BSc (Deakin), BSc (Hons I) (Monash) Chemistry, PhD (Monash) Chemistry, Master of Technology Management (UQ)
Associate Professor in Biological Chemistry
+61 7 336 53955

After completing my PhD at Monash University I spent two years in the University Chemical Laboratories in Cambridge, UK, working with Professor Andrew Holmes. On returning to Australia I worked at the Centre for Drug Design and Development (now part of the IMB at UQ) and then in the School of Pharmacy (UQ). In late 2002 I took up joint positions in the School of Pharmacy (Health Faculty) and the School of Molecular and Microbial Science. In 2006 I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences (Science Faculty) and in 2010 was promoted to Associate Professor.

Brief Research Description: 
Synthesis, methodology, and medicinal chemistry
Research Focus and Collaborations: 

My research interests lie in the areas of biological and medicinal chemistry, and synthetic methodology. One area of my research is aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms by which small molecules can act as enzyme inhibitors. I am also designing and executing new synthetic methodologies for organic chemistry. Past work has examined the synthesis of melanin analogs and fluorolipids. There is a strong focus in my work on interdisciplinary science in which synthetic chemistry makes key contributions. Enzyme inhibitors We have an active, multidisciplinary research program looking into the binuclear metallo-enzymes purple acid phosphatase (PAP) and metallo-beta-lactamase (MBL). In collaboration with Drs Gahan, Schenk and Guddat in this School, and Professor David Ollis at the ANU, we are using a combination of enzyme kinetics, protein crystallography, fragment-based screening, computer-aided design and synthetic chemistry to prepare and assay potent inhibitors of these enzymes. New synthetic methodology Recent work in this area has focussed on new approaches to the Claisen rearrangement using rate-enhancing substituents and using metals to accelerate this reaction.

Funded Projects: 

NHMRC Project Grant 2010-2012
Metallo-beta lactamases: predicting and combating antibiotic resistance
G Schenk, R McGeary, M Schembri
Total value of grant: $511,500

ARC Discovery Project 2009-2011
Structure-based design of anti-osteoporotic drug leads: an integrated approach
G Schenk, R McGeary, L Guddat, L Gahan
Total value of grant: $350,000


Organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, synthetic chemistry.

Significant Professional Activities and Awards: 
  • Chemistry Major Convenor
  • Chemistry Honours Director
  • Australian Regional Editor: Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry
  • Editorial Board Member: Current Medicinal Chemistry
  • Editorial Board Member: Medicinal Chemistry
  • Editorial Board Member: The Open Medicinal Chemistry Journal
  • Fellow, Royal Australian Chemical Institute
Selected Publications: