Dr Simon HJ BrownDr Simon HJ Brown

Position: Senior Research Fellow (IHMRI)
Phone: +61 2 4298 1991
Office: B32.230


I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), University of Wollongong. I completed my BSc (2000), MSc (2001) and PhD (2008) in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. I have 11 years of research experience in the fields of protein structure, lipid characterisation and analytical chemistry. I am a mid-career researcher with a highly multi-disciplinary background, originally trained in protein structure and function, and have recently strengthened my biomolecular structure experience during a second postdoctoral position in the rapidly growing field of lipidomics. My PhD training at the University of California, San Diego as part of a large, HHMI funded group characterising protein kinase gave me experience in a wide breadth of structural techniques, and resulted in 6 publications including an article in Science. I was awarded the 2008 Sydney Protein Group Thompson prize for the best presentation by a young Australian scientist in the field of protein structure and function resulting from my PhD work. My research output has accelerated over the past five years with a primary focus of lipid analytics based in mass-spectrometry. My development of a high-throughput analytical platform has fostered 6 collaborative medical research projects, 2 with international partners and all 6 with research at other institutions. This has resulted in 16 publications over the past 3 years.

I have received 3 invitations to speak at conferences and have had 3 abstracts chosen for talks in the past 5 years, including talks at the International Singapore Lipid Symposium and American Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference. In my career i have presented at 9 international and 8 national conferences, with highlights including the Euro-Conference on Protein Kinases Inhibitors (2006) Paris, France; International Conference on Inhibitors Of Protein Kinases (2007) Warsaw, Poland; Conference on Signaling in Normal and Cancer Cells (2008) Banff, Canada; Lorne Conference on Protein Structure & Function (2009, 2016) Lorne, Australia; American Society of Mass Spectrometry Conference (2011, 2012) USA; The Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference (2013, 2015) Australia, International Singapore Lipid Symposium (2012, 2014, 2015) Singapore; Lipid Maps Conference (2014), San Diego, USA.

My multidisciplinary background in protein structure and lipidomics has enabled me to write two reviews; one for BBA Molecular And Cell Biology of Lipids reviewing the current state-of-the-art mass spectrometric techniques to characterise lipid double-bond position, and a second for JASMS describing the implications of lipid structure in protein-lipid interactions and reviewing mass spectrometric techniques for characterisation of protein-lipid interactions.

Output and Leadership

Publications: 31 publications (9 papers cited > 30 times). Total ~800 citations. Consistent publication in top tier journals (e.g. Nature Communications, Science, The Ocular Surface, Journal Of Lipid Research). 3 expert review articles and 1 book chapter.

Collaboration: Highly collaborative research outputs; 80% involving other groups, 20% involving overseas groups (USA, Germany, Singapore, Canada, UK).

Funding: More than $1 m in funding awarded including 1 ARC linkage grant, and 1 international research contract.

Trajectory: Over 50% of my 10-year career research output has been generated in the past 3 years demonstrating a sharp upward trajectory.


Research Training: I have supervised two honours students, one of which has received a first class degree. I am currently supervising two PhD students, who’s projects include charaterisation of protein-lipid interactions and the developing lipidomic analytical approaches to charaterise the development of neurons from pluripotent stem cells. In addition, in my past three years in the Mitchell group research role, I have been the primary laboratory mentor for all graduate and honours students performing high-throughput lipidomics.

Professional Activities: I am an active reviewer for five journals including; Analytical Chemistry, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry and Scientific Reports. In addition, I have been a doctoral thesis reviewer for University of Sydney. I am an active member of three scientific societies, including the Australian society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry and the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry. I was an organiser and the treasurer for the 2nd Australian Lipid Meeting in December 2014, which attracted over 100 delegates.


Searchable RIS publications from 2000 to date.

The work of Simon Brown et al was published in Analyst magazine, 7 March 2013:

Cover of Analyst Magazine, 7 March 2013
The figure below depicts the demonstration of the structure of a lipid captured in a complex protein. The wire-mesh represents electron density, as refined by our group, to allow fitting of the lipid shown above.
Lipid captured in complex with a protein
Last reviewed: 2 May, 2016