Andrea Yool

Professor Andrea Yool

Professor of Physiology

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Andrea is a Professor of Physiology at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, and a member of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.

She obtained her PhD in Physiology and Cell Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara, and subsequently worked as a research fellow in Neuropharmacology at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in California. After further postdoctoral research in Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University, she was appointed as an academic staff member in the Dept of Physiology at the University of Arizona, with joint appointments in the Dept of Pharmacology and the Division of Neuroscience. She moved to Australia as Professor and Head of Physiology at the University of Adelaide in 2007.

She has a strong publication record in ion channel and water channel physiology, with more than 100 publications, book chapters and review articles in total, with more than 70 as first or senior author. Many of her papers in top tier journals including Science, Nature and PNAS. She has catalysed excellence in research scholarship having supervised research projects for more than 40 Bachelor and Honours students, and served as principal or co-supervisor to over 60 HDR students, and 5 postdoctoral fellows and MD/PhD research fellows, over her career.

Her goals as director of Aquaporin Physiology and Drug Discovery Program are to define the molecular basis of the dual water and ion channel function of aquaporins (AQPs), 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.


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. They play key roles in water balance and fluid homeostasis, cell volume and motility.  The thirteen classes of human AQPs show tissue-specific patterns of expression relevant to health and disease. Our goals are to define the molecular basis of the dual water and ion channel functions 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 also discovering new pharmacological AQP modulators from traditional Chinese and Indian herbal medicines, identifying the active chemical components and defining their molecular targets of action on AQP gating domains.  Our findings could offer exciting 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.


1. Using electrophysiology and imaging to discover the molecular mechanisms of channel gating, regulation, and permeation properties in AQP1 water and ion channels. 

2. Characterising custom-designed arylsulfonamide compounds as differential modulators of aquaporin water and ion channels, and analysing their efficacy as inhibitors of cancer metastasis.

3.  Discovering new pharmacological modulators of cell motility in traditional Chinese medicinal herbs.  (Collaboration with D. Adelson)

4.  Assessing plant aquaporins as dual water and ion channels that enabling adaptation to saline environments (collaboration with S Tyerman and C Byrt), and characterising the effects of aquaporin modulators on plant AQP function (collaboration with F Chaumont).



Project Title / No.

Investigators Funding Body
2016 - 2018 Properties enabling rapid cell migration by aquaporin-1 channel expression / DP160104641 AJ Yool Australian Research Council (ARC)
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
2011  Aquaporin physiology and drug discovery AJ Yool Adelaide Centre for Neuroscience Research
2010 Role of Aquaporins in mesothelioma Klebe, AJ Yool Flinders Medical Research Foundation
2010 Cloning the Neoparameoba aquaporin channel as a target for parasite control in finfish Cook, AJ Yool CRC Seafood Research Foundation
2010 Role of the brain water channel aquaporin-4 in development and epilepsy AJ Yool Children’s Research Foundation Ch7
2009 Water and ion channel blocking activity of novel neurological agents AJ Yool Neurotherapeutics, Chicago IL USA
2009 The effects of novel aquaporin 4 channel blockers on reducing post stroke edema Chen, AJ Yool Ramaciotti foundation
2006 - 2009 Development of novel blockers of Aquaporin-4 channels with translational relevance to stroke-induced brain edema AJ Yool BIO5 Pilot grant
2004 - 2009 Predoctoral Training Program in Neuroscience / NIH T321 007434-07 AJ Yool NIH
2003 - 2007

Structural basis of ion channel function in Aquaporin-1 / NIH-R01-GM59986

  • Position: Professor of Physiology
  • Phone: 83133359
  • Email:
  • Fax: 8313 4398
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Helen Mayo North, floor 4
  • Room: 4 05
  • Org Unit: Medical Sciences

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