Externally-Funded Research Fellow (A)
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
Blagojce completed his PhD at the University of Wollongong in 2017 on understanding the structure-function relationship of small heat-shock proteins, which are associated with numerous neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, motor neuron disease), using native mass spectrometry and biophysical approaches.
Blagojce joined the University of Adelaide in late 2017 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with Prof. Tara Pukala (Discipline of Chemistry, School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences) to utilise mass spectrometry-based techniques to understand the aggregation dynamics of amyloid-fibril forming proteins and their effects on proteostasis. In addition, Blagojce is also an Associate Investigator for the Research Consortium Program for Agriculture Product Development which is supported by the South Australia Department for Industry and Skills (2020-2023).
In 2023, Blagojce joined the Discipline of Molecular & Biomedical Science (School of Biological Sciences) and established the Proteostasis and Disease Research Group - a multidisciplinary team focusing on the mechanisms and molecular networks regulating protein homeostasis (proteostasis) in several cell types (gut and the brain) and their contribution to neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease and ALS, through funding from The Hospital Research Foundation.
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
Understanding proteostasis mechanisms in the gut-brain axis in Parkinson's disease and motor neuron disease
The pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is believed to be caused by the aggregation of non-native proteins. Protein aggregation is due to the failure of protien homeostasis (proteostasis) mechanisms to maintain protein foldedness and effectively clear protein aggregates. My group focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that maintain proteostasis in the gut-brain axis and how issues in this network fail to prevent protein aggregation in the gut, leading to proteinopathies namely Parkinson's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Bioactive profiling of high-value commerical and biomedical products from problematic waste biomass
Food waste in Australia is an ever-present economical and environmental issue, costing the Australian economy $37 billion annually with 7.6 million tonnes of food wasted per year and contributing up to 3% to Australia's greenhouse-gas emmisions. Transforming these waste streams to new viable products is therefore vital. I have been utilising analytical chemistry approaches to identify the composition of bioactives in these waste streams and profiling their bioactivities (neuroprotective, antimicrobial, antiviral) to guide the production of commercial and biomedical products through the Research Consortium Program for Agriculture Product Development.
Investigating the structural dynamics of amyloidogenic proteins using mass spectrometry-based approaches
My focus is on understanding the role lipids play in the aggregation dynamics of alpha-synuclein using a range of mass spectrometry-based approaches. Native MS is a high-resolution tool utilised in structural biology which can define a range of structural features within proteins, such as oligomeric distribution and polydispersity, unfolded/unstructured states, assembly stability and quaternary conformation of proteins.
Development of novel peptide-based protein aggregation inhibitors and enzymatic-targetting antimicrobials
My work has also facilitated structure-informed design of peptide-based inhibitors of amyloid fibril formation as potential therapeutics of diseases where protein misfolding and aggregation are central, as well as enzymatic inhibitor screening of novel antimicrobial drugs targeting bacterial and fungal pathogens in collaboration with The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).
Utilising native MS tools as a complementary tool in structural biology and structure-activity relationships
We continuely utilise MS-based approaches to complement traditional structural biology approaches (e.g. X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, NMR) to structurally rationalise biomolecular function/activity to understand molecular chaperone function in proteostasis and guide antifungal and vaccine design against infectious disease.
Prospective Projects (Honours/Masters/PhD)
Title: Developing gut-brain axis cell models mimicking synucleinopathies
Description: Synucleinopathies such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies arise from the formation of intracellular toxic protein aggregates. Formation of α-synuclein aggregates in the gut are trafficked from gut epithelial cells to CNS neurons during disease. This project involves 1) establishing gut and neuronal cell models (as well as mixed cell models) of α-synuclein aggregation, 2) assess the global molecular changes during α-synuclein aggregation, and 3) high-throughput screening of potential drug leads and probing aggregate trafficking mechanisms across cell types.
Location(s): Molecular Life Sciences/Adelaide Microscopy, North Terrace Campus
Available for: Honours/PhD
Title: Developing gut-brain axis cell models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Description: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease (MND), also arises from the formation of toxic aggregates of proteins including SOD1 and TDP-43. This project involves 1) establishing gut and neuronal cell models (as well as mixed cell models) of SOD1 and TDP-43 aggregation, 2) assess the global molecular changes during the aggregation of proteins associated with ALS, and 3) high-throughput screening of potential drug leads and probing aggregate trafficking mechanisms across cell types.
Location(s): Molecular Life Sciences/Adelaide Microscopy, North Terrace Campus
Available for: Honours/PhD
Title: Establishing the amyloid interactome (aggregome) in the gut-brain axis
Description: Identifying the molecular networks formed during protein aggregation is crucial for biomarker discovery and precision medicine approaches. This project involves 1) the mapping of aggregating protein interactions in gut and neuronal cell models (as well as mixed cell models) of α-synuclein, SOD1 and TDP-43 aggregation.
Location(s): Molecular Life Sciences, North Terrace Campus
Available for: Honours/Masters
Date Position Institution name 2024 - ongoing Research Fellow/Lecturer (B), School of Biological Sciences University of Adelaide 2017 - 2023 Postdoctoral Research Associate (A), School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences University of Adelaide
Language Competency Macedonian Can read, speak and understand spoken
Date Institution name Country Title 2012 - 2017 University of Wollongong Australia PhD (Biological Sciences) 2007 - 2011 University of Wollongong Australia Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Biological Sciences)
Research InterestsAnalytical Biochemistry Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Biochemistry and Cell Biology Biophysics Cell Biology Cellular Interactions Characterisation of Biological Macromolecules Medical Biochemistry: Proteins and Peptides Medical Biotechnology Microbiology Molecular Targets Neurosciences Protein Trafficking Proteins and Peptides Proteomics and Intermolecular Interactions Structural Biology Systems Biology
Year Citation 2023 Pederick, J. L., Klose, J., Jovcevski, B., Pukala, T. L., & Bruning, J. B. (2023). <i>Escherichia coli</i> YgiC and YjfC Possess Peptide─Spermidine Ligase Activity. Biochemistry, 62(4), 899-911.
2023 Pachulicz, R. J., Yu, L., Jovcevski, B., Bulone, V., & Pukala, T. L. (2023). Structural Analysis and Identity Confirmation of Anthocyanins in <i>Brassica oleracea</i> Extracts by Direct Injection Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometry. ACS Measurement Science Au, 3(3), 200-207.
2023 Stachura, D. L., Nguyen, S., Polyak, S. W., Jovcevski, B., Bruning, J. B., & Abell, A. D. (2023). Structural Study of Potent Triazole-Based Inhibitors of <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> Biotin Protein Ligase. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 14(3), 285-290.
2023 Frkic, R. L., Pederick, J. L., Horsfall, A. J., Jovcevski, B., Crame, E. E., Kowalczyk, W., . . . Bruning, J. B. (2023). PPARγ Corepression Involves Alternate Ligand Conformation and Inflation of H12 Ensembles. ACS Chemical Biology, 18(5), 1115-1123.
2023 Pantong, W., Pederick, J. L., Maenpuen, S., Tinikul, R., Jayapalan, J. J., Jovcevski, B., . . . Salaemae, W. (2023). Biochemical and Structural Characterization of Meningococcal Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase. Protein Science, 32(6), 13 pages.
DOI Europe PMC1
2022 Sanders, H. M., Jovcevski, B., Marty, M. T., & Pukala, T. L. (2022). Structural and mechanistic insights into amyloid-β and α-synuclein fibril formation and polyphenol inhibitor efficacy in phospholipid bilayers. The FEBS Journal, 289(1), 215-230.
DOI Scopus13 WoS13 Europe PMC8
2022 Nguyen, S., Jovcevski, B., Pukala, T. L., & Bruning, J. B. (2022). Structural insights into the antifungal drug target guanosine monophosphate synthase from Aspergillus fumigatus. Acta Crystallographica Section D Structural Biology, 78(2), 1-12.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC2
2022 Nguyen, S., Jovcevski, B., Truong, J. Q., Pukala, T. L., & Bruning, J. B. (2022). A structural model of the human plasminogen and Aspergillus fumigatus enolase complex.. Proteins, 90(8), 1509-1520.
2022 Pachulicz, R. J., Yu, L., Jovcevski, B., Bulone, V., & Pukala, T. L. (2022). Polyphenol characterisation and diverse bioactivities of native Australian lilly pilly (<i>Syzygium paniculatum</i>) extract.. Food & function, 13(16), 8585-8592.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1 Europe PMC1
2022 Horsley, J. R., Jovcevski, B., Pukala, T. L., & Abell, A. D. (2022). Designer D-peptides targeting the N-terminal region of α-synuclein to prevent parkinsonian-associated fibrilization and cytotoxicity. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Proteins and Proteomics, 1870(10), 140826-1-140826-9.
DOI Scopus4 WoS2
2022 Pederick, J. L., Horsfall, A. J., Jovcevski, B., Klose, J., Abell, A. D., Pukala, T. L., & Bruning, J. B. (2022). Discovery of an ʟ-amino acid ligase implicated in Staphylococcal sulfur amino acid metabolism. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 298(10), 1-16.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1
2022 Stachura, D. L., Nguyen, S., Polyak, S. W., Jovcevski, B., Bruning, J. B., & Abell, A. D. (2022). A New 1,2,3-Triazole Scaffold with Improved Potency against Staphylococcus aureus Biotin Protein Ligase. ACS Infectious Diseases, 8(12), 2579-2585.
DOI Scopus3 WoS2 Europe PMC1
2021 Nguyen, S., Jovcevski, B., Pukala, T. L., & Bruning, J. B. (2021). Nucleoside selectivity of Aspergillus fumigatus nucleoside-diphosphate kinase.. The FEBS journal, 288(7), 2398-2417.
DOI Scopus6 WoS6 Europe PMC4
2020 Jovcevski, B., Das, S., Smid, S., & Pukala, T. L. (2020). Polyphenol honokiol and flavone 2′,3′,4′-trihydroxyflavone differentially interact with α-synuclein at distinct phases of aggregation. ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 11(24), 4469-4477.
DOI Scopus13 WoS9 Europe PMC4
2020 Sajid, M. S., Jovcevski, B., Pukala, T. L., Jabeen, F., & Najam-Ul-Haq, M. (2020). Fabrication of Piperazine Functionalized Polymeric Monolithic Tip for Rapid Enrichment of Glycopeptides/Glycans.. Anal Chem, 92(1), 683-689.
DOI Scopus16 WoS15 Europe PMC3
2020 Sanders, H. M., Jovcevski, B., Carver, J., & Pukala, T. L. (2020). The molecular chaperone β-casein prevents amorphous and fibrillar aggregation of α-lactalbumin by stabilisation of dynamic disorder. Biochemical Journal, 477(3), 629-643.
DOI Scopus17 WoS16 Europe PMC8
2020 Wang, C. R., Bubner, E. R., Jovcevski, B., Mittal, P., & Pukala, T. L. (2020). Interrogating the higher order structures of snake venom proteins using an integrated mass spectrometric approach.. J Proteomics, 216, 103680.
DOI Scopus14 WoS13 Europe PMC10
2020 Horsley, J. R., Jovcevski, B., Wegener, K. L., Yu, J., Pukala, T. L., & Abell, A. (2020). Rationally Designed Peptide-Based Inhibitor of Aβ42 Fibril Formation and Toxicity: A Potential Therapeutic Strategy for Alzheimer's Disease.. Biochem J, 477(11), 2039-2054.
DOI Scopus19 WoS30 Europe PMC19
2020 Yeoh, Y. Q., Horsley, J., Yu, J., Polyak, S. W., Jovcevski, B., & Abell, A. D. (2020). Short photoswitchable antibacterial peptides. ChemMedChem, 15(16), 1505-1508.
DOI Scopus13 WoS11 Europe PMC3
2020 Salman Sajid, M., Jovcevski, B., Mittal, P., Fatima, B., Hussain, D., Jabeen, F., . . . Najam-ul-Haq, M. (2020). Glycosylation heterogeneity and low abundant serum glycoproteins MS analysis by boronic acid immobilized Fe<inf>3</inf>O<inf>4</inf>@1,2-Epoxy-5-Hexene/DVB magnetic core shell nanoparticles. Microchemical Journal, 159, 8 pages.
DOI Scopus6 WoS6
2019 Liu, Y., Jovcevski, B., & Pukala, T. L. (2019). C-Phycocyanin from Spirulina Inhibits α-synuclein and amyloid-β fibril formation but not amorphous aggregation. Journal of Natural Products, 82(1), 66-73.
DOI Scopus24 WoS20 Europe PMC10
2018 Jovcevski, B., Andrew Aquilina, J., Benesch, J., & Ecroyd, H. (2018). The influence of the N-terminal region proximal to the core domain on the assembly and chaperone activity of αB-crystallin. Cell Stress and Chaperones, 23(5), 827-836.
DOI Scopus8 WoS8 Europe PMC6
2017 Jovcevski, B., Kelly, M., Aquilina, J., Benesch, J., & Ecroyd, H. (2017). Evaluating the effect of phosphorylation on the structure and dynamics of Hsp27 dimers by means of ion mobility mass spectrometry. Analytical Chemistry, 89(24), 13275-13282.
DOI Scopus12 WoS15 Europe PMC8
2015 Jovcevski, B., Kelly, M., Rote, A., Berg, T., Gastall, H., Benesch, J., . . . Ecroyd, H. (2015). Phosphomimics destabilize Hsp27 oligomeric assemblies and enhance chaperone activity. Chemistry and Biology, 22(2), 186-195.
DOI Scopus97 WoS97 Europe PMC74
2015 Cork, A., Ericsson, D., Law, R., Casey, L., Valkov, E., Bertozzi, C., . . . Kobe, B. (2015). Stability of the octameric structure affects plasminogen-binding capacity of streptococcal enolase. PLoS ONE, 10(3), e0121764-1-e0121764-18.
DOI Scopus12 WoS8 Europe PMC5
2013 Henningham, A., Ericsson, D., Langer, K., Casey, L., Jovcevski, B., Singh Chhatwal, G., . . . Walker, M. (2013). Structure-informed design of an enzymatically inactive vaccine component for group A Streptococcus. mBio, 4(4), e00509-13-1-e00509-13-9.
DOI Scopus19 WoS16 Europe PMC9
Year Citation 2019 Jovcevski, B., & Pukala, T. (2019). Mass Spectrometry and Its Applications. In V. Ramesh (Ed.), Biomolecular and Bioanalytical Techniques Theory, Methodology and Applications (pp. 219-253). USA: Wiley.
|Year||Funding Source||Amount (AUD)|
|2023-26||The Hospital Research Foundation Group EMCR Research Fellowship (Sole CI)||$390,000|
|2019||Postdoctoral Travel Award Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function (Sole CI)||$250|
|2018||Australian Bicentennial Fellowship Travel Award, Menzies Australian Institute (Sole CI)||$1,800|
|2015||American Society of Mass Spectrometry Asilomar Conference on Native Mass Spectrometry Travel Award, American Society of Mass Spectrometry (Sole CI)||$1,500|
|2013-14||Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health Travel Award, University of Wollongong (Sole CI)||$3,000|
|2012-16||Henning Family Foundation PhD Scholarship, Australian Rotary Health (Sole CI)||$101,500|
Lecturer: Biochemistry II - Molecular & Cellular Biology, Semester 1
Protein structure and function
Transport proteins and enzyme kinetics
Lecturer: Biochemistry III - Molecular & Structural Biology, Semester 1
Protein quality control
Membrane and protein trafficking
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2020 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Mass Spectrometric Characterisation of Protein Assemblies from Bitis arietans Snake Venom Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Emily Rose Bubner 2020 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Structural and Biochemical Insights into Antifungal Drug Targets from Aspergillus fumigatus Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Stephanie Nguyen
Date Topic Location Name 2022 - ongoing Diagnosis and therapeutics of intrinsically disordered protein misfolding disorders Doctor of Philosophy - University of Adelaide Mr Zohaib Raza 2021 - ongoing Chemical and Functional Exploration of Agricultural Waste for Identification of High Value Bioactives Doctor of Philosophy - University of Adelaide Mr River Jack Pachulicz 2020 - ongoing Structural characterisation of snake venom proteins by mass spectrometry Doctor of Philosophy - University of Adelaide Miss Chia-De Ruth Wang 2020 - ongoing Biophysical characterisation of DNA triplexes for antigene technology Doctor of Philosophy - University of Adelaide Mr Jack Klose 2020 - 2023 The Synthesis and Activity of New Antibiotics Doctor of Philosophy - University of Adelaide Dr Damian Stachura 2019 - 2020 Functionalised polymers for glycopeptide enrichment Doctor of Philosophy - Bahauddin Zakariya University (Pakistan) Mr Muhammad Salman Sajid 2017 - 2021 MASS SPECTROMETRY-BASED STRUCTURAL INSIGHTS INTO PROTEIN ASSEMBLIES Doctor of Philosophy - University of Adelaide Mr Henry Michael Sanders
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2022 - 2023 Board Member Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry Executive Committee Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry Australia 2021 - 2022 Chair Adelaide Protein Group ASBMB Australia 2020 - 2021 Representative ASBMB Liason, Adelaide Protein Group ASBMB Australia 2019 - 2020 Member Lorne Proteins ECR Committee Lorne Proteins Australia
Date Role Membership Country 2019 - ongoing Member Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry Australia 2018 - ongoing Member Adelaide Protein Group Australia 2018 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Australia 2017 - ongoing Member Cell Stress Society International United States
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