Alison Rodger

Alison was born in Scotland and has lived in England, New Zealand, and Australia. Her BSc, PhD and DSc are from Sydney University. She was a research fellow at Cambridge (1985) and Oxford (1988).

Alison moved to the University of Warwick in 1994 where she has remained since. Her research has focused on determining structural information about flow-orientable biomacromolecules using polarised light spectroscopies.

As well as being fascinated by biomacromolecular structure she is committed to training early stage scientists and to supporting women in developing their scientific careers.


Professor, Chemistry, University of Warwick / Head of Department of Chemistry


  • 2013  DSc, University of Warwick
  • 2003  DSc, University of Sydney
  • 1988  MA, University of Oxford
  • 1986  PhD, University of Sydney
  • 1985  Diploma in Biblical studies, Moore College, Sydney
  • 1982  BSc (Hons) (Chemistry and Mathematics), University of Sydney, Honours I and University Medal for Theoretical Chemistry


  • 2014 f     Head of Chemistry
  • 2013f      Director Molecular Analytical Science Centre for Doctoral Training
  • 2005ff     Professor of Biophysical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, U. of Warwick
  • 2003ff     Director of Molecular Organisation and Assembly in Cells (MOAC) Doctoral Training Centre, University of Warwick 
  • 2008–2013     Eminent visitor, University of Western Sydney
  • 2008,9     BNL Guest Appointment with the Synchrotron Light Source 2007−201
  • 2005, 2007     Visiting Professor, Stanford University, USA
  • 2003−2005     Reader, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick
  • 1998−2003     Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick
  • 1996     Visiting Professor, Stanford University, USA
  • 1994–1998     Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick
  • 1994     Visiting Professor, Stanford University, USA
  • 1991–1994     Glasstone Fellow, University of Oxford and Inorganic Chemistry Fellow of St. Hilda's College 
  • 1992     Visiting Professor, Stanford University, USA
  • 1988–1991     Unilever Fellow, St. Catherine's College, Oxford
  • 1985–1988     Beatrice Dale Research Fellow, Newnham College, Cambridge
  • 1985–1988     Overseas Scholar of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851


  • Fellow Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1999)
  • Fellow Royal Society of Chemistry (2000)

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Solution phase biomacromolecule structure and function

  1. Development of spectroscopic techniques, particularly linear and circular dichroism, for study of biomacromolecules.
  2. Structural aspects of DNA and RNA behaviour in solution. 
  3. Structure and function of protein systems, particularly fibrous proteins and membrane proteins.
  4. Structure and function of DNA / ligand and DNA / protein complexes.
  5. Biophysics of bacterial cell division.


9 books, 13 refereed chapters, 4 theses, over 185 refereed journal articles, 5 patents. WoS H-index 38.

Research Supervision SUMMARY

Current: 9 PhD students, 2 PDRA

Number of successful research PhD students: 37

External examiner (SINCE 2008)

  • 2012 DSc: Imperial College
  • 2008–2013 PhD: Massey, Melbourne, Dublin, Portsmouth, Reading, Durham, Birkbeck, Liverpool, Western Sydney
  • 2009–2012 Birmingham MSc in Physical Sciences of Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences
  • 2010–2012 Bath BSc in Natural Sciences and MSci in Natural Sciences
  • 2007−2010 University of Birmingham MRes Molecular Cell Biology
  • Selected activities (since 2008)
  • WE-Heraeus-Seminar on SRCD Spectroscopy (May 2015)
  • COAST conference, Amsterdam, keynote speaker (January 2015)
  • Member Heads of Chemistry UK (2014–2017)
  • Keynote speaker Joliot-Curie conference, Edinburgh (2014)
  • Chair, RSC Athena Swan Chemistry Good Practice Meeting (2014)
  • Diversity in Science House of Commons lunch (2014)
  • EPSRC – Physical Sciences Leaders workshop (2014)
  • Royal Society Diversity Project, academic lead (2014ff)
  • Keynote speaker at Excellence in European Doctoral Education: Innovation and Enhancement Conference, Edinburgh (November 2013)
  • Gender in academia: Heads of Psychology UK
  • Informatics based Approaches for Circular Dichroism Data workshop, Strasbourg (September 2014)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, Council (2013–2016)
  • Panel Chair (deputizing for PVC) for Associate Professor posts
  • Warwick University Research Ethics Committee (2012f)
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Chirality (2011ff)
  • Athena Swan: University Steering Group member and Chair of University Network (2010f)
  • Athena SWAN review panels, incl. chair (2012f)
  • UK/EU Circular Dichroism Summer School/winter Workshop (originator and convener annually since 2001)
  • Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships Selection Panel (2011–2013)
  • Expert assessor of international standing, Australian Research Council (2010ff)
  • Reviewer Division for Chemical Sciences of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (2009)
  • Peer Review Interview Panel—HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions Cycle 5 (2009)
  • The National University of Ireland, Maynooth Chemical Biology review (2008)


  • Facilitator at Vitae Centre for Doctoral Training Event (March 2012)
  • MoleClues, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2010, 2012)
  • Advancing in Academia for postdoctoral researchers and early career researchers, Vitae (2011)
  • CD2011 Oxford
  • QAA Scotland and UK Council for Graduate Education 'Researcher Skills and Career Development: Issues for Scottish Institutions' (2011)
  • BioTools Inc. Florida (2011)
  • UK CD Conference, Warwick (2010)
  • CD2009 lecture and session chair (2009)
  • University of Western Sydney lecture series (2009)
  • Brookhaven Circular Dichroism Summer School (2008)

Industrial involvement

  • Director, Dioptica Scientific Ltd
  • Consultant, SGS M-Scan Ltd
  • Consultant, Neutech Pharma


  • Career total research and PhD student funding: £24.3M
  • Current funding: £9.1M including EPSRC MOAC Doctoral Training Centre and Marie Curie ITN

Publications (SELECTED RECENT)

  • Serpell, L.; Morris, K.; Chen, L.; Rodger, A.; Adams, D. "Structural determinants in a library of low molecular weight gelator" Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 1174–1181. 10.1039/c4sm02532f
  • Mames, I.; Rodger, A.; Kowalski, J. "Tetraaza[14]macrocyclic Transition Metal Complexes as Intercalators" European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2015, 630–63910.1002/ejic.201403042
  • Razmkhah, K.; Little, H.; Sandhu, S.; Dafforn, T.R.; Rodger, A. "Optical properties of xanthene based fluorescent dyes studied by stretched-film linear dichroism"

    RSC Advances., 2014, 4, 37510–37515

  • Hall, V.; Nash, A.; Rodger, A. "SSNN, a method for neural network protein secondary structure fitting using circular dichroism data", Analytical Methods, 2014, 6, 6721-672610. DOI: 1039/c3ay41831f
  • Hall, V.; Sklepari, M.; Rodger, A. "Protein Secondary Structure Prediction from Circular Dichroism Spectra Using a Self-organising Map with Concentration Correction", Chirality, 2014, 26, 471-482. DOI: 10.1002/chir.22338
  • Razmkhah, K.; Chmel, N.P; Gibson, M.I.; Rodger, A. "Oxidized polyethylene films for orienting polar molecules for linear dichroism spectroscopy", Analyst, 2014, 139, 1372–1382. DOI: 10.1039/c3an02322b
  • Brabec, V; Howson, S.E.; Kaner, R.A.; Lord, R.M.; Malina, J.; Phillips, R.M.; Abdallah, Q.M.A; McGowan, P.C.; Rodger, A.; Scott, P. "Metallohelices with activity against cisplatin-resistant cancer cells: does the mechanism involve DNA binding?" Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 4407–4016. DOI: 10.1039/c3sc51731d
  • 12. Bromley, E.H.C; Channon, K.J.; King, K.J.S.; Mahmoud, Z.N.; Banwell, E.F.; Butler, M.F.; Crump, M.P.; Dafforn, T.R.; Hicks, M.R.; Hirst, J.D.; Rodger, A. and Woolfson, D.N. "Assembly pathway of a designed α-helical protein fiber" Biophysical Journal, 2010, 98, 1668-1676
  • 13. Chen, L.; Morris, K.; Laybourn, A.; Elias, D.; Hicks, M.R.; Rodger, A.; Serpell, L.; Adams, D. "The self-assembly mechanism for a naphthalene-dipeptide leading to hydrogelation" Langmuir, 2010, 26, 5232–5242



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