherd, N., Clegg, J., Zheng, R., Hayami, S., Lindoy, L., Aldrich-Wright, J., Li, C., Reynolds, J., Harman, D. and Li, F. (2015), 'A large spin-crossover [Fe4L4]8+ tetrahedral cage', Journals of Materials Chemistry C, vol 3, no 30 , pp 7878 - 7882.
  • Yao, M., Xie, C., Kiang, M., Teng, Y., Harman, D., Tiffen, J., Wang, Q., Sved, P., Bao, S., Witting, P., Holst, J. and Dong, Q. (2015), 'Targeting of cytosolic phospholipase A2a impedes cell cycle re-entry of quiescent prostate cancer cells', Oncotarget, vol 6, no 33 , pp 34458 - 34474.
  • Trinh, T., Hizartzidis, L., Lin, A., Harman, D., McCluskey, A. and Gordon, C. (2014), 'An efficient continuous flow approach to furnish furan-based biaryls', Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, vol 12, no 47 , pp 9562 - 9571.
  • Wagner, M., O'Connell, C., Harman, D., Sullivan, R., Ivaska, A., Higgins, M. and Wallace, G. (2013), 'Synthesis and optimization of PEDOT:PSS based ink for printing nanoarrays using Dip-Pen Nanolithography', Synthetic Metals, vol 181 , pp 64 - 71.
  • Kirk, B., Harman, D., Kenttamaa, H., Trevitt, A. and Blanksby, S. (2012), 'Isolation and characterization of charge-tagged phenylperoxyl radicals in the gas phase : direct evidence for products and pathways in low temperature benzene oxidation', Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, vol 14, no 48 , pp 16719 - 16730.
  • Kirk, B., Harman, D. and Blanksby, S. (2010), 'Direct observation of the gas phase reaction of cyclohexyl radical with dioxygen using a distonic radical ion approach', Journal of Physical Chemistry A, vol 114, no 3 , pp 1446 - 1456.
  • Talib, J., Harman, D., Dillon, C., Aldrich-Wright, J., Beck, J. and Ralph, S. (2009), 'Does the metal influence non-covalent binding of complexes to DNA', Dalton Transactions, vol 38, no 3 , pp 504 - 513.
  • Thomas, M., Mitchell, T., Harman, D., Deeley, J., Nealon, J. and Blanksby, S. (2008), 'Ozone induced dissociation : elucidation of double bond position within mass-selected lipid ions', Analytical Chemistry, vol 80, no 1 , pp 303 - 311.
  • Harman, D. and Blanksby, S. (2007), 'Investigation of the gas phase reactivity of the 1-adamantyl radical using a distonic radical anion approach', Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, vol 5, no 21 , pp 3495 - 3503.
  • Thomas, M., Mitchell, T., Harman, D., Deeley, J., Murphy, R. and Blanksby, S. (2007), 'Elucidation of double bond position in unsaturated lipids by ozone electrospray ionization mass spectrometry', Analytical Chemistry, vol 79, no 13 , pp 5013 - 5022.
  • Harman, D. and Blanksby, S. (2006), 'Trapping of a tert-adamantyl peroxyl radical in the gas phase', Chemical Communications, , no 8 , pp 859 - 861.
  • Harman, D., Ramachandran, A., Gracanin, M. and Blanksby, S. (2006), 'The loss of carbon dioxide from activated perbenzoate anions in the gas phase : unimolecular rearrangement via epoxidation of the benzene ring', Journal of Organic Chemistry, vol 71, no 21 , pp 7996 - 8005.

Conference Papers

  • Fernando, M., O'Loughlin, A. and Harman, D. (2018), 'Development of an inexpensive and non-invasive mass spectrometry based diagnostic test for early stage atherosclerosis', ACT Mass Spectrometry Symposium, Australian National University.
  • Stevens, L., Harman, D., Gilmore, K., in het Panhius, M. and Wallace, G. (2015), 'A comparison of chemical and electrochemical synthesis of PEDOT : dextran sulphate for bio-applications', Materials Research Society. Fall Meeting, Boston, Mass..

My research is focussed in these areas:

Mass spectrometry

Anticancer drug mechanism of action

Medical diagnostics

Electrically conductive polymers

Free radicals

This information has been contributed by Doctor Harman.

Current Projects

Title: In vivo evaluation of 'Meriva' curcumin phospholipid as anti-inflammatory drug in a mouse model of chronic neuroinflammation
  • Indena
Western Researchers: Erika Gyengesi, David Harman and Gerald Muench
Years: 2016-03-31 - 2020-06-30
ID: P00023016


Doctor Harman is available to be a principal supervisor for doctoral projects

Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Use of functional genomics to define molecular mechanisms that contribute to human lens regeneration.
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Encapsulated Curcumin in Nanoparticles - Determination of Curcumin and its Metabolites in Mice with Brain Infammation
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Encapsulated curcumin in nanoparticles - determination of curcumin and its metabolites in mice with brain inflammation
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Isoniazid
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Treatment of neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease by anti-inflammatory compounds of Australian Native Plants from the tropical rainforest
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: The Effect of Permethrin Cream on Staphylococcal Infections and Studies on Methicillin Sensitive and Resistant Strains of Staphylococcus Aureus
Field of Research: Other Health

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: In vivo evaluation of ?Meriva? curcumin, and apigenin as anti-inflammatory drugs in a mouse model of chronic neuroinflammation
Field of Research: Medical Science; Other Natural And Physical Sciences

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