BSc (Hons), PhD (W.Aust.) Chemistry, GCertMgt (TechMgt) (Deakin) Technology Management
Position: 
Co-Deputy Director, Biotechnology Program; Director, Doctor of Biotechnology Program
Room: 
1014
Phone: 
61 7 334 69598
Biography: 

After completing my undergraduate and PhD studies at the University of WA I held postdoctoral fellowships at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Denmark (1992-94) and then at the University of British Columbia in Canada (1994-96). I then returned to Australia and spent 12 years in the biotechnology industry with Progen Pharmaceuticals Ltd where I held various positions including Director of Drug Discovery. In 2008 I moved to QUT as a Principal Research Fellow and Deputy Program Leader in the CRC for Polymers before joining The University of Queensland in 2010.

Brief Research Description: 
Organic Chemistry - Glycoscience, drug discovery and biotechnology
Research Focus and Collaborations: 

My research interests are in carbohydrate chemistry and medicinal chemistry, with a focus on the synthesis of compounds to probe and/or inhibit carbohydrate-protein interactions involved in disease processes. Of particular interest is heparan sulfate (HS) and the development of HS mimetics as potential drugs for cancer and other diseases. Previous work in this area resulted in the discovery of PG545, a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis and metastasis that is currently in Phase I clinical trials in cancer patients. Current research interests and collaborations include: the development of artificial anticoagulants as replacements for heparin and LMWH (collaboration with scientists at CSIRO & the University of Melbourne), HS mimetics as antiviral agents (AID, Griffith University) and pharmacological chaperone therapy for lysosomal storage diseases (SAHMRI, Adelaide).

Funded Projects: 
  • Expression, purification and characterization of recombinant human heparanase. UQ New Staff Research Start-Up Fund.
  • Synthesis of novel inhibitors of heparan sulfate-degrading enzymes as potential anticancer therapeutics. UQ Early Career Researcher Grant.
  • Small molecule chaperones for enzyme enhancement therapy for MPS II. National MPS Society Research Grant 2011.
  • Targeting Tumour Angiogenesis in Breast Cancer by Altering MicroRNA Signalling. NHMRC Project Grant 2013-15.
  • Development of Pharmacological Chaperone Therapy for MPS II. National MPS Society Research Grant 2013.
  • Improving Anticancer Activity of Gold Compounds. UWA-UQ Partnership Research Collaboration Award 2015.
  • Heparan sulfate mimetics: versatile tools for chemical biology. ARC Discovery Grant 2017-19.
  • Pharmacological chaperones for MPS IIIA. Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation Incubator Grant  2018.
Teaching: 

CHEM1200    Chemistry 2

CHEM2052    Chemical Biology

BIOT3007     Biotechnology Industry Placements/Internship Program

SCIE3260/1  Introduction to Research in Chemistry, Biochem & Microbiology

BIOT3009     Quality Management Systems in Biotechnology: GMP, GLP, GCP

BIOT7031     Quality Management Systems in Biotechnology

 

 

Significant Professional Activities and Awards: 
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute
  • Member of the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre (AID)
  • Member of the Australian and New Zealand Glycosciences Group
  • Member of the American Chemical Society
  • Member of the School’s Industry Advisory Board
  • Member of the Sanofi-Aventis Low Molecular Heparin Biosimilars Working Group
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member: Current Medicinal Chemistry; Molecules; Cardiovascular & Hematological Agents in Medicinal Chemistry
  • Scientific Advisory Board Member: Glycan Biosciences; Nanollose
  • 2014 SCMB Award for Outstanding Contributions to Engagement
Current Research Projects
  • Synthetic heparin/HS mimetics
  • Pharmacological chaperone therapy for lysosomal storage diseases
  • Synthesis of inhibitors of virus-cell attachment
  • Synthesis of heparanase inhibitors with improved specificity
Current Collaborations
  • Dr John Tsanaksidis (CSIRO)
  • Prof Paul Monagle & Dr Vera Ignjatovic (University of Melbourne/MCRI)
  • A/Prof Jennifer Wilson (Griffith University Gold Coast)
  • A/Prof Albert Mellick (UNSW)
  • Drs Adeline Lau, Marten Snel, Paul Trim, Kim Hemsley (SAHMRI)
  • Prof Murray Baker (University of WA)
  • Dr Lara Herrero (Griffith University Gold Coast)
  • Dr Neha Gandhi (QUT)
  • Prof Israel Vlodavsky (Technion, Israel)
  • Prof Gideon Davies (University of York, UK)
  • A/Prof Simon Glerup Pedersen (University of Aarhus, Denmark)
Selected Publications: