Our group is interested in the interactions between proteins and lipids that occur on and away from the membrane. Through the application of both structural and high-throughout technologies, we aim to characterise how metabolites and proteins drive phenotypical changes that occur in disease states.
CRYO ELEctron microscopy
Cryo-EM is revolutionising structural biology. Rapid advances in both instrumentation and computational analysis has enabled cryo-EM to reveal atomic-level structures. This new high-resolution capability, combined with the ability to visualise large proteins, membrane protein, and giant macromolecule complexes, has made cryo-EM a very power tool for structural biology. The University of Wollongong is making major investments into a fully-resources cryo-EM facility and our group is working alongside this endeavour.
Using a suite of protein structure techniques, we characterise lipid-binding proteins to elucidate the structural determinants of protein-lipid interactions, as well as confirmation changes and dynamics of proteins during interactions with lipids. We use hydrogen-deuterium exchange, small angle X-ray scattering, and mass spectrometry in combination with a suite of protein chemistry tools to elucidate protein structures.
Lipidomics and metabolomics
Metabolomics is a rapidly growing field that is now accepted to play a critical role in the characterisation of human disease. Alongside genomics and proteomics, metabolomics can be performed in high-throughput on biological samples. Lipidomics focuses on the characterisation of the non-polar metabolome, which is composed primary of lipid molecules. Our group works in developing and applying high-throughput platforms to the characterisation of metabolites. Our current goal is to expand our robust lipid analytical methods to include polar metabolites, with a focus on the characterisation of mass spectrometric features with unknown structures, characterisation of the so-called "dark metabolome"