Our Program Areas

In line with the advanced technical training that is a core feature of the Doctoral training program, we are exploring way to advance each of the 3 key areas in the workflow for cryo-EM of GPCRs from enabling biochemistry, to efficiency and robustness of vitrification and imaging, through to optimised data processing and the ability to directly derive 3D conformational dynamics.

Nodes: Monash, UoM, UoW and WEHI

Membrane protein receptors form the key conduit for communication between cells and organs. Targeting these proteins for drug discovery and development requires molecular understanding of how natural ligands and synthetic compounds bind to and activate the receptors. Cryo-EM will be used to study both atomic level details of drug-receptor interactions and the conformational dynamics of receptors in complex with specific drugs. Monash researchers have pioneered the transformational application of cryo-EM to study of the structure and function of GPCRs, the largest family of cell surface membrane proteins. We will work with our industry and academic partners to unlock the therapeutic potential novel membrane protein targets.

Node: Monash

Although several GPCR structures have been determined, the heterodimeric nature of the GABABR has hindered efforts for its structural elucidation. Cryo-EM is ideally suited to circumvent hurdles associated with recombinant protein production and heteromeric arrangement. Research around the investigation and development of cryo-EM techniques to enable structural resolution of the interactions. Knowledge obtained by the structural work will be used iteratively to computationally model and design novel compounds. 

Node: UoW

The potential of using for cryo-EM to explore the druggability of cell signalling receptors that play critical role in a number of human diseases will open new opportunities for drug discovery programs.  By targeting these challenging proteins, we will enable the development of small molecules and biologics that, with industry partners, will be translated to new generations of therapeutics. 

Node: WEHI

The current worldwide pandemic reminds us that, despite progress in medicine, infectious diseases remain a serious public health problem with serious economical consequences. Membrane proteins located at the surface of viruses and bacteria are excellent targets to cure and prevent infection.

Node: UoM