Brooke’s PhD Thesis Submission and Lorne Proteins 2022

Congratulations Brooke for submitting her PhD thesis for examination on the 28th of January. Brooke studied Mycobacterium tuberculosis isocitrate lyase during her PhD and she did some exciting NMR and structural work. It has not been easy for her in the last few years so it is a great achievement! Well done!

Brooke also managed to join us at the Lorne Proteins 2022 conference on the 6th of February. Brooke and Evelyn will be giving poster presentations about their work at the conference. It is also very exciting as this is the first time members of my group from Auckland and Melbourne are meeting each other in person!

Welcome Tricia (AMGEN Scholar)

We welcome Tricia Lee, currently an undergraduate student at the University of Queensland, to join our lab over the summer through the AMGEN Scholar programme. The programme kicked off today at Queen’s College Melbourne with an insightful fire lighting ceremony from an indigenous elder. Welcome Tricia and hope you will enjoy the research that you will conduct over the next eight weeks!

2021 Christmas Lunch

We celebrated a tough year with a nice Christmas lunch today (with the Melbourne-based group). 2021 has been tough, especially during the ~16 weeks of lockdowns when we cannot go to the lab. Thanks everyone for your help in setting up the lab and for your energy, enthusiasm & hard work! Have a great break!

16th FAOBMB Congress

We attended at the 16th FAOBMB Congress, which was held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ivan gave an oral presentation on ethylene synthesis (work that was conducted by Dona, Simran et al.), and Brooke and Vicky gave poster presentations about their work. The online conference was very enjoyable, which showcased some excellent science from Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific regions.

Back to the lab + Welcome Evelyn to join the team

We are delighted to return to the research laboratory today after a 13-week long COVID-19 lockdown. We also welcome the latest member of our group, Evelyn Huang, who joined us as a PhD graduate researcher during lockdown. Evelyn completed her Master of Industrial Research in Chemistry at the University of Melbourne. She will work on the regulation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isocitrate lyase at the protein level during her PhD. Welcome Evelyn!

Eva’s PhD Thesis Submission

Congratulations Eva for submitting her PhD thesis for examination today.

Eva joined us in November 2017. Her PhD focused on the application of biophysical and biochemical techniques to study protein-ligand interactions and enzyme inhibition. Eva worked on a diverse range of projects during her PhD. Of particular highlights are (1) experimentally validating the use of molecular descriptors to pre-filter virtual libraries in order to obtain better quality virtual hits, (2) identifying ligands and potential inhibitors for a rumen methanogen tRNA synthetase, and (3) compared the applicability of a range of kinetic and binding assays to study isocitrate lyase inhibitors. Eva overcame multiple obstacles during her PhD including a hard lockdown during the writing up of her thesis. Her success really showed her perseverance in science, which is an important attribute. We are currently writing up some of Eva’s work for publication so watch this space!

Well done Eva!

Virtual Seminar at North Carolina State University

Ivan gave a virtual seminar at the Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry of North Carolina State University this morning. Ivan covered several topics in the seminar, including our work on bacterial enzymes that are involved in infectious disease, the use of chemical biology tools to identify and validate enzyme targets in glioma cells, and our progress on harnessing enzyme technology to degrade environmental pollutants.

Thank you Professor Guozhou Xu for his invitation for us to talk about our research today. It was also good to see familiar faces, including Dr Yu Li who is now working as a postdoc in Professor Xu’s group, in the seminar today!

New Paper in Frontiers of Chemistry

Congratulations Dr Nabangshu Sharma for his new paper in Frontiers of Chemistry (Impact factor: 5.221). This is Nabangshu’s second “first author” paper in as many months. The paper describes Nabangshu’s studies of a novel thermophilic laccase from Geobacillus yumthangensis, and its potential as a biocatalyst to degrade organic pollutants. This is an invited paper and it is part of the “Rising Stars: Oceania” collection of the journal.

You can read the paper by following the URL here:

MSc Progress Review by Junlang and Vito

Vito and Junlang gave their MSc progress review today. Junlang gave an excellent overview about antibiotic resistance, and talked about his plan to target bacterial phosphoethanolamine transferases to restore colistin sensitivity in colistin-resistant bacteria. Vito summarised current strategies that have been investigated and employed to degrade PFAS, and outlined his plan to study the underlying mechanisms and factors that govern enzyme-mediated PFAS degradation. It has been a difficult year for Vito and Junlang due to COVID-19 restrictions but hopefully we will be able to return to the research laboratory soon.

New paper in International Journal of Biological Macromolecules

Congratulations Dr Nabangshu Sharma for his new “first author” paper at the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (Impact factor: 6.953). The paper describes Nabangshu’s work on the characterisation a novel laccase from Sulfitobacter indolifex, and its optimisation and application as a biocatalyst for the decolourisation of organic dyes. You can read the paper by following the URL here:

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