Molecular Horizons Group Leaders And Fellows
Distinguished Professor Nicholas Dixon (Director)
Biological chemistry and protein structure and function. Protein-protein interactions in large dynamic molecular machines. The bacterial DNA replication machinery as a target for antibacterial drugs. New technologies for protein chemistry.
Senior Professor Stephen Pyne (Deputy Director)
New methods for the asymmetric synthesis of bioactive molecules. The total synthesis of bioactive natural products, especially alkaloids. Natural products and fullerene chemistry.
Professor Jennifer Beck
Application of high-end mass spectrometry (MS) to understand fundamental processes in biology and to illustrate new applications of MS to biology and chemistry: understanding dynamic secondary structures of nucleic acids at telomeres to elucidate the mechanism of telomerase; describing the molecular interactions in bacterial replisomes as targets for new antibiotics.
Associate Professor Chao Deng
Neuropharmacological mechanisms of antipsychotic drugs. In vivo mechanisms underlying the clinical efficacy and reduced side-effects of the functionally selective antipsychotic drug, aripiprazole. The neural mechanisms for the regulation of body weight in the brainstem, in particular the roles of the brainstem in the development of obesity.
Dr Carolyn Dillon
Medicinal inorganic chemistry and synchrotron radiation techniques (microprobe XRF, XAS and IR microspectroscopy). Primary research projects involve the investigations of the anti-cancer properties of arsenic and bismuth complexes, understanding the metabolism and uptake of these complexes by cancer cells, and the development of more selective anti-cancer agents.
Professor Mark Dowton
Mitochondrial genome biology, recombination in mitochondria, evolutionary relationships among Hymenoptera, phylogenetic analysis and mitochondrial gene rearrangements.
Associate Professor Heath Ecroyd
The cellular heat shock response. Proteostasis and the role of the molecular chaperones in this process. Structure-function relationship of small heat shock proteins. The mechanism and prevention of protein aggregation association with diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
Professor Brett Garner
Lipid homeostasis in the brain, apolipoprotein structure and function, lysosome biology and vitamin B12 transport, ATP-binding cassette transporter function in the brain, therapeutic targeting sphingolipid metabolism, oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, ageing, neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease.
Dr Katrina Green
Improving the lives of people living with chronic mental illness by investigating new pharmacotherapies to reduce symptoms, including cognitive deficits, and prevent the obesity and type 2 diabetes side-effects associated with commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs. Katrina has a particular interest in incretin hormones and their analogues, as well as the cannabinoid and immune signalling systems.
Senior Professor Xu-Feng Huang
Neuropathology and neuropharmacology of severe mental disorders, body weight control, and type 2 diabetes. Expertise in molecular neurobiology, receptor binding assays, beta imager analysis, animal models, cell culture, immunohistochemistry and histopathology.
Dr Christopher Hyland
My group is interested in developing new transition metal-catalysed reactions for the synthesis of small organic molecules. We aim to develop tools for chemists to build complex molecules that may be used in new pharmaceuticals or materials. There is a particular focus on developing reactions that are efficient and selective so as to reduce waste and energy consumption. Through collaborations we also aim to harness synthetic chemistry to learn more about biological systems and develop potential new therapeutics.
Dr Slobodan Jergic
Protein structure and function. Bacterial DNA replication. Molecular genetics, protein expression and purification. Protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions in dynamic molecular machines. DNA replication as a target for antimicrobial drug development.
Associate Professor Dianne Jolley
Environmental toxicity of contaminants, development of passive samplers to predict metal toxicity in the environment, molecular effects and mechanisms of metal toxicity in microalgae, toxicity and remediation targets for polar regions.
Professor Paul Keller
Design and synthesis of anti-viral drug-targets (HIV, dengue fever, chikungunya virus), new anti-bacterial agents targeting multidrug resistant microbes (c. difficile, VRE, MRSA) and the synthesis of radiolabelled markers for the early detection of Parkinson's disease. Natural products projects involving Antarctic mosses, Indonesian epiphytes, Bhutanese traditional medicine'.
Associate Professor Michael Kelso
Medicinal chemistry, drug design and synthesis, structure-based drug design, prodrug design and synthesis, anti-tumour agents, anti-microbial agents, DNA binding anthracyclines, biofilm dispersing agents, catalytic asymmetric synthesis.
Associate Professor Todd Mitchell
Role of lipids in development of various pathologies including insulin resistance, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cataract. Development of new mass spectrometric techniques for the analysis of lipids.
Associate Professor Spiros Miyakis
Main research focus is antimicrobial drug resistance and the molecular mechanisms that underlie microbial adaptation to antibiotics. Also has a particular interest in Medical Education and in Biostatistics,
Dr Kelly Newell
Molecular mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, depression). Novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Glutamatergic system and its relevance to psychiatric illness. Implication of the metabotropic glutamate system in the pathology/treatment of psychiatric illness.
Associate Professor Aaron Oakley
Protein structure and function, protein evolution, drug discovery and DNA replication.
Dr Lezanne Ooi
Regenerative medicine: Use of induced pluripotent stem cells in disease modelling and drug discovery. Global control of gene expression and protein function: transcriptional regulation and epigenetics. Neurodegenerative disease: effects of inflammation and oxidative stress on neuronal function. Identification of neuroprotective genes.
Dr Kara Perrow
Ligand-directed targeted drugs for the treatment of malignant disease. Improved delivery platforms for chemotherapeutic drugs. Development of novel microtubule targeting drugs. Combination anti-cancer therapy and overcoming MDR mechanisms.
Associate Professor Stephen Ralph
Investigating interactions between metallointercalators and DNA. Nanofiltration using carbon nanotube membranes. Bioinorganic chemistry of metallodrugs. Molecular cages for metal Ions.
Professor Marie Ranson
The cell and molecular biology of cancer migration, invasion and metastasis with a particular focus on the urokinase plasminogen activation system (PAS) and the putative protective role of its inhibitor SerpinB2 (PAI-2) in cancer. Pre-clinical development of targeted anti-cancer drugs, as well as improved delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs. The plasminogen activation system in streptococcal infection.
Dr Christopher Richardson
Work uses both organic and inorganic chemistry and deals with molecular recognition, host-guest chemistry, sensing, catalysis and biomedical nanotechnology with a view toward potential use of these materials as catalysts, sensors, or agents of medicinal value.
Dr Andrew Robinson
Bacterial mutagenesis: single-molecule imaging and experimental evolution. Investigating the roles of error-prone DNA replication and repair processes in antibiotic resistance.
Dr Martina Sanderson-Smith
Infectious disease and bacterial pathogenesis. Host-pathogen interactions, resistance to host innate immunity, role of the plasminogen activation system in infectious disease, identifying targets for therapeutic intervention. Encompasses aspects of microbiology, cell biology, immunology and molecular biology.
Associate Professor Danielle Skropeta
Isolation / Structural Elucidation - marine natural products, novel anticancer and antiviral agents. Synthesis - Isatin-based anticancer agents, bioactive cyclic peptides, biomimetic natural product synthesis. Chemical Ecology - chemical deterrence, UV tolerance in Antarctic moss.
Associate Professor Ronald Sluyter
Immunology and cell signalling. The roles of P2X receptors and purinergic signalling in human and canine heath and disease. Cell and molecular biology techniques.
Professor Roger Truscott
Age-related degradation of long-lived macromolecules. Age-related eye conditions such as cataract, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
Distinguished Professor Antoine van Oijen
Single-molecule biophysics: studying the fundamental processes of life, one molecule at a time. Development and use of single-molecule manipulation and visualization methods to study molecular processes. Strong interests in DNA replication and repair, protein folding and aggregation, and viral fusion.
Senior Professor Mark Wilson
Extracellular chaperones and their roles in extracellular proteostasis and disease. Roles of chaperones redirected from the endoplasmic reticulum in Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Fluorescence analysis techniques (flow cytometry, confocal microscopy).
Dr Xingyong Wang
Multi-scale molecular simulation on biological systems and functional materials. DNA photochemistry related to UV-induced skin cancer. Quantum chemical study on organic radical compounds. Theoretical design of novel molecular switches.
Dr Amy Wyatt
The relationship between protein misfolding and inflammation in disease. The role of hypochlorite in contributing to protein misfolding in disease. Characterisation of chaperone-mediated systems to prevent protein misfolding during inflammation
Dr Justin Yerbury
Protein misfolding, aggregation and neurodegenerative disease. Protein aggregation and neuro-inflammation. Propagation of protein misfolding. Protein homeostasis and Motor Neurone Disease.
Dr Haibo Yu
Our group is interested in developing and applying theoretical and computational tools to understand the structure-dynamics-function relationship in complex (bio)molecular systems. Current research projects include computational studies of protein-ligand interactions, mechanistic studies of cofactor-independent oxygenase and carbohydrate-active enzymes.
Honorary Molecular Horizons Members
Emeritus Professor John Bremner
Professor Phillip Clingan
Dr Fay Dawes
Dr Jason McArthur
Other Molecular Horizons Members
Dr Sarah Abbott
Dr Hongyun Li