Associate Investigators

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Professor Patricia Hunt

Professor Patricia Hunt

Associate Investigator

Towards Zero Carbon - Catalytic Architectures

Victoria University of Wellington
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Laby Building, Kelburn Parade
PO Box 600,
Wellington 6140
New Zealand


Patricia joined Victoria University of Wellington in 2020 as a Professor of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, moving to NZ from her previous position as Professor at Imperial College London, UK.  Tricia is a world leading expert on molecular level interactions within liquids/solvents, particularly in understanding ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents/electrolytes.  She is an expert in molecular orbital theory and hydrogen bonding.  Tricia obtained her PhD in Theoretical Chemistry from the University of Auckland.  She went on to undertake Post Doc positions at King's College London and then Cambridge University, UK.  She then stayed in the UK securing a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship at Imperial College London.

Research interests

Tricia's group undertakes theoretical development and applies computational modelling to address a range of problems and projects within inorganic, materials and bio related chemistry. Our primary methods are quantum chemical but we also employ classical molecular dynamics simulations in a supporting role. Research spans four overlapping areas; liquids & solvation, catalysis & reactivity, bonding and theory & method development.  Substantial emphasis is placed on incorporating relevant experimental data and collaborating extensively with experimentalists , engineers and industry experts.  Current areas of interest include a wide range of Ionic Liquids (pharmaceuticals, extraction media, solvents, electrolytes) Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) (molten salt, halo-metalate and organic), battery electrolytes, Zn and Al batteries, Hydrogen-bonding, Group II catalysis, Frustrated Lewis Acid Base Pairs (FLPs), Degradation of chemical warfare agents/toxic chemicals.  Theoretical underpinnings of chemical "charge", theoretical foundations of solvation and applications involving solvation.

We use computational methods to investigate molecular level interactions, our goal is the rational chemical design of new liquid materials with targeted macroscopic properties.

Professor Patricia Hunt

In the news

Annual Report

Funding successes - Annual Report 2022

April 19, 2023

Funding successes for our investigators and their research programmes during 2022. This funding enables our researchers and collaborators to continue their breakthrough research in advanced materials and nanotechnology.

Read more about Funding successes - Annual Report 2022

News Article

2022 MacDiarmid Institute Marsden grant successes

November 3, 2022

MacDiarmid Institute led research received $7.84 million funding in 2022 Te Pūtea Rangahau a Marsden, the Marsden Fund.

Read more about 2022 MacDiarmid Institute Marsden grant successes

Annual Report

New Associate Investigators 2021

May 5, 2022

Meet our new Associate Investigators that joined the MacDiarmid Institute whānau in 2021.

Read more about New Associate Investigators 2021