Jinxin Pei

Dr Jinxin Pei

Postdoctoral Fellow

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences


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.            

  • Appointments

    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
  • Education

    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


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
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Aquaporin Physiology & Drug Discovery University of Adelaide Other Kavi Sivasankar
  • Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Phone: 83133231
  • Email: jinxin.pei@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Helen Mayo North, floor N4
  • Room: N4 13
  • Org Unit: Adelaide Medical School

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External Profiles