Dr Jinxin Pei

Jinxin Pei
Postdoctoral Fellow
Adelaide Medical School
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

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Dr Jinxin Pei


I have been studying and working in Professor Andrea Yool's Aquaporin Physiology & Drug Discovery Lab in the past 7 years. The water channels known as aquaporins (AQPs) are an ancient family found in all the kingdoms of life, from bacteria and plants to invertebrates and vertebrates, and play key roles in water balance and fluid homeostasis across cell membranes. The thirteen classes of human AQPs show tissue-specific patterns of expression relevant for health and pathophysiological processes. Our goals are to define the molecular basis of the dual water and ion channel function of aquaporins, to understand the roles of AQPs in physiological systems, and to build a definitive portfolio of AQP antagonist and agonist compounds as tools for basic research and clinical innovation. Aquaporins are currently being uncovered as essential components of rapid cell migration in wound healing and cancer metastasis, particularly in aggressive cancers such as glioblastoma and colon cancers. We have shown molecular knockdown or pharmacological blockade of AQP1 can slow or stop aggressive cancer cell movement. Our work over the past decade has challenged the original dogma that the archetypal channel AQP1 is rigid and constitutively open. We have shown that AQP1 is regulated by intracellular signals and serves as cGMP-gated ion channel as well as an osmotic water channel.  Our focus on AQP pharmacology defined the first library of pharmacological agents in the world, based on arylsulfonamide scaffolds showing differential activities on the ion and the water pores.  We are now testing potentially powerful dual therapies for blocking cell migration.  We are also defining pharmacological AQP modulators from traditional Chinese and Indian medicinal herbs, identifying the active chemical components and their molecular targets of action on AQP gating domains.  Our findings offer exciting translational opportunities for clinical intervention in cancer metastasis, brain oedema, hydrocephalus, and other fluid transport disorders. Our drug agents are currently being tested in vivo in collaborative projects in Australia, Europe and the USA.

Cell Migration
Live-cell imaging of the inhibitory effects of bacopasides I on the migration of HT29 cells. Single cells at the boundaries of circular wounds were
tracked with time-lapse images taken at 25-minute intervals for 10 hours at 37°C. Panels of six images each from time-lapse series are shown at
120-minute intervals: (UT) HT29 cells with vehicle treatment. (Drug) HT29 cells treated with 50 mM bacopaside I. 


In the past year, through the collaboration with Dr. Sabrina Heng from Center for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), we have developed a novel ion sensor (SHL) that has high affinity to Li+ ion. With the help of SHL, we successfully imaged the ion entry through AQP1 cation channel for the first time. This novel Lithium sensor together with other ion specific analogs are valuable research tools to study the function of various ion channels non-invasively, especially in a more fragile system.            



Date Position Institution name
2017 Postdoctoral Researcher University of AdelaIde
2016 - 2017 Research Associate University of Adelaide

Language Competencies

Language Competency
Chinese (Mandarin) Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review


Date Institution name Country Title
University of Adelaide Australia PhD in Medicine

Postgraduate Training

Date Title Institution Country
2017 Postdoctoral Researcher University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia


Year Citation
2017 Kourghi, M., Pei, J. V., De Ieso, M. L., Nourmohammadi, S., Chow, P. H. & Yool, A. J. (2017). Fundamental structural and functional properties of Aquaporin ion channels found across the kingdoms of life.. Clinical and experimental pharmacology & physiology, -.
2017 Kourghi, M., Nourmohammadi, S., Pei, J., Qiu, J., McGaughey, S., Tyerman, S. ... Yool, A. (2017). Divalent cations regulate the ion conductance properties of diverse classes of aquaporins. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18, 11, 2323-2323.
2017 Heng, S., Mak, A., Kostecki, R., Zhang, X., Pei, J., Stubing, D. ... Abell, A. (2017). Photoswitchable calcium sensor: ‘On’–‘Off’ sensing in cells or with microstructured optical fibers. Sensors and Actuators, B: Chemical, 252, 965-972.
2017 Heng, S., Zhang, X., Pei, J. & Abell, A. (2017). A rationally designed reversible 'turn-off' sensor for glutathione. Biosensors, 7, 3, 36-36.
2016 Pei, J., Kourghi, M., De Ieso, M., Campbell, E., Dorward, H., Hardingham, J. & Yool, A. (2016). Differential inhibition of water and ion channel activities of mammalian aquaporin-1 by two structurally related bacopaside compounds derived from the medicinal plant bacopa monnieri. Molecular Pharmacology, 90, 4, 496-507.
2016 Bajic, J., Eden, G., Lampton, L., Cheah, K., Lymn, K., Pei, J. ... Howarth, G. (2016). Rhubarb extract partially improves mucosal integrity in chemotherapy-induced intestinal mucositis. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 22, 37, 8322-8333.
2016 Dorward, H., Du, A., Bruhn, M., Wrin, J., Pei, J., Evdokiou, A. ... Hardingham, J. (2016). Pharmacological blockade of aquaporin-1 water channel by AqB013 restricts migration and invasiveness of colon cancer cells and prevents endothelial tube formation in vitro. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, 35, 1, 36-1-36-9.
2016 Kourghi, M., Pei, J., De Ieso, M., Flynn, G. & Yool, A. (2016). Bumetanide derivatives AqB007 and AqB011 selectively block the aquaporin-1 ion channel conductance and slow cancer cell migration. Molecular Pharmacology, 89, 1, 133-140.
2014 Fabrick, J., Pei, J., Hull, J. & Yool, A. (2014). Molecular and functional characterization of multiple aquaporin water channel proteins from the western tarnished plant bug, Lygus hesperus. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 45, 1, 125-140.

Book Chapters

Year Citation
2016 Pei, J., Ameliorate, J. L., Kourghi, M., De Ieso, M. & Yool, A. (2016). Drug Discovery and Therapeutic Targets for Pharmacological Modulators of Aquaporin Channels. In G. Soveral, S. Nielsen & A. Casini (Eds.), Aquaporins in Health and Disease: New Molecular Targets for Drug Discovery (pp. 273-296). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Conference Items

Year Citation
2013 Pei, J., Campbell, E. & Yool, A. (2013). Inhibition of aquaporin-1 but not aquaporin-4 water permeability by bacopaside I derived from Bacopa monnieri.


Participated and experimental results lead to the successful application of the following grant. 

Date Project Title / No. Investigators Funding Body
2015 Characterisation of aquaporin-1 (AQP1) ion channel activity in migrating cancer cells using a novel photoswitchable fluorescent probe AJ Yool Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing
Year Position Course Affiliation
2017 Supervisor Year 3 Physiology Lab Placement  University of Adelaide
Year Position Course Affiliation
2017 Supervisor Year 3 Physiology Lab Placement  University of Adelaide
Postdoctoral Fellow
North Terrace
Medical School North
Room Number
N4 13
Org Unit
Adelaide Medical School