Oakley scaled 260 300Associate Professor Aaron Oakley

Phone:    +61 2 4221 4347
Office:      B18.G25

  • Associate Professor

Research Interests

Proteins perform many of the functions that keep us alive. In order to understand how they work, it is vial to know the shape of the molecule: its three-dimensional structure.
We use crystallography as a powerful tool for the determination of such structures. Crystallography reveals structure in exquisite detail:


In the case where the protein is a potential drug target, the structure can inform the design of drugs to block their action. 

Our interests lie in the structures of proteins involved in bacterial DNA replication. These bacterial proteins are potential targets for antibiotics.
One such bacterial protein is the so-called DNA-clamp, needed by bacteria to copy their DNA:


We are developing inhibitors of the bacterial DNA-clamp. These inhibitors can kill bacteria by disrupting the interactions of the DNA-clamp with other essential proteins.

Representative Publications

Searchable RIS publications from 2000 to date

  • Oakley, A.J. (2011). Glutathione transferases - A structural perspective. Drug Metabolism Reviews, 43, 138–151. [IF 5.54; 52 citations]
  • Wijffels, G., Johnson, W.M., Oakley, A.J., Turner, K., Epa, V.C., Briscoe, S.J., Polley, M., Liepa, A.J., Hofmann, A., Buchardt, J., Christensen, C., Prosselkov, P., Dalrymple, B.P., Alewood, P.F., Jennings, P.A., Dixon, N.E. and Winkler, D.A. (2011). Binding inhibitors of the bacterial sliding clamp by design. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 54, 4831–4838. [IF 5.61; 6 citation]
  • Bhatia, S., Knoch, B., Wong, J., Kim, W.S., Else, P.L., Oakley, A.J. and Garner, B. (2011). Selective reduction of hydroperoxyeicosatetraenoic acids to their hydroxy derivatives by apolipoprotein-D: Implications for lipid antioxidant activity and Alzheimer's disease. Biochemical Journal, 442, 713–721. [IF: 4.65; 1 citation]
  • Oakley, A.J., Bhatia, S., Ecroyd, H. and Garner, B. (2012). Molecular dynamics analysis of apolipoprotein-D – lipid hydroperoxide interactions: mechanism for selective oxidation of Met-93. PLoS One, 7, e34057. [IF: 3.73; 5 citations]
  • Zhou, H., Brock, J., Liu, D., Board, P.G. and Oakley, A.J. (2012). Structural insights into the dehydroascorbate reductase activity of human omega-class glutathione transferases. Journal of Molecular Biology, 420, 190–203. [IF: 3.91; 13 citations]
  • Brown, S.H.J., Mitchell, T.W., Oakley, A.J., Pham, H.T. and Blanksby, S.J. (2012). Time to face the fats: What can mass spectrometry reveal about the structure of lipids and their interactions with proteins? Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 23, 1441–1449. [IF: 3.59; 7 citation]
  • Chilingaryan, Z., Yin, Z. and Oakley, A.J. (2012). Fragment-based screening by protein crystallography: Successes and pitfalls. International Journal for Molecular Sciences, 13, 12857–12879. [IF: 2.46; 4 citations]
  • Ozawa, K., Horan, N.P., Robinson, A., Yagi, H., Hill, F.R., Jergic, S., Xu, Z.-Q., Loscha, K.V., Li, N., Tehei, M., Oakley, A.J., Otting, G., Huber, T. and Dixon, N.E. (2013) Proofreading exonuclease on a tether: the complex between the E. coli DNA polymerase III subunits alpha, epsilon, theta and beta reveals a highly flexible arrangement of the proofreading domain. Nucleic Acids Research, 41, 5354–5367. [IF: 8.28; 2 citations]; selected as a “Featured Article” (top 5% of articles in the journal).
  • Brock, J., Board, P.G. and Oakley, A.J. (2013). Structural insights into omega-class glutathione transferases: A snapshot of enzyme reduction and identification of a non-catalytic ligandin site. PLoS One, 8:e60324. [IF 3.73; 1 citation]
  • Yin Z, Kelso MJ, Beck JL, Oakley AJ (2013). Structural and Thermodynamic Dissection of Linear Motif Recognition by the E. coli Sliding Clamp.Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 56, 8665–73. [IF:5.61]
  • Shishmarev, D., Wang, Y., Mason, C.E., Su, X.-C., Yagi, H., Oakley, A.J., Graham, B., Huber, T., Dixon, N.E. and Otting, G. (2014) Intramolecular binding mode of the C-terminus of E. coli single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB) determined by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Nucleic Acids Research, 42, 2750–7. [IF: 8.28]
  • Yin, Z., Wang, Y., Whittell, L.R., Jergic, S., Liu, M., Harry, E.J., Dixon, N.E., Beck, J.L., Kelso, M.J., Beck, J.L., Oakley, A.J. (2014) DNA Replication is the Target for the Antibacterial Effects of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.Chemistry and Biology, (doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2014.02.009). [IF: 6.16]
  • Yin Z., Whittell L.R., Wang Y., Jergic S., Liu M., Harry E.J., Dixon N.E., Beck J.L., Kelso M.J., Oakley A.J. (2014) Discovery of lead compounds targeting the bacterial sliding clamp using a fragment-based approach. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 57:2799-2806.
  • Cleverley R.M., Barrett J.R., Baslé A., Bui N.K., Hewitt L., Solovyova A., Xu Z.-Q., Daniel R.A., Dixon N.E., Harry E.J., Oakley A.J., Vollmer W., Lewis R.J. (2014) Structure and function of a spectrin-like regulator of bacterial cytokinesis. Nature Communications 5:5421.
  • Yin Z., Whittell L.R., Wang Y., Jergic S., Ma C., Lewis P.J., Dixon N.E., Beck J.L., Kelso M.J., Oakley A.J. (2015) Bacterial Sliding Clamp Inhibitors that Mimic the Sequential Binding Mechanism of Endogenous Linear Motifs. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 58:4693-4702.

Current Students


  • Zorik Chilingaryan
  • Amy McGrath

Abbreviated CV
  • 2014 Associate Professor In Biological Chemistry, University of Wollongong
  • 2010 ARC Future Fellow, University of Wollongong.
  • 2008-2009 Research Scientist, CSIRO.
  • 2003-2007 Research Fellow, Australian National University.
  • 1998-2003 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Western Australia.
  • 1994-1997 Ph.D. student, St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research. 


Last reviewed: 25 August, 2015