School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
I work at the interface of chemistry and biology, using structure-guided molecular design to develop therapeutics and diagnostic biosensors for a variety of applications. By investigating how molecules interact with their target, we can rationally improve their chemistry for both function and stability.
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
Projects in my laboratory involve the development of both small molecules and peptidomimetics that interact with their biological target with high affinity. As part of multi-disciplinary collaborations, we apply structural techniques, including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and crystallography, to examine these molecular interactions at high resolution, and rationally alter ligand chemistry to produce compounds with desirable biochemical and pharmacological properties. Interaction kinetics are quantified using a variety of biophysical techniques such as fluorescence polarization and NMR spectroscopy, as well as surface plasmon resonance (SPR) using our state-of-the-art Biacore S200.
Peptidomimetic projects involve the rational design of peptide-based inhibitors of protein-protein interactions, using chemical modification to stabilise the peptides and improve their pharmacological potential.
Current projects include:
- Development of novel antibiotics targeting essential enzymes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- Constrained peptidomimetics targeting PCNA – the human DNA sliding clamp – as a novel approach to cancer treatment.
- Constrained peptidomimetics as antagonists of nuclear receptor function, for applications in cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.
Date Position Institution name 2017 - ongoing ARC Research Fellow The University of Adelaide 2010 - 2017 Ramsay Fellow University of Adelaide 2002 - ongoing Research Associate University of Oxford
Date Institution name Country Title 1998 - 2002 University of Adelaide Australia PhD 1994 - 1997 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Original Creative Works
Year Citation 2018 Authors: Wegener K, Mcgrath A, Dixon N, Oakley A, Scanlon D, Abell A, Bruning J. Title: Rational Design of a 310-Helical PIP-Box Mimetic Targeting PCNA, the Human Sliding Clamp [Cover Profile]. Description: N/A. Extent: N/A.
Channel 7 Children’s Research Fund “Designed Antibiotics Targeting Drug-Resistant and Latent Tuberculosis” ($74,411)
ARC Discovery Grant (DP120100582) (2012) Abell, A.D., Wegener, K.L., Callen, D.F., Ginsberg, M.H. “Defining peptide structure and function: the shape of things to come.”
Kidman Fellowship (2015), The University of Adelaide
Ramsay Fellowship (2009), The University of Adelaide.
Guest lecturer on Peptidomimetics, for the Masters in Biotechnology, Drug Discovery and Development course (2014-), The University of Adelaide.
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2017 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Determining the molecular basis of beta-cyano-alanine and gamma-glutamyl-beta-cyano-alanine toxin accumulation in Vicia sativa Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Vy Hoang Thao Nguyen 2015 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Structural and Biophysical Characterisation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Dethiobiotin Synthetase Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Andrew Philip Thompson 2015 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Biotin Protein Ligase as a Novel Antifungal Drug Target Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Louise Marie Sternicki 2013 - 2018 Co-Supervisor A Study on Side Chain Linked Peptides, Toward the Development of Talin Inhibitors using B3 Integrin Peptide Analogues Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Kelly Lee Keeling
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2014 - ongoing Board Member Adelaide Protein Group - Australia
Date Role Membership Country 2015 - ongoing Member Australian Peptide Association Australia 2011 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Medical Research Australia 2010 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Australia 2000 - ongoing Member Australia and New Zealand Magnetic Resonance Society -
Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country 2012 - ongoing Editor ANZMAGazine - -
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