Professor Gary Schenk


School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Faculty of Science


Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
+61 7 336 54144


I obtained a Diploma in Chemistryfrom theUniversity of Bernin Switzerland in 1992. Upon receiving the award of an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) I joined The University of Queensland (UQ) in 1993 to carry out research towards a PhD in Biochemistry(supervisors: Assoc. Profs. Peter Nixon and Ron Duggleby). I graduated in 1997 and continued postdoctoral research at UQ under the guidance of Profs John de Jersey, Susan Hamilton and Graeme Hanson. During this period, I was awarded Fellowships from both the Wellcome Trust and UQ. In 2000 I spent several months in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, collaborating with Prof. Geoff Sykes, and later that year I commenced a Senior Postdoctoral Fellowshipin the Chemistry Department at Stanford University(advisor: Prof. Edward Solomon). In 2003 I was appointed to a Lectureship in (Bio)Physical Chemistry at UQ. In 2006 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer. Following the award of a UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award (in 2007) I was promoted to Associate Professor(in 2008), and between 2011 and 2013 I was also on a fractional professorial appointment (50%) at Maynooth University, Ireland. From 2013 to 2017 I held a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council, and during this period I was promoted to Full Professor at UQ (2015). I also hold affiliate professorships in the Sustainable Minerals Institute and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, both located at UQ.

I have successfully focused my research on the investigation of enzyme-catalysed reactions, their optimisation for applications in biotechnology and the synthesis of small molecules that mimic their structure and catalytic function (i.e. biomimetics). I advanced understanding of the contribution of metals to enzyme-catalysed reactions and employed state-of-the-art technologies (e.g. cryo-EM, ancestral gene reconstruction) to develop enzyme inhibitors as leads for novel biocides (herbicides, fungicides, antibacterial compounds) and engineer enzymes with enhanced catalytic properties for industrial applications in the advanced manufacturing sector (i.e. cell-free enzyme cascades, next-gen fertilisers). My seminal work into enzyme mechanisms, regulation and engineering received international acclaim evidenced by invitations to provide plenary and keynote lectures and review articles in prestigious journals. I have published over 230 peer-reviewed articles, including nearly 40 papers in the ACS staple (J. Am. Chem. Soc, ACS Catalysis, ACS Sus. Chem. Eng., Inorg. Chem, Chem. Rev., Acc. Chem. Rev.) as well as landmark studies in Nature, Nature Catalysis, Nature Communications and Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA). For my leadership in enzymology I was awarded a Future Fellowship by the Australian Research Council, a Foundation Research Excellence Award by UQ and, most recently, the prestigious role as Ambassador for the Technical University of Munich (TUM), an honour bestowed upon me also for my leading role in building an extensive network of collaborations between UQ and TUM in the areas of bioengineering and bioeconomy. The network has since evolved into the Global Bioeconomy Alliance.

Research Interests

  • Application of enzyme-driven processes in the bioeconomy
    I am interested in discovering and engineering enzymes for applications in biomanufacturing and bioremediation


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


View all Supervision



  • Parac-Vogt, Tatjana N., Erxleben, Andrea, Schenk, Gerhard and Prabhakar, Rajeev eds. (2019). Advances in the Development of Artificial Metalloenzymes. Frontiers Research Topics, Lausanne, Switzerland: Frontiers Research Foundation. doi: 10.3389/978-2-88963-153-7

Book Chapter

  • Mitić, Nataša, Miraula, Manfredi, Selleck, Christopher, Hadler, Kieran S., Uribe, Elena, Pedroso, M. M. and Schenk, G. (2014). Catalytic mechanisms of metallohydrolases containing two metal ions. Metal-containing enzymes. (pp. 49-81) edited by Christo Z. Christov. Waltham, MA, United States: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/bs.apcsb.2014.07.002

  • Smith, Sarah J., Hadler, Kieran S., Schenk, Gerhard, Hanson, Graeme R. and Mitic, Nataša (2010). Manganese Metalloproteins. Metals in Biology: Applications of High-Resolution EPR to Metalloenzymes. (pp. 273-341) edited by Graeme Hanson and Lawrence Berliner. New York, USA: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1139-1_9

  • Mitić, Nataša, Schenk, Gerhard and Hanson, Graeme R. (2009). Binuclear non-heme iron enzymes. High resolution EPR: applications to metalloenzymes and metals in medicine. (pp. 269-395) edited by Graeme Hanson and Lawrence Berliner. New York, NY, United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-84856-3_7

  • Solomon, E. I., Neidig, M. L. and Schenk, G. (2004). Magnetic circular dichroism of paramagnetic species. Comprehensive coordination chemistry II: From biology to nanotechnology. (pp. 339-349) edited by J. A. McCleverty and T. J.Meyer. Oxford, U.K.: Elsevier/Pergamon. doi: 10.1016/B0-08-043748-6/01216-0

  • Candy, Judith, Nixon, Peter, England, Renee, Schenk, Gerhard, Koga, J. and Duggleby, Ronald (1996). Site-directed mutagenesis of E50, F496 and H113 in Zymomonas mobilis decarboxylase. Biochemistry and physiology of thiamin diphosphate enzymes . (pp. 82-102) Prien, Germany: A. and C. Intemann, Wissenschaftlicher .

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision