Charles Hocart



Charles Hocart, completed a BSc (Hon) degree (Chemistry, 1977) and an MSc (Clinical Biochemistry, 1979) at the University of Western Australia, where his long term interest in the use of mass spectrometry to solve biological problems was aroused. PhD studies with Professor Berthold Halpern (Wollongong) using GC/MS to look for markers of metabolic diseases were unfortunately curtailed by Halpern’s premature death. He then moved to Canberra to study the cytokinin family of plant hormones, supervised by Professor Stuart Letham (Australian National University, 1981-5). Two post-doctoral fellowships then followed with Professors Jim McCloskey (Utah, 1986-7) and Urs Schlunegger (Bern, 1988-9) identifying modified nucleotides from Archaebacteria, and studying the negative ion mass spectrometry of cytokinins, respectively, before he again worked with Letham, courtesy of a National Research Fellowship (ANU, 1989-93). A three year period as an analyst and evaluator at the Therapeutic Drug Administration then led to Hocart’s  appointment managing the RSB Mass Spectrometry Facility (1996-2015). Charles is now retired, and a Visiting Fellow.



Research interests

Application of organic analytical chemistry, with an emphasis on mass spectrometry (GC/MS, LC/MS) to solve biological problems. This work entails developing separation/purification protocols for samples and the use of appropriate derivatives, as required for structural elucidation and quantification by mass spectrometry.

Research collaborations have included the archaeology of betel nut and kava in the Pacific islands (Dr Barry Fankhauser); the identification and quantification of cell wall polysaccharides in cellulose-deficient Arabidopsis thaliana mutants (Professor Richard Williamson); the chemical signals regulating the interaction of rice with Rhizobium isolates from the Nile Delta (Professor Barry Rolfe); and the generation of biodiesel from the native leguminous tree, Pongamia pinnata, and from microalgae (Professor Peter Gresshoff and Dr Michael Djordjevic) and most recently, the search for angiogenesis modulators from soybean (Dr Michael Djordjevic).

Current work includes the identification of pro- and anti-angiogenic active compounds from soybean plant extracts (Ms Farzaneh Kordbacheh, Dr Michael Djordjevic and Professor Chris Parish) and the identification and quantification of lipids and hydrolysed fatty acids from algae and cyanobacteria grown for the generation of biofuels.


  • GO James, CH Hocart, W Hillier, HC Chen, D Price, MA Djordjevic. Fatty acid profiling of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a model system for biofuel production. Bioresource Technology (2011) 102, 3343-3351.
  • CH Hocart. Mass spectrometry: an essential tool for trace identification and quantification. In: Vol 9, Modern Methods in Natural Product Chemistry (LN Mander, ed), Comprehensive Natural Products II: Chemistry and Biology (LN Mander and H-W Liu, editors-in-chief), Elsevier, Oxford, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-08-045382-8 (electronic), pp327-388.
  • Y Zhou, H Stuart-Williams, GD Farquhar, CH Hocart. The use of natural abundance stable isotopic ratios to indicate the presence of oxygen-containing chemical linkages between cellulose and lignin in plant cell walls. Phytochemistry (2010) 71, 982-993.
  • DA Collings, LK Gebbie, PA Howles, UA Hurley, RJ Birch, AH Cork, CH Hocart, T Arioli, RE Williamson. Arabidopsis dynamin-like protein DRP1A: 1 a null mutant with 2 widespread defects in endocytosis, cellulose synthesis, cytokinesis 3 and cell expansion. Journal of Experimental Botany (2008) 59, 361–376.
  • MA Djordjevic, M Oakes, L Kusumawati, CH Hocart, C McKinlay, CH Hwang, D Li, PM Gresshoff. Proteomic analysis of secreted proteins of Glycine max and Medicago spp. In: Biological Nitrogen Fixation: Towards Poverty Alleviation Through Sustainable Agriculture, Proceedings of the 15th International Nitrogen Fixation Congress, Editors, F. Dakora, B.M. Chimphango, A.J. Valentine, C. Elmerich and W.E. Newton. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-4020-8251-1, pp 227-228.
  • F Perrine, BG Rolfe, M Hynes and CH Hocart. GC-MS analysis of indoleacetic acid and tryptophan following aqueous chloroformate derivatisation of Rhizobium exudates. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry (2004) 42, 723-729.
  • RE Williamson, JE Burn, CH Hocart. Towards the mechanism of cellulose synthesis. Trends in Plant Science (2002) 7, 461-467.

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