Prof. Frances Separovic

Frances Separovic is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, and former Head of School and Deputy Director of the Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne. Frances was a Visiting Professor at Harvard Medical School, Honorary Fellow of Birkbeck College UCL, and a Senior Member of St Hugh’s College, Oxford. She has a BA (Hons) in Math & Physics from Macquarie University and a PhD (Physics) from University of NSW. Her tertiary training in biology, mathematics and physics provided a strong foundation for research in biophysical chemistry and NMR spectroscopy.

Her research has focussed on the determination of the structure & dynamics of membrane components in situ using solid-state NMR spectroscopy. Frances is very active in the area of membrane biophysics and structural biology and played a key role in determining the molecular structure of the antibiotic gramicidin A and the bee toxin melittin within phospholipid membranes. Using novel solid-state NMR methods Frances has determined the structure & dynamics of membrane polypeptides for biomolecular engineering applications.

Frances is Foreign Secretary of the Australian Academy of Science, Past President of the Biophysical Society, former President of Australian & New Zealand Society for Magnetic Resonance (ANZMAG) and the Australian Society for Biophysics (ASB); a committee member of International Society for Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR); and former treasurer of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and the Lorne Protein Conference.

Frances has organized over 50 major national & international conferences and published over 250 peer reviewed papers. Her contributions to biophysics and NMR have been recognized by award of the 2009 ASB Robertson Medal and 2011 ANZMAG Medal. In 2012 she was elected a Fellow of the Biophysical Society, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA) and an ISMAR Fellow; in 2017 Frances was named an IUPAC Distinguished Woman of Chemistry/Chemical Engineering and in 2018 inducted in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women; and appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2019.

School of Chemistry Academic Staff list. Contact fs @

Separovic Career Profile and LinkedIn

Media links and Twitter

Rosalba Kampman Distinguished Service Award, BPS Bulletin 2024 Society Awards, Oct 2023

The Protein Society newsletter, Under the Microscope Member Spotlight, Nov 2022

Womanthology interview Diversity drives science forward!, Feb 2022

Biophysical Society newsletter, BPS Bulletin Biophysicist in Profile, Feb 2021

New book, ‘Solid-State NMR: Applications in Biomembrane Structure’, Dec 2020

Scientists Without Labels profile, August 2020

Metro Tunnel VIC art work Parkville Storytelling Project, Feb 2020

IUPAC Global Women’s Breakfast 2020 video interview

STEMinists in Antarctica Barrier Daily Truth OpEd, Feb 2020

Frances receives RACI Margaret Sheil Leadership Award

Hello Bio career interview with Frances

Australian Academy of Science career video on Frances

Frances, President-elect of Biophysical Society, BPS election results

Interview on STEM Women database, SBS News link and video

Deputy-director reflects on IUPAC & IYPT Bio21 Digest, Aug 2019

‘When an artist looks at a chemical element, what do they see?’, The Conversation, Jul 2019

Deputy-director on Diversity & Inclusion Bio21 2018 Annual Report

‘Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)’, Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019 and BDT article

‘Alumnae off to Antarctica with women leadership program’, UNSW Newsroom article

‘Peptide antibiotics from frog skin’, ABC Illawarra Drivetime chat, Mar 2019

‘Don’t ask women leaders to act like men’ International Women’s Day 2019, interview

The Year That Made Me: Frances Separovic 1996, ABC Radio National interview, October 2018

The Advocate NTEU interview, Jul 2018

Barrier Daily Truth Broken Hill interview, May 2018

Eavesdrop on Experts podcast: ‘Smashing through science’s glass ceiling’

Women in STEMM Australia STEMM Profile

Induction as a Trailblazer for Women in Science into Victorian Honour Roll of Women; see stories of 2018 Awardees and group photo. Read the ‘Pursuit‘ article

International Women’s Day 2018 Award

Deputy-director on Women of Bio21 Bio21 2017 Annual Report

Frances featured as University of Melbourne scientist on Croatian TV (HTV1)

Women leaders, President of Croatia visits Bio21, Aug 2017

2017 UNSW Alumni Science & Technology Award UNSW celebrates its star graduates

Distinguished Women in Chemistry IUPAC 2017 Award

ANZMAGazine interview, Dec 2016

Celebrating arrival of DNP-NMR

Address at Gender Equity forum

Frances reflects on Head of School interview

Get to know Frances Separovic, new BPS Secretary

New NMR installed: Everyday quantum mechanics & the study of cell membranes

Frances elected Secretary of Biophysical Society

Voice interview, The chemistry of curiosity, May 2014

New book, ‘Advances in Biological Solid-State NMR: Proteins & Membrane-Active Peptides’

Up Close episode 272, interview: Pore me another: Understanding how toxins target & overcome membranes, Oct 2013

Maths of Planet Earth interview See article, May 2013

Frances elected 2012 ISMAR Fellow

Bluestocking Interview in ‘The Advocate‘, Nov 2012

Frances elected to Australian Academy of Science  UniNews ARC news

Frogs thwart superbugs in the news: SMH, ABC, UniMelb, The Age

Frances Fellow of Biophysical Society See press release

Celebrating our women in science interview – 2011 ANZMAG Medal 

Chemistry in Australia interview: 2009 Robertson Medal

Profiled in Biophysical Society Newsletter, Apr 2009

Interview in ‘Croatian Herald‘, 29 Jan 2007

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