School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.
Based at the University of York, UK, my research has been focused on the structural biology of viral and bacterial nucleic acid binding proteins; and Staphylococcal cell surface adhesins and two-component sensors. I use methods including bioinformatics, structure prediction, molecular biology, bacterial recombinant protein expression and purification, X-ray crystallography, SEC-MALS, CD spectroscopy, small angle X-ray scattering, force unfolding AFM to determine the relationship between the structure and the function of target proteins. I recently relocated to the University of Adelaide where I have been developing the use of cryo electron microscopy in analysis of bacteriophage transcriptional regulators.
I am now using my expertise in protein engineering to develop a pipeline for directed evolution of novel small molecule sensors based on natural bacterial two-component sensor systems. The aim of this work is to select for new sensor/small molecule binding by building bacterial circuitry to select for sensor activation. This synthetic biology approach will provide the foundation for a 'biosensor' library able to specifically detect the presence of target molecules for deployment in diverse industries including medical diagnostics, food security, biomonitoring and bioremediation. This work is supported by the Ramsay Fellowship in Applied Science.
Date Position Institution name 2019 Ramsay Fellow in Applied Science University of Adelaide 2018 - 2019 Postdoctoral Research Associate University of Adelaide 2012 - 2018 Postdoctoral Research Associate University of York 2009 - 2012 Postdoctoral Research Associate University of York
Date Institution name Country Title 2003 - 2009 University of Adelaide Australia PhD 2002 - 2002 University of Adelaide Australia B.Sc. Hons. (Biochemistry) 1998 - 2001 University of Adelaide Australia B.Sc. (Mol. Biol.)
Date Title Institution name Country 2019 Epigeum: Supervising Doctoral Studies University of Adelaide —
Year Citation 2017 Devine, P., Fisher, H., Calabrese, A., Whelan, F., Higazi, D., Potts, J., . . . Ashcroft, A. (2017). Investigating the Structural Compaction of Biomolecules Upon Transition to the Gas-Phase Using ESI-TWIMS-MS. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 28(9), 1855-1862.
DOI Scopus19 WoS15 Europe PMC7
2016 Gruszka, D., Mendonça, C., Paci, E., Whelan, F., Hawkhead, J., Potts, J., & Clarke, J. (2016). Disorder drives cooperative folding in a multidomain protein. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(42), 11841-11846.
DOI Scopus4 WoS4 Europe PMC5
2015 Whelan, F., & Potts, J. (2015). Two repetitive, biofilm-forming proteins from Staphylococci: From disorder to extension. Biochemical Society Transactions, 43(5), 861-866.
DOI Scopus3 WoS2 Europe PMC2
2015 Whelan, F., Jenkins, H. T., Griffiths, S. C., Byrne, R. T., Dodson, E. J., & Antson, A. A. (2015). From bacterial to human dihydrouridine synthase: automated structure determination.. Acta crystallographica. Section D, Biological crystallography, 71(Pt 7), 1564-1571.
DOI Scopus5 WoS5 Europe PMC2
2015 Chaban, Y., Stead, J. A., Ryzhenkova, K., Whelan, F., Lamber, E. P., Antson, A., . . . Orlova, E. V. (2015). Structural basis for DNA strand separation by a hexameric replicative helicase.. Nucleic acids research, 43(17), 8551-8563.
DOI Scopus6 WoS3 Europe PMC4
2015 Byrne, R. T., Jenkins, H. T., Peters, D. T., Whelan, F., Stowell, J., Aziz, N., . . . Antson, A. A. (2015). Major reorientation of tRNA substrates defines specificity of dihydrouridine synthases.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(19), 6033-6037.
DOI Scopus16 WoS15 Europe PMC12
2015 Gruszka, D. T., Whelan, F., Farrance, O. E., Fung, H. K., Paci, E., Jeffries, C. M., . . . Clarke, J. (2015). Cooperative folding of intrinsically disordered domains drives assembly of a strong elongated protein.. Nature communications, 6(1), 7271.
DOI Scopus22 WoS23 Europe PMC16
2013 Byrne, R., Whelan, F., Aller, P., Bird, L., Dowle, A., Lobley, C., . . . Waterman, D. (2013). S-Adenosyl-S-carboxymethyl-l-homocysteine: A novel cofactor found in the putative tRNA-modifying enzyme CmoA. Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography, 69(6), 1090-1098.
DOI Scopus12 WoS12 Europe PMC9
2012 Whelan, F., Stead, J., Shkumatov, A., Svergun, D., Sanders, C., & Antson, A. (2012). A flexible brace maintains the assembly of a hexameric replicative helicase during DNA unwinding. Nucleic Acids Research, 40(5), 2271-2283.
DOI Scopus10 WoS10 Europe PMC10
2012 Griffiths, S., Byrne, R., Antson, A., & Whelan, F. (2012). Crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic analysis of the catalytic domain of human dihydrouridine synthase. Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications, 68(3), 333-336.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2
2010 Whelan, F., Hao, N., Furness, S., Whitelaw, M., & Chapman-Smith, A. (2010). Amino acid substitutions in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligand binding domain reveal YH439 as an atypical AhR activator. Molecular Pharmacology, 77(6), 1037-1046.
DOI Scopus17 WoS14 Europe PMC12
2009 Dave, K., Whelan, F., Bindloss, C., Furness, S., Chapman-Smith, A., Whitelaw, M., & Gorman, J. (2009). Sulfonation and Phosphorylation of Regions of the Dioxin Receptor Susceptible to Methionine Modifications. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, 8(4), 706-719.
DOI Scopus11 WoS8 Europe PMC4
2009 Furness, S., & Whelan, F. (2009). The pleiotropy of dioxin toxicity - Xenobiotic misappropriation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor's alternative physiological roles. Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 124(3), 336-353.
DOI Scopus49 WoS43 Europe PMC31
2001 Chapman-Smith, A., Mulhern, T., Whelan, F., Cronan, J., & Wallace, J. (2001). The C-terminal domain of biotin protein ligase from E. coli is required for catalytic activity. Protein Science, 10(12), 2608-2617.
DOI Scopus50 WoS48 Europe PMC42
2001 Chapman-Smith, A., Mulhern, T., Whelan, F., Cronan Jr., J., & Wallace, J. (2001). The C-terminal domain of biotin protein ligase from E-coli is required for catalytic activity. Protein Science, 10(12), 2608-2617.
Ramsay Fellowship in Applied Science (2019-2023)
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2019 Co-Supervisor Phage based antibacterial proteins Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Hannah Rose Bonham
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2013 - 2016 Representative Staff Committee University of York United Kingdom
Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country 2016 - 2016 British Heart Foundation visit day Public Community Engagement University of York United Kingdom
Date Event Name Event Type Institution Country 2019 - 2019 University Open Day Function University of Adelaide Australia
Review, Assessment, Editorial and Advice
Date Title Type Institution Country 2019 - ongoing Referee: Genomics Peer Review University of Adelaide Australia 2019 - ongoing Thesis examiner - Masters of Biotechnology Thesis Review University of Adelaide Australia 2015 - ongoing Journal of Molecular Biology Peer Review University of York United Kingdom
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