Carolyn DillonDr Carolyn Dillon

BSc(Hons) USyd (1990)
PhD USyd (1996)

Phone:         +61 2 42 21 4930
Office:            B18.129

  • Senior Lecturer

Research Interests
  • Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Synchrotron Microprobe
  • Electron Microscopy
  • Environmental Analytical Chemistry

Biomolecular and In Vitro Studies of Inorganic Complexes for Understanding and Optimizing Drug Efficacy

Dr Dillon possesses a PhD in bioinorganic chemistry and has subsequently worked in this area for over 15 years, encompassing projects such as chromium carcinogenesis, metal-containing anti-inflammatory drugs and potential metallocene anti-cancer drugs. Current research interests include the investigations of arsenic species for understanding the metabolic events that lead to arsenic-induced cancers, and the development of arsenic compounds as anti-cancer agents. This latter interest is based on the recent finding that arsenic trioxide is a potent anti-leukemia agent.
These projects involve the investigations of the biomolecular interactions of As through mass spectrometry and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS, performed in Tsukuba, Japan). The combination of X-ray microprobe elemental mapping (micro-XRF) and micro-XAS (performed at the Advanced Photon Source, Chicago) is currently being pursued to determine intracellular targets of arsenic compounds and the structural chemistry of the metabolic products formed. The information is being combined with microscopic investigations of morphological changes (transmission electron microscopy and confocal microscopy), as well as intracellular responses (through cell culture assays such as the MTT and micronucleus assays) to elucidate information concerning As metabolism. This knowledge will be exploited to create new, highly efficacious As anti-cancer drugs.

Representative Publications

Searchable RIS publications from 2000 to date

  • Hard X-ray microprobe studies of chromium(VI)-treated V79 Chinese hamster lung cells: intracellular mapping of the biotransformation products of a chromium carcinogen. Dillon, C. T.; Lay, P. A.; Kennedy, B. J.; Stampfl, A. P. J.; Cai, Z.; Ilinski, P.; Rodrigues, W.; Legnini, D. G., Lai, B. and Maser, J. J. Biol. Inorg. Chem. 2002, 7, 640-645.
  • Gastrointestinal damage, anti-inflammatory activity and superoxide dismutase activity of copper and zinc complexes of the anti-inflammatory drug, indomethacin. Dillon, C. T.; Hambley, T. W.; Kennedy, B. J.; Lay, P. A.; Zhou, Q.; Davies, N. M.; Biffin, J. R. and Regtop, H. L. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2003, 16, 28-37.
  • Levina, A.; Codd, R.; Dillon, C. T.; Lay, P. A. Chromium in biology: nutritional aspects and toxicology. Prog. Inorg. Chem. , 2003, 51, Chapter 2, 145-250.
  • Hall, M. D.; Dillon, C. T.; Zhang, M.; Beale, P.; Cai, Z.; Lai, B.; Stampfl, A. P. J.; Hambley, T. W. The Cellular Distribution and Oxidation State of Platinum(II) and Platinum(IV) Antitumour Complexes in Cancer Cells. J. Biol. Inorg. Chem. , 2003, 8, 726-732.
  • Dillon, C. T.; Hambley, T. W.; Kennedy, B. J.; Lay, P. A.; Weder, J. E.; Zhou, Q. 2004. Copper and zinc complexes as anti-inflammatory drugs., in Metals in Biological Systems, Volume 41, Chapter 8. Metal ions and their complexes in medication. Sigel, A and Sigel, H. (eds).
  • Waern, J.B.; Dillon, C.T.; Harding, M. M. Organometallic anticancer agents: cellular uptake and cytotoxicity studies on thiol derivatives of the antitumour agent molybdocene dichloride. J Med Chem. 2005, 48, 2093-2099.

Current Students


  • Kristie Munro  Assessment of the Tubulin-Targeting Ability of Arsenic Compounds for Developing Arsenic Anti-Leukemia Drugs.
  • Sponsored by Ian and Jean Simpson and the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund.

Suggested Topics for Future Students

  • Investigations of Arsenic Metabolism for Understanding As-Induced Carcinogenicity.
  • Designing potential As anti-leukemia drugs.

Abbreviated CV

Academic Qualifications

  • BSc(Hons) USyd (1990)
  • PhD USyd (1996)

Professional Experience

  • Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, University of Wollongong, 2005-present.
  • Lecturer, Joint School of Chemistry/Electron Microscope Unit, University of Sydney, 2002-2004.
  • Senior Research Associate, School of Chemistry, University of Sydney, 1998-2002.
  • NHMRC Research Associate, School of Chemistry, University of Sydney, 1995-1998.


  • Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1990-present).
  • International Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry.
  • Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Society.
Last reviewed: 22 September, 2017