Alex Bissember

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Alex Bissember


Room 433, Chemistry Building, Sandy Bay Campus

03 6226 2158 (phone)

Alex Bissember is a Chemistry Lecturer in the School of Physical Sciences at the University of Tasmania.  As an organic chemist, his research interests include the development of new transition metal-catalyzed reactions, complex molecule synthesis, natural products, and heterocyclic chemistry.


Alex received his BSc (Hons) from Australian National University in 2005, and completed his PhD with Professor Martin Banwell at the Australian National University in 2010. He was awarded the 2009 American Australian Association Merck Company Foundation Fellowship to support postdoctoral research with Professor Gregory Fu at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology. Alex was appointed as a Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Tasmania in July 2013.

Career summary


DegreeThesis Title University Country Date of Award
PhDNew Methods for the Synthesis of Heterocyclic CompoundsAustralian National UniversityAustralia22/10/2010
BSc (1st Class Hons)A New Approach to Annulated Isoquinolines Utilizing the Palladium-Catalyzed Ullmann Cross-Coupling ReactionAustralian National University Australia15/12/2005
BSc Australian National UniversityAustralia16/12/2004


Professional practice

  • Royal Australian Chemical Society
  • American Chemical Society


Organic Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry, Catalysis

Teaching responsibility

  • KRA114 Chemistry 1B
  • KRA224 Chemistry 2A Organic and Bioinorganic Chemistry 
  • KRA341 Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry

Research Appointments

  •  2015 Visiting Associate, California Institute of Technology

View more on Dr Alex Bissember in WARP


  • Organic Chemistry
  • Organometallic Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Heterocyclic Chemistry
  • Natural Product Chemistry

Research Themes

Alex's research interests are in the area of organic synthesis. His studies utilize diverse molecular targets as the inspiration and driving force for the development of novel reactions and significant synthetic methodology. He seeks to employ new and relatively simple strategies to rapidly construct complex and distinct molecular architecture. A particular focus of his research program is to employ transition metal-based catalysts to establish new bond-forming processes that enable a variety of fundamental heterocyclic scaffolds to be generated.


  • 2015 PhosAgro/UNESCO/IUPAC Green Chemistry for Life Grant
  • 2013 University of Tasmania Faculty of Science Engineering & Technology Early Career Researcher Award
  • 2009 American Australian Association Merck Company Foundation Fellowship

Fields of Research

  • Organic Chemical Synthesis (030503)
  • Natural Products Chemistry (030502)
  • Transition Metal Chemistry (030207)
  • Synthesis of Materials (030306)
  • Biologically Active Molecules (030401)
  • Polymerisation Mechanisms (030305)
  • Organometallic Chemistry (039904)
  • Physical Chemistry of Materials (030304)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding Knowledge in the Chemical Sciences (970103)
  • Environmentally Sustainable Manufacturing (869899)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences (970106)


Total publications


Journal Article

(23 outputs)
2017Deans BJ, Just J, Chhetri J, Burt LK, Smith JN, et al., 'Pressurized hot water extraction as a viable bioprospecting tool: isolation of coumarin natural products from previously unexamined Correa (Rutaceae) species', ChemistrySelect, 2, (8) pp. 2439-2443. ISSN 2365-6549 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/slct.201602006 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Deans BJ; Just J; Chhetri J; Kilah NL; Guven N; Smith JA


2016Howard JK, Rihak KJ, Bissember AC, Smith JA, 'The oxidation of pyrrole', Chemistry - An Asian Journal, 11, (2) pp. 155-167. ISSN 1861-4728 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/asia.201500659 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Howard JK; Rihak KJ; Smith JA


2016Howard JK, Rihak KJ, Hyland CJT, Bissember AC, Smith JA, 'Visible light dye-photosensitised oxidation of pyrroles using a simple LED photoreactor', Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 14, (37) pp. 8873-8880. ISSN 1477-0520 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1039/c6ob01719c [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Howard JK; Rihak KJ; Hyland CJT; Smith JA


2016Just J, Bunton GL, Deans BJ, Murray NL, Bissember AC, et al., 'Extraction of Eugenol from Cloves Using an Unmodified Household Espresso Machine: An Alternative to Traditional Steam-Distillation', Journal of Chemical Education, 93, (1) pp. 213-216. ISSN 0021-9584 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00476 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Just J; Bunton GL; Deans BJ; Smith JA


2016Nicholls TP, Constable GE, Robertson JC, Gardiner MG, Bissember AC, 'Brønsted acid cocatalysis in copper(I)-photocatalyzed α-amino C−H bond functionalization', ACS Catalysis, 6, (1) pp. 451-457. ISSN 2155-5435 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.5b02014 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 20Web of Science - 21

Co-authors: Nicholls TP; Constable GE; Robertson JC; Gardiner MG


2016Nicholls TP, Leonori D, Bissember AC, 'Applications of visible light photoredox catalysis to the synthesis of natural products and related compounds', Natural Product Reports, 33, (11) pp. 1248-1254. ISSN 0265-0568 (2016) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

DOI: 10.1039/c6np00070c [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 10

Co-authors: Nicholls TP


2016Olivier WJ, Kilah NL, Horne J, Bissember AC, Smith JA, 'ent-Labdane Diterpenoids from Dodonaea viscosa', Journal of Natural Products, 79, (12) pp. 3117-3126. ISSN 0163-3864 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.6b00858 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Olivier WJ; Kilah NL; Horne J; Smith JA


2016Deans BJ, Bissember AC, Smith JA, 'Practical Isolation of Asperuloside from Coprosma quadrifida via Rapid Pressurised Hot Water Extraction', Australian Journal of Chemistry, 69, (11) pp. 1219-1222. ISSN 0004-9425 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/CH15743 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Deans BJ; Smith JA


2015Abel S-AG, Olivier WJ, Pederson RL, Bissember AC, Smith JA, 'Complete stereocontrol in the synthesis of harmonine and novel analogues facilitated by a Grubbs Z-selective cross-metathesis catalysis', Australian Journal of Chemistry, 68, (12) pp. 1815-1820. ISSN 0004-9425 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/CH15397 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Abel S-AG; Olivier WJ; Smith JA


2015Just J, Deans BJ, Olivier WJ, Paull B, Bissember AC, et al., 'New method for the rapid extraction of natural products: efficient isolation of shikimic acid from star anise', Organic Letters, 17, (10) pp. 2428-2430. ISSN 1523-7060 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.5b00936 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 12

Co-authors: Just J; Deans BJ; Olivier WJ; Paull B; Smith JA


2015Just J, Jordan TB, Paull B, Bissember AC, Smith JA, 'Practical isolation of polygodial from Tasmannia lanceolata: a viable scaffold for synthesis', Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 13, (46) pp. 11200-11207. ISSN 1477-0520 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1039/c5ob01573a [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7

Co-authors: Just J; Jordan TB; Paull B; Smith JA


2015Nicholls TP, Henderson LC, Bissember AC, 'Brønsted acid-mediated radical processes in organic synthesis', Australian Journal of Chemistry, 68, (12) pp. 1791-1795. ISSN 0004-9425 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/CH15389 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Nicholls TP


2014Do H-Q, Bachman S, Bissember AC, Peters JC, Fu GC, 'Photoinduced, copper-catalyzed alkylation of amides with unactivated secondary alkyl halides at room temperature', Journal of the American Chemical Society, 136, (5) pp. 2162-2167. ISSN 0002-7863 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/ja4126609 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 47Web of Science - 48


2013Bissember AC, Lundgren RJ, Creutz SE, Peters JC, Fu GC, 'Transition-metal-catalyzed alkylations of amines with alkyl halides: Photoinduced, copper-catalyzed couplings of carbazoles', Angewandte Chemie: International Edition, 52, (19) pp. 5129-5133. ISSN 1433-7851 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/anie.201301202 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 58Web of Science - 59


2013Ziegler DT, Choi J, Munoz-Molina JM, Bissember AC, Peters JC, et al., 'A versatile approach to Ullmann C-N couplings at room temperature: New families of nucleophiles and electrophiles for photoinduced, copper-catalyzed processes', Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135, (35) pp. 13107-13112. ISSN 0002-7863 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/ja4060806 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 68Web of Science - 65


2013Bissember AC, 'Methyl cyanoformate (Mander's reagent)', Synlett, 2009, (4) pp. 681-682. ISSN 0936-5214 (2013) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1087716 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1


2012Bissember AC, Levina A, Fu GC, 'A mild, palladium-catalyzed method for the dehydrohalogenation of alkyl bromides: Synthetic and mechanistic studies', Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134, (34) pp. 14232-14237. ISSN 0002-7863 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/ja306323x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 45Web of Science - 41


2011Lange J, Bissember AC, Banwell MG, Cade IA, 'Synthesis of 2,3-dihydro-4(1H)-quinolones and the corresponding 4(1H)-quinolones via low-temperature fries rearrangement of N-arylazetidin-2-ones', Australian Journal of Chemistry, 64, (4) pp. 454-470. ISSN 0004-9425 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/CH10465 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 10


2009Bissember AC, Banwell MG, 'Preparation of some angularly substituted and highly functionalized quinolizidines as building blocks for the synthesis of various alkaloids and related scaffolds of medicinal interest', Tetrahedron, 65, (39) pp. 8222-8230. ISSN 0040-4020 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2009.07.067 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3


2009Bissember AC, Banwell MG, 'Microwave-assisted trans-halogenation reactions of various chloro-, bromo-, trifluoromethanesulfonyloxy- and nonafluorobutanesulfonyloxy-substituted quinolines, isoquinolines, and pyridines leading to the corresponding iodinated heterocycles', The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 74, (13) pp. 4893-4895. ISSN 0022-3263 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/jo9008386 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 16Web of Science - 16


2009Menon RS, Findlay AD, Bissember AC, Banwell MG, 'The Au(I)-catalyzed intramolecular hydroarylation of terminal alkynes under mild conditions: Application to the synthesis of 2H-chromenes, coumarins, benzofurans, and dihydroquinolines', The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 74, (13) pp. 8901-8903. ISSN 0022-3263 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/jo902032p [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 114Web of Science - 107


2008Bissember AC, Banwell MG, '4-iodo-6-methoxyquinoline', Organic Preparations and Procedures International, 40, (6) pp. 557-589. ISSN 0030-4948 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/00304940809458120 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1


2007Bissember AC, Phillis AT, Banwell MG, Willis AC, 'Base-promoted reactions of dichlorocarbene adducts of cyclic enamines: A new route to annulated pyrroles', Organic Letters, 9, (26) pp. 5421-5424. ISSN 1523-7060 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1021/ol7021774 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 9


Chapter in Book

(4 outputs)
2017Meyer AG, Bissember AC, Hyland C, Smith JA, Williams CC, et al., 'Seven-Membered Rings', Progress in Heterocyclic Chemistry, Elsevier Ltd., GW Gribble, JA Joule (ed), Netherlands, pp. 579-633. ISBN 9780081023105 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-102310-5.00016-3 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Smith JA; Abel SAG


2016Meyer AG, Smith JA, Hyland C, Williams CC, Bissember AC, et al., 'Seven-Membered Rings', Progress in Heterocyclic Chemistry, Elsevier, GW Gribble & JA Joule (ed), Amsterdam, Netherlands, pp. 579-622. ISBN 9780081007556 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-100755-6.00016-8 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Smith JA; Nicholls TP


2015Ryan JH, Smith JA, Hyland C, Meyer AG, Williams CC, et al., 'Seven-Membered Rings', Progress in Heterocyclic Chemistry, Elsevier, GW Gribble, JA Joule (ed), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 531-573. ISBN 978-0-08-100024-3 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-100024-3.00016-7 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Smith JA; Just J


2014Ryan JH, Smith JA, Hyland C, Meyer AG, Williams CC, et al., 'Seven-Membered Rings', Progress in Heterocyclic Chemistry, Elsevier, GW Gribble, JA Joule (ed), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 521-571. ISBN 978-0-08-100017-5 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-08-100017-5.00016-9 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2

Co-authors: Smith JA; Just J


Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
2017Bissember A, 'Green chemistry is key to reducing waste and improving sustainablity', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group Ltd, Australia, 27 March (2017) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Extraction and analysis of Plant Material (2016)$3,000
Extraction of plant root and analysis of compounds. Root to be extracted using pressurised hot water extraction and the major components purified by flash chromatography and characterised.
ZoeticDevelopment Group Pty Ltd ($3,000)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Smith JA; Bissember AC
Synthesis of Opiate Derivatives (2015)$20,000
Tasmanian Alkaloids Pty Ltd ($20,000)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Smith JA; Bissember AC
Development of new viable and inexpensive visible light copper photocatalysts (2015)$31,433
This project is concerned with the preparation of a range of copper-based visible light photocatalysts coupled with an investigation of their application in organic synthesis. The immediate aims are to demonstrate that these complexes represent viable alternatives to established metal-based photocatalysts that rely on the reactivity of expensive and toxic third-row transition metals.
United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization ($31,433)
Grant-Green Chemistry for Young Scientists
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Bissember AC
Development of novel transition metal-catalyzed processes: Cascade and photochemical reactions (2014)$14,500
University of Tasmania ($14,500)
Grant-Research Enhancement (REGS)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Bissember AC

Research Supervision






PhDSynthesis of New Derivatives Targeting Mitochondrial Dysfunction2013
PhDApplications of the Controlled Oxidation of Pyrroles2014
PhDChemical survey of Tasmanian land plants by Hot Pressurised Water Extraction (HPWE) targeting new molecular scaffolds for chemical modification for medicinal chemistry applications2014
PhDNovel Structural Motifs for Improved Catalytic Performance Featuring N-Heterocyclic Carbenes2014
PhDSynthesis of Plant Hormones2015
PhDTransition Metal NHC Complexes and Their Catalytic Applications2015
PhDDesign, Synthesis, and Study of the Physical Properties of A Range of Novel Copper and Gold Complexes and Evaluation of Their Potential Use As Photoredox Catalysts in New Reaction Development2015
PhDThe Extraction of Native Australian and Endemic Tasmanian Plants using a Pressurised Hot Water Extraction (PHWE) method: Screening for chemical scaffolds for synthesis and wider applications2015
PhDSynthesis of WEB2086 Derivatives for the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases resulting from Respiratory Pathogens2016
PhDDevelopment of New Stereoselective Transition Metal-catalysed Reactions2017
PhDEfficient Synthesis of Complex Molecules2017


PhDNew Methods for the Synthesis of Nitrogen Containing, Biologically Relevant Small Molecules
Candidate: James Kenneth Howard