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Dr John Bruning

John Bruning
Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences

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Dr John Bruning

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD, but is currently at capacity — email supervisor to discuss availability.

I head the Laboratory of Protein Crystallography which studeis Nuclear Receptors, Microbial Enzymology, and Broad-Based Cancer Therapeutics. Understanding human disease requires knowledge of the structure-function relationships in protein sensor modulation.This knowledge is incomplete on a broad spectrum of biological systems including nuclear receptor (NR) signalling, proteins involved in cancer biology, and pathogen protein machinery. Our research is focused on understanding these classes of protein interactions on an atomic level. In addition to gaining a basic understanding of protein mechanism, we also focus on structure guided drug design. In our work in understanding NR signalling, we have uncovered new paradigms in NR allostery. These allosteric modulations can now be further studied on a broader scale and harnessed to employ structure guided drug design. Work in the tuberculosis (TB) structural biology consortium has led to a quantum leap in understanding enzymology of the pathogen allowing for new chemotherapy development. We wish to use similar methodology to study a fungal pathogen for the discovery of new anti-fungal molecules.Our research with proteins of the human replication fork, such as PCNA (Proliferating Cellular Nuclear Antigen) has uncovered atomic determinants of these protein modulators that can be used as new paradigms for cancer therapeutic targeting. We will continue this research to aid in the discovery of alternative cancer therapeutic targets and seek to understand their structure-function relationship.


Date Position Institution name
2016 Adjunct Professor The Scripps Research Institute
2016 Senior Lecturer Level C (Tenured) The University of Adelaide
2012 - 2015 Lecturer Level B The University of Adelaide
2007 - 2012 Associate Research Scientist Texas A&M University
2005 - 2007 Post-doctoral Research Associate Scripps Research Institute


Date Institution name Country Title
1998 - 2004 Rice University United States PhD
1994 - 1997 Texas A&M University USA BSc

Postgraduate Training

Date Title Institution Country
2007 - 2012 Assistant Research Scientist Texas A&M USA
2005 - 2007 Post-doctoral Research Assistant The Scripps Research Institute USA


Year Citation
2018 Frkic, R., Chua, B., Shin, Y., Pascal, B., Novick, S., Kamenecka, T., . . . Bruning, J. (2018). Structural and dynamic elucidation of a non-acid PPARγ partial agonist: SR1988. Nuclear Receptor Research, 5, 101350-1-101350-12.
2018 Child, S., Naumann, E., Bruning, J., & Bell, S. (2018). Structural and functional characterisation of the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP268A2 from Mycobacterium marinum. The Biochemical Journal, 475(4), 705-722.
2018 Marshall, A., Bond, C., & Bruning, J. (2018). Structure of Aspergillus fumigatus Cytosolic thiolase: trapped tetrahedral reaction intermediates and activation by monovalent cations. ACS Catalysis, 8(3), 1973-1989.
2018 Coleman, T., Wong, S., Podgorski, M., Bruning, J., De Voss, J., & Bell, S. (2018). Cytochrome P450 CYP199A4 from Rhodopseudomonas palustris catalyses heteroatom dealkylations, sulfoxidation and amide and cyclic hemiacetal formation. ACS Catalysis, 8(7), 5915-5927.
2018 Wegener, K., McGrath, A., Dixon, N., Oakley, A., Scanlon, D., Abell, A., & Bruning, J. (2018). Rational design of a 3<inf>10</inf>-helical PIP-box mimetic targeting PCNA, the human sliding clamp. Chemistry - A European Journal, 24(44), 11325-11331.
DOI Scopus1
2018 Wegener, K., Mcgrath, A., Dixon, N., Oakley, A., Scanlon, D., Abell, A., & Bruning, J. (2018). Rational Design of a 3₁₀-Helical PIP-Box Mimetic Targeting PCNA, the Human Sliding Clamp. Chemistry - A European Journal, 24(44), 11325-11331.
2018 Thompson, A., Wegener, K., Booker, G., Polyak, S., & Bruning, J. (2018). Precipitant-ligand exchange technique reveals the ADP binding mode in Mycobacterium tuberculosis dethiobiotin synthetase. Acta Crystallographica Section D: Structural Biology, 74(Pt 10), 965-972.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1
2018 Frkic, R. L., Marshall, A. C., Blayo, A. -L., Pukala, T. L., Kamenecka, T. M., Griffin, P. R., & Bruning, J. B. (2018). PPARγ in complex with an antagonist and inverse agonist: a tumble and trap mechanism of the activation helix. iScience, 5, 69-79.
DOI Europe PMC1
2018 Zheng, J., Corzo, C., Chang, M., Shang, J., Lam, V., Brust, R., . . . Griffin, P. (2018). Chemical Crosslinking Mass Spectrometry Reveals the Conformational Landscape of the Activation Helix of PPARγ; a Model for Ligand-Dependent Antagonism. Structure, 26(11), 1431-1439.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2
2018 Thompson, A., Salaemae, W., Pederick, J., Abell, A., Booker, G., Bruning, J., . . . Polyak, S. (2018). Mycobacterium tuberculosis Dethiobiotin Synthetase Facilitates Nucleoside Triphosphate Promiscuity through Alternate Binding Modes. ACS Catalysis, 8(11), 10774-10783.
2017 Stevens, T., Song, S., Bruning, J., Choo, A., & Baxter, S. (2017). Expressing a moth abcc2 gene in transgenic Drosophila causes susceptibility to Bt Cry1Ac without requiring a cadherin-like protein receptor. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 80, 61-70.
DOI Scopus6 WoS4 Europe PMC1
2017 Marshall, A., Kroker, A., Murray, L., Gronthos, K., Rajapaksha, H., Wegener, K., & Bruning, J. (2017). Structure of the sliding clamp from the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus (AfumPCNA) and interactions with Human p21. FEBS Journal, 284(6), 985-1002.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1
2017 Sternicki, L., Wegener, K., Bruning, J., Booker, G., & Polyak, S. (2017). Mechanisms governing precise protein biotinylation. Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 42(5), 383-394.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC1
2017 Rajapaksha, H., Bhatia, H., Wegener, K., Petrovsky, N., & Bruning, J. (2017). X-ray crystal structure of rivoglitazone bound to PPARγ and PPAR subtype selectivity of TZDs. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects, 1861(8), 1981-1991.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC1
2017 Frkic, R., He, Y., Rodriguez, B., Chang, M., Kuruvilla, D., Ciesla, A., . . . Bruning, J. (2017). Structure-Activity Relationship of 2,4-Dichloro-N-(3,5-dichloro-4-(quinolin-3-yloxy)phenyl)benzenesulfonamide (INT131) Analogs for PPARγ-Targeted Antidiabetics. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 60(11), 4584-4593.
DOI Scopus3 WoS2 Europe PMC2
2017 Zheng, J., Chang, M., Stites, R., Wang, Y., Bruning, J., Pascal, B., . . . Griffin, P. (2017). HDX reveals the conformational dynamics of DNA sequence specific VDR co-activator interactions. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 8(1), 1-13.
DOI Scopus1
2016 Van Marrewijk, L., Polyak, S., Hijnen, M., Kuruvilla, D., Chang, M., Shin, Y., . . . Bruning, J. (2016). SR2067 reveals a unique kinetic and structural signature for PPARγ partial agonism. ACS Chemical Biology, 11(1), 273-283.
DOI Scopus11 WoS11 Europe PMC8
2016 Zhang, X., Bruning, J., George, J., & Abell, A. (2016). A mechanistic study on the inhibition of α-chymotrypsin by a macrocyclic peptidomimetic aldehyde. Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 14(29), 6970-6978.
DOI Scopus4 WoS4
2016 Stechschulte, L., Czernik, P., Rotter, Z., Tausif, F., Corzo, C., Marciano, D., . . . Lecka-Czernik, B. (2016). PPARG Post-translational modifications regulate bone formation and bone resorption. EBioMedicine, 10, 174-184.
DOI Scopus18 WoS17 Europe PMC14
2015 Jia, Y., Wong, D., Sweetman, C., Bruning, J., & Ford, C. (2015). New insights into the evolutionary history of plant sorbitol dehydrogenase. BMC Plant Biology, 15(1), 101-1-101-23.
DOI Scopus4 WoS4 Europe PMC2
2015 Kroker, A., & Bruning, J. (2015). p21 exploits residue Tyr151 as a tether for high-affinity PCNA binding. Biochemistry, 54(22), 3483-3493.
DOI Scopus8 WoS9 Europe PMC8
2015 Coleman, T., Chao, R., Bruning, J., De Voss, J., & Bell, S. (2015). CYP199A4 catalyses the efficient demethylation and demethenylation of para-substituted benzoic acid derivatives. RSC Advances, 5(64), 52007-52018.
DOI Scopus6 WoS5
2015 Marciano, D., Kuruvilla, D., Boregowda, S., Asteian, A., Hughes, T., Garcia-Ordonez, R., . . . Griffin, P. (2015). Pharmacological repression of PPARγ promotes osteogenesis. Nature Communications, 6(1), 7443-1-7443-7.
DOI Scopus33 WoS32 Europe PMC26
2015 Kojetin, D., Matta-Camacho, E., Hughes, T., Srinivasan, S., Nwachukwu, J., Cavett, V., . . . Nettles, K. (2015). Structural mechanism for signal transduction in RXR nuclear receptor heterodimers. Nature Communications, 6(1), 8013-1-8013-14.
DOI Scopus32 WoS34 Europe PMC25
2015 Kroker, A., & Bruning, J. (2015). Review of the structural and dynamic mechanisms of PPAR γ partial agonism. PPAR Research, 2015, 816856-1-816856-15.
DOI Scopus33 WoS13 Europe PMC21
2014 Chua, K., Pietsch, M., Zhang, X., Hautmann, S., Chan, H., Bruning, J., . . . Abell, A. (2014). Macrocyclic protease inhibitors with reduced peptide character. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 53(30), 7828-7831.
DOI Scopus13 WoS13 Europe PMC7
2014 Sullivan, A., Raimondo, A., Schwab, T., Bruning, J., Froguel, P., Farooqi, I., . . . Whitelaw, M. (2014). Characterization of human variants in obesity-related SIM1 protein identifies a hot-spot for dimerization with the partner protein ARNT2. Biochemical Journal, 461(3), 403-412.
DOI Scopus5 WoS4 Europe PMC4
2014 Bersten, D., Bruning, J., Peet, D., & Whitelaw, M. (2014). Human variants in the Neuronal Basic Helix-Loop-Helix/ Per-Arnt-Sim (bHLH/PAS) transcription factor complex NPAS4/ARNT2 disrupt function. PLoS One, 9(1), e85768-1-e85768-11.
DOI Scopus13 WoS13 Europe PMC13
2014 Reddy, M., Breda, A., Bruning, J., Sherekar, M., Valluru, S., Thurman, C., . . . Sacchettini, J. (2014). Structure, activity, and inhibition of the carboxyltransferase β-Subunit of acetyl coenzyme a carboxylase (AccD6) from mycobacterium tuberculosis. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 58(10), 6122-6132.
DOI Scopus7 WoS7 Europe PMC4
2013 Mosser, R., Reddy, M., Bruning, J., Sacchettini, J., & Reinhart, G. (2013). Redefining the role of the quaternary shift in bacillus stearothermophilus phosphofructokinase. Biochemistry, 52(32), 5421-5429.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC2
2013 Bonnefond, A., Raimondo, A., Stutzmann, F., Ghoussaini, M., Ramachandrappa, S., Bersten, D., . . . Froguel, P. (2013). Loss-of-function mutations in SIM1 contribute to obesity and Prader-Willi-like features. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 123(7), 3037-3041.
DOI Scopus43 WoS43 Europe PMC36
2013 Ramachandrappa, S., Raimondo, A., Cali, A., Keogh, J., Henning, E., Saeed, S., . . . Farooqi, I. (2013). Rare variants in single-minded 1 (SIM1) are associated with severe obesity. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 123(7), 3042-3050.
DOI Scopus59 WoS53 Europe PMC47
2013 Ramachandrappa, S., Raimondo, A., Cali, A., Keogh, J., Henning, E., Saeed, S., . . . Farooqi, I. (2013). Erratum: Rare variants in single-minded 1 (SIM1) are associated with severe obesity (Journal of Clinical Investigation (2013) 123:7 (3042-3050) DOI: 10.1172/JCI68016). Journal of Clinical Investigation, 123(8), 3635.
2012 Mosser, R., Reddy, M., Bruning, J., Sacchettini, J., & Reinhart, G. (2012). Structure of the apo form of Bacillus Stearothermophilus Phosphofructokinase. Biochemistry, 51(3), 769-775.
DOI Scopus7 WoS7 Europe PMC6
2011 Bruning, J., Murillo, A., Chacon, O., Barletta, R., & Sacchettini, J. (2011). Structure of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis D-alanine:D-alanine Ligase, a target of the antituberculosis drug D-Cycloserine. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 55(1), 291-301.
DOI Scopus49 WoS47 Europe PMC34
2011 Zhang, J., Chalmers, M., Stayrook, K., Burris, L., Wang, Y., Busby, S., . . . Griffin, P. (2011). DNA binding alters coactivator interaction surfaces of the intact VDR-RXR complex. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, 18(5), 556-563.
DOI Scopus115 WoS108 Europe PMC84
2011 Chim, N., Habel, J., Johnston, J., Krieger, I., Miallau, L., Sankaranarayanan, R., . . . Goulding, C. (2011). The TB structural genomics consortium: a decade of progress. Tuberculosis, 91(2), 155-172.
DOI Scopus26 WoS25 Europe PMC17
2011 Choi, J., Banks, A., Kamenecka, T., Busby, S., Chalmers, M., Kumar, N., . . . Griffin, P. (2011). Anti-diabetic actions of a non-agonist PPARgamma ligand that blocks Cdk5-mediated phosphorylation. Nature, 477(7365), 477-481.
DOI Scopus288 WoS266 Europe PMC223
2010 Bruning, J., Parent, A., Gil, G., Zhao, M., Nowak, J., Pace, M., . . . Nettles, K. (2010). Coupling of receptor conformation and ligand orientation determine graded activity. Nature Chemical Biology, 6(11), 837-843.
DOI Scopus74 WoS73 Europe PMC55
2009 Reddy, M., Palaninathan, S., Bruning, J., Thurman, C., Smith, D., & Sacchettini, J. (2009). Structural insights into the mechanism of the allosteric transitions of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis cAMP receptor protein. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284(52), 36581-36591.
DOI Scopus25 WoS24 Europe PMC16
2008 Nettles, K., Bruning, J., Gil, G., Nowak, J., Sharma, S., Hahm, J., . . . Greene, G. (2008). NFκB selectivity of estrogen receptor ligands revealed by comparative crystallographic analyses. Nature Chemical Biology, 4(4), 241-247.
DOI Scopus96 WoS97 Europe PMC68
2008 Dai, S., Chalmers, M., Bruning, J., Bramlett, K., Osborne, H., Montrose-Rafizadeh, C., . . . Griffin, P. (2008). Prediction of the tissue-specificity of selective estrogen receptor modulators by using a single biochemical method. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(20), 7171-7176.
DOI Scopus60 WoS53 Europe PMC40
2007 Nettles, K., Bruning, J., Gil, G., O'Neill, E., Nowak, J., Hughs, A., . . . Greene, G. (2007). Structural plasticity in the oestrogen receptor ligand-binding domain. EMBO Reports, 8(6), 563-568.
DOI Scopus83 WoS83 Europe PMC64
2007 Zhou, H., Nettles, K., Bruning, J., Kim, Y., Joachimiak, A., Sharma, S., . . . Katzenellenbogen, J. (2007). Elemental isomerism: a boron-nitrogen surrogate for a carbon-carbon double bond increases the chemical diversity of estrogen receptor ligands. Chemistry & Biology, 14(6), 659-669.
DOI Scopus53 WoS53 Europe PMC32
2007 Bruning, J., Chalmers, M., Prasad, S., Busby, S., Kamenecka, T., He, Y., . . . Griffin, P. (2007). Partial agonists activate PPARγ using a helix 12 independent mechanism. Structure, 15(10), 1258-1271.
DOI Scopus195 WoS191 Europe PMC129
2004 Bruning, J., & Shamoo, Y. (2004). Structural and thermodynamic analysis of human PCNA with peptides derived from DNA polymerase-δ p66 subunit and flap endonuclease-1. Structure, 12(12), 2209-2219.
DOI Scopus117 Europe PMC106

Conference Papers

Year Citation
2010 Mosser, R., Reddy, M., Bruning, J., Sacchettini, J. C., & Reinhart, G. D. (2010). Redefining the Role of the Quaternary Shift in the Allosteric Inhibition of Bacillus Stearothermophilus Phosphofructokinase. In BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL Vol. 98 (pp. 39A). CELL PRESS.
2007 Chalmers, M. J., Busby, S. A., Prasad, S., Bruning, J. B., Pascal, B. D., Southern, M. R., & Griffin, P. R. (2007). P97-S A High-Throughput Method for the characterization of Nuclear Receptor Dynamics. In J Biomol Tech. Vol. 18 (pp. 33). Tampa Florida.

Conference Items

Year Citation
2018 Downes, C. E., McClure, B. J., Mayne, B. T., Bruning, J. B., Heatley, S. L., Kok, C., . . . White, D. L. (2018). Identification and computational modelling of ruxolitinib resistant mutations in JAK2-rearranged B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Poster session presented at the meeting of APG Student Awards.
2018 Downes, C. E., McClure, B. J., Mayne, B. T., Bruning, J. B., Heatley, S. L., Kok, C., . . . White, D. L. (2018). Identification of ruxolitinib resistance mutations in Pro-B cells driven by a high-risk JAK2 fusion in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Poster session presented at the meeting of ASMR.
  • ARC LIEF Grant (2014). LE15010023.  Michael, Dr. Micahel Z; Booker, A/Prof., Grant W; Venter, Dr. Henrietta; Pitson, Prof. Stuart M; McKinnon, Prof. Ross A; Abell, Prof. Andrew D; Soole, A/Prof. Kathleen L; Sykes, Prof. Pamela J; Bruning, Dr. John B. “High Throughput Screening Facility.” ($860,000).
  • Environment Institute Major Collaborative Project (2015). Dr. Frank Reith, Prof. Peter Hoffmann, Dr. Florian Weiland, Dr. Benjamin Wade, Dr. John Bruning. ($50,000).
  • Biochemistry Discipline Collaborative Research Grant (2015-2018).  Bruning, JB and Booker, GW.  “Structural studies of Aspergillus fumigatus enzyme targets for drug discovery.” ($45,000).
  • AIB Labs, Research Infrastructure Fund (2015).  Parkinson-Lawrence, E., Polyak, S.W., Brooks, D., Booker, G.W., Forbes, B.E., Pitson, S., Cowin, A., Bruning, J., Butler, L. ($12,793).
  • IPAS Pilot Projects (2015).  Krogsgaard-Larsen, N.; Bruning, J.B.; Luiten, A.; Callen, D.; Zhang, X.Z.; Alaknanda, A.  “First Steps toward a Cancer Biosensor.” ($6,000).
  • Australian Synchrotron CAP (2013). CAP6919. Hrmova, M. and Bruning, J.B.  “X-ray crystal structures of plant and mammalian proteins, and protein design.”
  • Australian Synchrotron CAP (2014). CAP8221. Hrmova, M. and Bruning, J.B.  “X-ray crystal structures of plant and mammalian proteins, and protein design.”
  • BIOCHEM3000 – Molecular and Structural Biology
  • BIOCHEM3230 – Molecular and Structural Biology (Biomedical Science)
  • BIOCHEM3125 – Advanced Molecular Biology IIIA (Biochemistry)
  • BIOCHEM3001 – Cancer, Stem Cells and Development III
  • BIOCHEM3235 – Cancer, Stem Cells and Development III (Biomedical Science)
  • BIOCHEM3520 – Cancer, Stem Cells and Development (Theory) III
  • BIOCHEM3225 – Advanced Molecular Biology IIIB (Biochemistry)
  • BIOCHEM2500 – Biochemistry II: Molecular & Cell Biology
  • BIOCHEM2502 – Biochemistry II (Biotech): Molecular & Cell Biology
  • BIOCHEM2504 – Biochemistry II (Mol Biol):  Molecular & Cell Biology
  • BIOLOGY1201 – Biology I – Human Perspectives
  • CHEMENG 2015 - Principles of Biotechnology II
  • BIOTECH7000 – Advanced Research Platforms
  • BIOTECH7001 – Drug Discovery and Development
  • Science2300 – Principles and Practice of Research


Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
2018 Principal Supervisor Biochemistry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jordan Luke Pederick
2018 Principal Supervisor Biochemistry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Stephanie Nguyen
2018 Co-Supervisor Characterising signalling cascades and investigating therapeutic targets in JAK2-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukaemia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Charlotte Emma-Jeane Downes
2018 Co-Supervisor Peptide Synthesis for Biological Application Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Aimee Jade Horsfall
2018 Co-Supervisor Biochemistry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Andrew Philip Thompson
2018 Co-Supervisor Application of organic synthetic chemistry and computational techniques for drug discovery and optimization Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Hebatalla Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed
2017 Principal Supervisor Protein Crystallolgraphy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rebecca Louise Frkic
2017 Principal Supervisor Protein Crystallography of PPAR Gamma and Estrogen Receptor With Various Novel Drug Candidates Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Benjamin Soon Kai Chua
2017 Co-Supervisor Using Grapevine enzymes to make novel biochemicals Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Emi Kaye Schutz
2016 Co-Supervisor The role of Eukaryotic Elongation Factor 2 Kinase (EEF2K) in the Survival of cancer cells and Macrophages Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Roman Valeryevich Lenchine
2015 Co-Supervisor Structural studies of bacteriophage 186 proteins Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jia Quyen Truong

Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
2016 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Defining the Key Residues in PCNA-Protein Interactions Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Alice Jane Kroker
2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Structural and Biochemical Studies on Three Aspergillus fumigatus Proteins That Present as Targets for Novel Antifungal Drugs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Andrew Craig Marshall
2014 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Molecular and Structural Characterization of the Candidate Enzymes Responsible for Tartaric Acid Synthesis in the Grapevine Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yong Jia
Senior Lecturer
8313 4362
North Terrace
Molecular Life Sciences, floor 2
Room Number
2 43
Org Unit
Molecular and Biomedical Science