ARC Grant-Funded Researcher B
School of Biomedicine
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
Dr Sanam Mustafa is a Senior Research Associate at the ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) and Science Technology Australia’s inaugural Superstar of STEM. An internationally trained molecular pharmacologist , Sanam has developed and leads multidisciplinary and multi-institute research programs that will revolutionise pain management and quantification.
Sanam’s academic excellence has been reflected in successful competitive funding (>$1,140,000) funding and her contributions have been recognised by a number of awards, prizes & invited talks. She was recently awarded the University of Adelaide’s Executive Dean’s Medal for Engagement and Advancement for successfully leading a nationally competitive bid to engage with Defence to host a symposium attended by over 100 leading researchers and defence personnel. Demonstrating her reputation as a leading pain researcher, Sanam presented developments in pain management at Royal Australasian College of Surgeons; shared novel concepts for understanding pain signalling at Pain Adelaide; was invited to address Military officials on the importance of the neuroimmune system. In recognition of her successful research approach, Sanam was invited by ARC Centre for Plant Energy Biology to share her insights on the benefits of multidisciplinary research.
As a successful first-generation woman in STEM, Sanam leads by positive example to mentor the next generation of researchers, including over 20 student supervisions. A leader among her peers, she represents them at executive levels across the sector, including as Vice President of BliSS Science and Innovation inc. and Chair of BLiSS*Adelaide Chapter – a non-profit organisation fostering & enabling multidisciplinary collaborations. Sanam led a team of 15 to raise over $40,000 in sponsorship and attract over 200 registrants from all the Universities and major research institutions in Adelaide in 2019 and 2020.
Sanam contributes actively and positively to the broader science conversation and was interviewed by Nature Careers for an article on media interviews. A passionate advocate for gender, equity and inclusion, Sanam is on the board of aKIDemic Life and a member of multiple committees. Sanam’s invited piece for The Conversation on what Australia needs from the Ambassador for Women in Science received international attention reaching over 4000 reads in two weeks. Sanam has discussed issues facing women in STEM during a radio interview with the Wire and was an invited panel discussion member at a Diversity and Inclusion workshop being held as part of the ASCEPT Annual Scientific Meeting in Adelaide November 2018.
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
A molecular pharmacologist trained in one of the world’s most renowned research laboratories, Dr Sanam Mustafa has been named by Science and Technology Australia as an inaugural ‘Superstar of STEM’.
Dr Mustafa completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 2004 with a M.Sci (Honours) in Genetics. This included an Industrial work placement year at the Comparative Genomics department of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Dr Mustafa then trained in one of the world's leading laboratories researching GPCRs under the supervision of Prof Graeme Milligan and Dr Alan Wise. This PhD studentship was co-funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and GSK. During her case studentship, Dr Mustafa had the invaluable opportunity to spend 3 months in the high throughput-screening department of GSK.
Following a short postdoctoral position in collaboration with Almiral, in 2009 Dr Mustafa joined A/Prof Kevin Pfleger's group at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research at the University of Western Australia. Here Dr Mustafa expanded her skill-set to encompass the study of protein-protein interactions at a more detailed level. Alongside academic research projects, Dr Mustafa conducted contract research work for Dimerix Bioscience. This included project management of a research contract outsourced by Takeda Cambridge. Other responsibilities included the teaching and examination of undergraduate students.
Now a Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council, Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), University of Adelaide, Dr Mustafa has a special interest in the study of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signalling and regulation and her current research focusses on the immune system of the brain and its power to change human behaviour. Working closely with physicists and chemists, Dr Mustafa is also a member of the Scientific Leadership Committee at the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS). Dr Mustafa’s role within the CNBP and IPAS places her in a unique position to develop novel tools for sensing and investigating intracellular signalling.
Her skill-set includes techniques such as molecular biology (PCR, RT-PCR), confocal microscopy, immunocytochemistry, Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET), chemotaxis, ERK, [32P] orthophosphate phosphorylation and ELISA assays. Dr Mustafa experienced in the use of in vitro over expression systems.
Sanam is a passionate advocate for gender equity in STEM and science communication. In addition to her academic role at CNBP, she represent my peers at the executive level in a number of roles both inside and outside the University including the University of Adelaide Faculty of Health Sciences Gender Equity and Diversity committee and CNBP Nurturing Environment committee.
Date Position Institution name 2014 - ongoing ARC Senior Research Fellow University of Adelaide 2013 - 2014 Research Associate University of Adelaide 2013 - 2013 Scientific and medical writer iX Biopharma Limited 2013 - 2013 Case Based Learning tutor University of Adelaide 2009 - 2011 Postdoctoral Research Associate University of Western Australia 2009 - 2009 Postdoctoral Researcher University of Glasgow
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2019 Award Executive Dean’s Medal for Engagement and Advancement University of Adelaide Australia 2018 Award CNBP Director's Award University of Adelaide Australia 2017 Recognition Science and Technology Australia inaugural Superstar of STEM Science and Technology Australia Australia 2014 Award CNBP Director's Award University of Adelaide Australia 2010 Award Prize for best poster 2007 Award Prize for best poster 2007 Award Prize for best poster
Date Institution name Country Title 2004 - 2008 University of Glasgow United Kingdom PhD in Molecular Pharmacology 1999 - 2004 University of Glasgow United Kingdom M.Sci (Honours)
Year Citation 2015 Thomas, J., Sanam, M., Johnson, J., & Nicotra, L. (2015). The relationship between opioids and immune signalling in the spinal cord. In Pain Control (Vol. 227, pp. 207-238). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
DOI Scopus15 Europe PMC7
Year Citation 2019 Dunning, K. R., Campugan, C., Tan, C., Mahbub, S., Goldys, E., Thompson, J., . . . Mustafa, S. (2019). Hyperspectral imaging of the early embryo: can it detect chromosome abnormalities and predict IVF success?. In Label-free Biomedical Imaging and Sensing (LBIS) Vol. 10890:108900I (pp. 1-3). online: SPIE.
DOI Scopus2 WoS1
2016 Staikopoulos, V., Gosnell, M., Anwer, A., Mustafa, S., Hutchinson, M., & Goldys, E. (2016). Hyperspectral imaging of endogenous fluorescent metabolic molecules to identify pain states in central nervous system tissue. In M. Hutchinson, & E. Goldys (Eds.), Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering Vol. 10013 (pp. 1-8). Adelaide, AUSTRALIA: SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING.
DOI Scopus3 WoS3
2016 Peddie, V., Heng, S., Mustafa, S., Thomas, J., Hutchinson, M., & Abell, A. (2016). Shapeshifting photoswitchable azobenzene compounds and their biological applications. In M. Hutchinson, & E. Goldys (Eds.), Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering Vol. 10013 (pp. 4 pages). Adelaide, AUSTRALIA: SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING.
Year Citation 2021 Tan, C. Y., Mahbub, S. B., Campugan, C. A., Campbell, J., Habibalahi, A., Chow, D. J. X., . . . Dunning, K. R. (2021). Non-invasive, label-free optical analysis to detect aneuploidy within the inner cell mass of the preimplantation embryo. Poster session presented at the meeting of HUMAN REPRODUCTION. OXFORD UNIV PRESS.
Dr Mustafa has been awarded the Barbara Kidman Fellowship for funding commencing 2017.
The School of Medical Sciences awarded 13,500 AUD for the purchase of centrifuge equipment in July 2015.
|The ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics awarded 19,000 AUD in May 2015 towards the purchase of equipment for a cell culture facility.|
|A 500 AUD travel award was granted by the Adelaide Pharmacology Group to attend the International ASCEPT-MPGPCR meeting in Melbourne in December 2014.|
|8908 AUD was awarded by the School of Medical Sciences towards the purchase of automated cell counters in October 2014.|
|IPAS Extending Collaborations Pilot Projects 2013: In-vivo neuroinflamation and neuroimmune diagnostic in live rat central nervous system, 20,000 AUD. Hutchinson, Klaric, Mustafa, Dr François, Schartner, Purdey, Monro|
|IPAS Extending Collaborations Pilot Projects 2013: Nature probing nature – a living sensor for drug discovery, 2000 AUD. François, Hutchinson, Mustafa, Yool and Monro|
|The University of Western Australia awarded 750 AUD towards the cost of attending the ELRIG Drug Discovery Conference in Manchester in September 2011.|
|Recipient of the Tony B academic travel award (>3000 USD) to attend SLAS LabAutomation meeting in Palm Springs, January 2011.|
|A 500 AUD travel award was granted by the organizers towards the attendance of the Molecular Pharmacology GPCR meeting in Melbourne in December 2010.|
|Successful for two travel awards; 1000 AUD from WAIMR and a further 750 AUD from the University of Western Australia, to attend the ELRIG Drug Discovery Conference in Coventry in September 2010.
|Awarded £100 from the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) to attend the BPS 3rd focused meeting “Cell Signalling” in Leicester in April 2009.|
- Supervision of PhD students:
- Laura Carr, 2021 -
- Benjamin Barry, 2021 -
- Cheow Yuen Tan (Tiffany), 2017 -
- Mengke Han, 2017 -
- Bianca Laura Guglietti, 2017-2021
- Azim Arman: 2015 - 2020.
- Samuel Evans, 2015- 2020
- Jonathan Henry Jacobsen, 2014-2017: Award of PhD and Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence
- Jiajun Liu, 2014-2017: Award of PhD and Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence,
- Supervision of Masters student:
- Kariel Renee Siemens, 2021-
- Supervision of Honours student:
- Laura Carr, First class Honours, 2020
- Benjamin Barry, First class Honours, 2020
- Miriam Dodds, First class Honours, 2019
- Edwina Cox, Second class Honours (2A), 2017. On time completion
- Supervision of work placement students
- Lucille Michelot, Overseas work placement student, October 2018-March 2019
- Benjamin Barry, 3 weeks 2018
- Shenyi Peng, Summer 2017-2018
- Andreas Anargyros, 4 weeks, 2017
- Lucy Carpenter, 2 weeks, 2017
- Mehrnoosh Ostovar, 6 months, 2015
- Kishan Sangani, 6 months, 2014
- Mathew Steen, Summer 2014-2015
- Regular teaching and assessment of undergraduate (SGDP) and Honours students.
Medicine Learning and Teaching Unit (MLTU), University of Adelaide
Case Based Learning tutor for 2nd year medical students (2013)
In-depth preparation for group workshop sessions, facilitation of discussions to encourage knowledge consolidation and clinical reasoning, and oral and written assessment of students including providing constructive feedback.
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2022 Co-Supervisor The Human Integrated Sensor System (HISS) Challenge Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Michail Laoumtzis 2021 Co-Supervisor Regulation of the neuro-immune system Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Benjamin Daniel Barry 2021 Co-Supervisor Nanoparticle based strategies for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease: opportunities and challenges Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Laura May Carr 2021 Principal Supervisor Assessing the effects of glycosylation on mu- and delta- opioid receptor function and heteromerization. Master of Philosophy (Medical Science) Master Full Time Miss Kariel Renee Siemens
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2019 - 2022 Co-Supervisor Intracellular delivery and voltage sensitivity of nanomaterials for the optical imaging of neuronal activity Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Mengke Han 2018 - 2022 Co-Supervisor Optical imaging detects metabolic signatures associated with oocyte and embryo quality Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Cheow Yuen Tan 2018 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Targeting Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease: Novel Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological Approaches Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Bianca Laura Guglietti 2015 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Investigation of a Functional Relationship Between Toll-Like Receptor 4 and Transient Receptor Potential Cation Channel Subfamily V Member 1 in Relation to a Novel Neuroimmune Pain Model Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Samuel Greig Evans 2015 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Advanced Preclinical Assessment of Hyper-Nociception Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Azim Arman 2014 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Exploring the Bidirectional Interface between Stress and Innate Immunity: A Focus on Glucocorticoid and TLR4-MyD88 Signalling Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Jiajun Liu 2014 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Exploring the Pharmacology of (+)-Naltrexone on Alcohol Reward and Anxiety Behaviours Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Jonathan Henry Jacobsen
Date Role Board name Institution name Country 2018 - ongoing Advisory Board Member aKIDemic Life University of Tasmania Australia
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2020 - ongoing Member Science & Technology Australia Equity, Diversity & Inclusion committee Science & Technology Australia Australia 2018 - ongoing Chair BliSS Adelaide Steering committee BLiSS Science & Innovation Inc Australia 2018 - ongoing Member IPAS Scientific Leadership Team Institute of Photonics Advanced Sensing Australia 2018 - ongoing Member CNBP Nurturing Environment Committee ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics Australia 2018 - ongoing Chair DST EDTAS symposium committee Defence Science and Technology and University of Adelaide Australia 2018 - ongoing Member ASCEPT Adelaide conference committee ASCEPT Australia 2018 - 2018 Representative CNBP Executive Management Committee ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics Australia 2018 - 2018 Member Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT) Local organising committee University of Adelaide Australia 2017 - ongoing Member Faculty of Health Sciences, Gender Equity and Diversity Committee University of Adelaide Australia 2016 - ongoing Representative CNBP Adelaide node Early Career Researcher ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics Australia 2016 - ongoing Member ECR/MCR committee member University of Adelaide 2015 - ongoing Chair Biological challenges forum ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale and BioPhotonics 2013 - ongoing Member Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS) 2010 - 2011 Member Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR 2004 - 2007 Member Biochemical Society 2004 - ongoing Member British Pharmacological Society (BPS)
Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country 2018 - ongoing Tall Tales of Science Public Community Engagement National Science Week Australia 2018 - 2018 High school visit Public Community Engagement Adelaide High School Australia
Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country 2014 - ongoing Board Member Frontiers in Cellular Endocrinology
Date Event Name Event Type Institution Country 2014 - 2014 Nanoscale BioPhotonics ASCEPT-MPGPCR meeting Workshop ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics Australia
Date Office Name Institution Country 2020 - ongoing Vice President BLiSS Science & Innovation Inc Australia
Connect With Me