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

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), new antiviral agents for respiratory syncytial virus (the University of Gothenburg, Sweden), targeted liposomes for siRNA delivery in vivo (Griffith University) and pharmacological chaperone therapy for lysosomal storage diseases (the Lysosomal Diseases Research Unit, 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.

CHEM2050  Organic & Inorganic Chemistry

CHEM2052  Chemical Biology

CHEM1222  Chemistry for Pharmacy & Dentistry

BIOT7031  Quality Management Systems in Biotechnology

BIOT3007  Biotechnology Industry Placements/Internship Program



Significant Professional Activities and Awards: 
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute
  • Member of the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre
  • 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
  • Targeted liposomes for siRNA delivery in vivo
  • Synthetic heparin mimics
  • 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)
  • Prof Tomas Bergström & A/Prof Edward Trybala (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
  • Dr Jennifer Wilson (Institute for Glycomics, Griffith University Gold Coast)
  • Dr Albert Mellick and Prof Nigel McMillan (Griffith University, Gold Coast)
  • Prof Vivek Mittal (Weill Cornell Medical College, New York)
  • Prof John Hopwood (Lysosomal Diseases Research Unit, Adelaide)
  • Prof Murray Baker (University of WA)
  • Prof Israel Vlodavsky (Technion, Israel)
Selected Publications: