Associate Professor Tara Pukala

Tara Pukala
Senior Lecturer
School of Physical Sciences
Faculty of Sciences

Tara Pukala obtained a PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2006, under the supervision of Prof John Bowie. This was followed by a postdoctoral position at the University of Cambridge, UK, working with Prof Dame Carol Robinson in the field of native mass spectrometry.

Tara returned to Australia to her current role as lecturer in the Discipline of Chemistry at the University of Adelaide in 2008. Here she leads a multidisciplinary research group focused on developing new approaches, primarily utilising mass spectrometry, to investigate the structure, function and interactions of macromolecules important in biology.

Since 2017 she has had the role of Scientific Director of the Adelaide Proteomics Centre.

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Associate Professor Tara Pukala

Tara Pukala obtained a PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2006, under the supervision of Prof John Bowie. This was followed by a postdoctoral position at the University of Cambridge, UK, working with Prof Dame Carol Robinson in the field of native mass spectrometry.

Tara returned to Australia to her current role as lecturer in the Discipline of Chemistry at the University of Adelaide in 2008. Here she leads a multidisciplinary research group focused on developing new approaches, primarily utilising mass spectrometry, to investigate the structure, function and interactions of macromolecules important in biology.

Since 2017 she has had the role of Scientific Director of the Adelaide Proteomics Centre.

Biological macromolecules such as proteins and DNA form the machinery that underlies all biological functions. The ability to ‘see’ the atomic detail of these assemblies, including their structures and interactions with other molecules, provides an opportunity to understand their biological activity. It also helps unravel processes which have gone astray to cause disease, and therefore find new treatments for a range of human illnesses.

In recent years mass spectrometry has emerged as a powerful tool for structural biology, in many cases capable of exceeding other techniques by diversity in application and information content. This is due to the ability of mass spectrometry to precisely identify biomolecules, binding interactions, detect individual species present in a mixture, and offer conformational information for large, dynamic and heterogeneous structures, with physiological relevance.

Research in the Pukala group is directed towards development of new approaches, primarily using mass spectrometry, to obtain insight into the structure, function and interactions of macromolecules, with a focus on enhancing understanding of multi-molecular systems involved in disease.

Current projects include;

  • development of ion mobility-mass spectrometry (and complementary tools) for the study of large protein complexes
  • design of novel mass spectrometry amenable protein cross-linking strategies
  • mechanistic studies of protein misfolding and aggregation
  • structural analysis of triplex DNA

For more details of current projects, see the Pukala Group website.

Appointments

Date Position Institution name
2017 Associate Professor University of Adelaide
2012 - 2016 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
2008 - 2011 Lecturer University of Adelaide
2007 - 2008 Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Cambridge

Awards and Achievements

Date Type Title Institution Name Amount
2017 Australian and New Zealand Society of Mass Spectrometry Bowie Medal Australian and New Zealand Society of Mass Spectrometry
2014 University of Adelaide Faculty of Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching University of Adelaide
2012 HG Andrewartha Medal Royal Society of South Australia
2011 Young Tall Poppy Science Award Australian Institute of Policy and Science
2010 South Australian Young Achiever (Science and Technology) Awards Australia
2009 University of Adelaide Faculty of Sciences Early Career Research Excellence Award University of Adelaide
2003 - 2006 George Fraser PhD Scholarship University of Adelaide
2003 University of Adelaide Medal University of Adelaide
2001 Ferry Scholarship Cedric Arnold Seth Ferry Trust

Education

Date Institution name Country Title
2003 - 2006 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
1999 - 2002 University of Adelaide Australia BSc (Hons)

Journals

Year Citation
2016 Calabrese, A., Liu, Y., Wang, T., Musgrave, I., Pukala, T., Tabor, R. ... Bowie, J. (2016). The amyloid fibril-forming properties of the amphibian antimicrobial peptide uperin 3.5. ChemBioChem, 17, 3, 239-246. 10.1002/cbic.201500518
2016 Das, S., Stark, L., Musgrave, I., Pukala, T. & Smid, S. (2016). Bioactive polyphenol interactions with β amyloid: a comparison of binding modelling, effects on fibril and aggregate formation and neuroprotective capacity. Food & Function, 7, 2, 1138-1146. 10.1039/c5fo01281c
2015 Calabrese, A., Bowie, J. & Pukala, T. (2015). Structural analysis of calmodulin binding by nNOS inhibitory amphibian peptides. Biochemistry, 54, 2, 567-576. 10.1021/bi5004124
2015 Liu, Y., Graetz, M., Ho, L. & Pukala, T. (2015). Ion mobility-mass spectrometry-based screening for inhibition of α-synuclein aggregation. European Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 21, 3, 255-264. 10.1255/ejms.1359
2014 Liu, Y., Carver, J., Ho, L., Elias, A., Musgrave, I. & Pukala, T. (2014). Hemin as a generic and potent protein misfolding inhibitor. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 454, 2, 295-300. 10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.10.062
2014 Liu, Y., Carver, J., Calabrese, A. & Pukala, T. (2014). Gallic acid interacts with α-synuclein to prevent the structural collapse necessary for its aggregation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1844, 9, 1481-1485. 10.1016/j.bbapap.2014.04.013
2013 Williams, D. & Pukala, T. (2013). Novel insights into protein misfolding diseases revealed by ion mobility-mass spectrometry. Mass Spectrometry Reviews, 32, 3, 169-187. 10.1002/mas.21358
2013 Liu, Y., Pukala, T., Musgrave, I., Williams, D., Dehle, F. & Carver, J. (2013). Gallic acid is the major component of grape seed extract that inhibits amyloid fibril formation. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 23, 23, 6336-6340. 10.1016/j.bmcl.2013.09.071
2013 Calabrese, A. & Pukala, T. (2013). Chemical cross-linking and mass spectrometry for the structural analysis of protein assemblies. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 66, 7, 749-759. 10.1071/CH13164
2013 Calabrese, A., Wang, T., Bowie, J. & Pukala, T. (2013). Negative ion fragmentations of disulfide-containing cross-linking reagents are competitive with aspartic acid side-chain-induced cleavages. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 27, 1, 238-248. 10.1002/rcm.6445
2013 Cottam, J., Scanlon, D., Karas, J., Calabrese, A., Pukala, T., Forbes, B. ... Abell, A. (2013). Chemical synthesis of a fluorescent IGF-II analogue. International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics, 19, 1, 61-69. 10.1007/s10989-012-9339-3
2013 Scott, D., Ehebauer, M., Pukala, T., Marsh, M., Blundell, T., Venkitaraman, A. ... Hyvonen, M. (2013). Using a fragment-based approach to target protein-protein interactions. ChemBioChem, 14, 3, 332-342. 10.1002/cbic.201200521
2012 Leung, H., Mohan, P., Pukala, T., Scanlon, D., Lincoln, S. & Kee, T. (2012). Reduction of Copper(II) to Copper(I) in the Copper-Curcumin Complex Induces Decomposition of Curcumin. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 65, 5, 490-495. 10.1071/CH12081
2012 McColl, G., Roberts, B., Pukala, T., Kenche, V., Roberts, C., Link, C. ... Cherny, R. (2012). Utility of an improved model of amyloid-beta (Aβ₁₋₄₂) toxicity in Caenorhabditis elegans for drug screening for Alzheimer’s disease. Molecular Neurodegeneration, 7, 1, 1-9. 10.1186/1750-1326-7-57
2012 Calabrese, A., Speechley, L. & Pukala, T. (2012). Characterisation of calmodulin structural transitions by ion mobility mass spectrometry. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 65, 5, 504-511. 10.1071/CH12047
2012 Calabrese, A., Good, N., Wang, T., He, J., Bowie, J. & Pukala, T. (2012). A negative ion mass spectrometry approach to identify cross-linked peptides utilizing characteristic disulfide fragmentations. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 23, 8, 1364-1375. 10.1007/s13361-012-0407-x
2011 Sanchez, L., Madurga, S., Pukala, T., Vilaseca, M., Lopez-Iglesias, C., Robinson, C. ... Carulla, N. (2011). Aβ40 and Aβ42 amyloid fibrils exhibit distinct molecular recycling. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133, 17, 6505-6508. 10.1021/ja1117123
2011 Wang, T., Andreazza, H., Pukala, T., Sherman, P., Calabrese, A. & Bowie, J. (2011). Histidine-containing host-defence skin peptides of anurans bind Cu²⁺. An electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry and computational modelling study. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 25, 9, 1209-1221. 10.1002/rcm.4981
2011 Jackway, R., Pukala, T., Donnellan, S., Sherman, P., Tyler, M. & Bowie, J. (2011). Skin peptide and cDNA profiling of Australian anurans: Genus and species identification and evolutionary trends. Peptides, 32, 1, 161-172. 10.1016/j.peptides.2010.09.019
2011 Pukala, T. (2011). Mass spectrometry for structural biology: determining the composition and architecture of protein complexes. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 64, 6, 681-691. 10.1071/CH11025
2011 Liu, Y., Ho, L., Carver, J. & Pukala, T. (2011). Ion mobility mass spectrometry studies of the inhibition of alpha synuclein amyloid fibril formation by (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 64, 1, 36-40. 10.1071/CH10334
2009 Pukala, T., Ruotolo, B., Zhou, M., Politis, A., Stefanescu, R., Leary, J. & Robinson, C. (2009). Subunit architecture of multiprotein assemblies determined using restraints from gas-phase measurements. Structure, 17, 9, 1235-1243. 10.1016/j.str.2009.07.013
2008 Gehman, J., Luc, F., Hall, K., Lee, T., Boland, M., Pukala, T. ... Separovic, F. (2008). Effect of antimicrobial peptides from Australian tree frogs on anionic phospholipid membranes. Biochemistry, 47, 33, 8557-8565. 10.1021/bi800320v
2008 Jackway, R., Pukala, T., Maselli, V., Musgrave, I., Bowie, J., Liu, Y. ... Tyler, M. (2008). Disulfide-containing peptides from the glandular skin secretions of froglets of the genus Crinia: Structure, activity and evolutionary trends. Regulatory Peptides, 151, 1-3, 80-87. 10.1016/j.regpep.2008.06.004
2008 Pukala, T., Urathamakul, T., Watt, S., Beck, J., Jackway, R. & Bowie, J. (2008). Binding studies of nNOS-active amphibian peptides and Ca²⁺ calmodulin, using negative ion electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 22, 22, 3501-3509. 10.1002/rcm.3757
2007 Pukala, T., Doyle, J., Llewellyn, L., Kuhn-Nentwig, L., Sorrell, M., Separovic, F. & Bowie, J. (2007). Cupiennin 1a, an antimicrobial peptide from the venom of the neotropical wandering spider Cupiennius salei, also inhibits the formation of nitric oxide by neuronal nitric oxide synthase. FEBS Journal, 274, 7, 1778-1784. 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2007.05726.x
2007 Pukala, T., Boland, M., Gehman, J., Kuhn-Nentwig, L., Separovic, F. & Bowie, J. (2007). Solution structure and interaction of cupiennin 1a, a spider venom peptide, with phospholipid bilayers. Biochemistry, 46, 11, 3576-3585. 10.1021/bi062306
2006 Pukala, T., Bertozzi, T., Donnellan, S., Bowie, J., Surinya, K., Liu, Y. ... Tyler, M. (2006). Host-defence peptide profiles of the skin secretions of interspecific hybrid tree frogs and their parents, female Litoria splendida and male Litoria caerulea. FEBS Journal, 273, 15, 3511-3519. 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2006.05358.x
2006 Pukala, T., Bowie, J., Maselli, V., Musgrave, I. & Tyler, M. (2006). Host-defence peptides from the glandular secretions of amphibians: structure and activity. Natural Product Reports, 23, 3, 368-393. 10.1039/b512118n
2004 Sorrell, M., Pukala, T., Brinkworth, C., Maselli, V., Bowie, J., Tyler, M. ... Llewellyn, L. (2004). Host-defence peptides of Australian anurans: structure, mechanism of action and evolutionary significance. Peptides, 25, 6, 1035-1054. 10.1016/j.peptides.2004.03.006
2004 Pukala, T., Brinkworth, C., Carver, J. & Bowie, J. (2004). Investigating the importance of the flexible hinge in caerin 1.1: Solution structures and activity of two synthetically modified caerin peptides. Biochemistry, 43, 4, 937-944. 10.1021/bi035760b
2004 Brinkworth, C., Pukala, T., Bowie, J. & Tyler, M. (2004). Host defence peptides from the skin glands of Australian amphibians. Caerulein neuropeptides and antimicrobial, anticancer, and nNOS inhibiting citropins from the glandular frog Litoria subglandulosa.. Australian Journal of Chemistry, 57, 7, 693-701. 10.1071/CH03325

Book Chapters

Year Citation
2013 Pukala, T. (2013). Mass spectrometry: mapping large stable protein complexes. In G. Roberts (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Biophysics (pp. 1422-1429). Germany: Springer. 10.1007/978-3-642-16712-6_187
2009 Doyle, J., Bowie, J., Jackway, R., Llewellyn, L., Pukala, T., Sorrell, M. & Booker, G. (2009). Anuran host-defense peptides that complex with Ca2+ calmodulin and inhibit the synthesis of the cell signalling agent nitric oxide by neuronal nitric oxide synthase. In J. Howl & S. Jones (Eds.), Bioactive Peptides (pp. 315-332). United States: CRC Press.

Conference Papers

Year Citation
2008 Sanchez, L., Pukala, T., Zhou, M., Vilaseca, M., Carulla, N. L. & Giralt, E. (2008). Structure and dynamic characterization of beta A aggregates using HID exchange experiments by mass spectrometry.
2008 Sanchez-Torner, L., Pukala, T., Vilaseca, M., Robinson, C., Giralt, E. & Carulla, N. (2008). Recycling in A beta(1-42) amyloid fibrils.
2007 Gehman, J. D., Boland, M. P., Pukala, T. L., Bowie, J. H. & Separovic, F. (2007). Membrane interactions of antimicrobial peptides from Australian tree frogs.. 51st Annual Meeting of the Biophysical-Society. Baltimore, MD.

Conference Items

Year Citation
2015 Smid, S., Das, S., Musgrave, I. & Pukala, T. (2015). Bioactive polyphenol interactions with beta amyloid: a comparison of binding, fibril inhibition and neuroprotection. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society. Cairns, AUSTRALIA.

Australian Research Council
2017-19:  ARC Discovery Project (DP170102033)
T Pukala and A Politis. Mass spectrometry to reveal the role of lipids in protein misfolding, $324K

2011-13:  ARC Discovery Project (DP110100496)
T Pukala. Structural and functional investigations of the human transcription machinery by ion mobility mass spectrometry, $340K

2010-12:  ARC Discovery Project (DP1093143)
T Pukala and J Bowie. Novel mass spectrometric approaches to the study of protein-protein interactions, $360K

2013:  ARC LIEF (LE130100199)
P Hoffmann, T Chataway, J Bowie, G Fincher, M Brown, T Pukala, C Franco, D Keating, D Brooks, L Cosgrove, K Fung, M Herderich, W Hines.  Establishment of the peptide and protein quantitation centre of South Australia: PAPQuaC-SA, $475K

2012:  ARC LIEF (LE120100181)
L Botten, D Leinweber, L Radom, J Gready, M England, A Mark, H Blackburn, A Hogg, C Jakob, A Pitman, BJ Powell, K Rasmussen, L Moresi, A Yu, M Knackstedt, M Bilek, M Ragan, B Schmidt, R Muller, T Pukala, J Sori, C Turney, K Hourigan, D Adelson, R Khanna, J Denier, B Pailthorpe. Strengthened merit-based access and support at the new NCI petascale supercomputing facility, $650K

Other
2016-2018:  The Australia & Pacific Science Foundation
S Petit, T Pukala, R Schumann, A Naikatini, A Scanlon. Unique pollination system of an important rainforest tree involving obligate manipulation by bats, $45K

2016-17: University of Adelaide Interdisciplinary Research Fund
V Bulone, T Pukala, A Zannettino, C Doonan, C Sumby. An interdisciplinary research program to map the protein-glycan interactome of key eukaryotic
cellular systems: interfacing biophysics and chemistry with cancer research, microbiology and plant sciences
, $25K

2016: University of Adelaide Faculty of Sciences eLearning Program
NM Williamson, TL Pukala, CJ Doonan.  Development of level II chemistry online assessment and student feedback. $7K

2013-14: University of Adelaide Interdisciplinary Research Fund
I Musgrave, S Smid, L O’Keefe, T Pukala. Structure function relationships of antiamyloid drugs: verification in an in-vivo model, $21K

2013-14: University of Adelaide Interdisciplinary Research Fund
T Pukala and M Fuller. Mass spectrometric approaches to characterise alpha-synuclein-glucosylsphingosine interations: application to the Parkinsonian Syndrome, $25K

Teaching interests include:

Biological structure determination
Mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy
Biological and synthetic organic chemistry
Physical organic chemistry
Foundations of chemistry

See http://physsci.adelaide.edu.au/pukala/people/ for research group members and alumni.

Memberships

Date Role Membership Country
2009 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Biophysics Australia
2005 - ongoing Member Royal Australian Chemical Institute Australia
2004 - ongoing Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry Australia

Committee Memberships

Date Role Committee Institution Country
2011 - ongoing Member Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry Executive Committee Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry Australia

Editorial Boards

Date Role Editorial Board Name Country
2017 - ongoing Editor European Journal of Mass Spectrometry
2013 - ongoing Board Member Nature Scientific Reports United States
Position
Senior Lecturer
Phone
83135497
Fax
8313 4380
Campus
North Terrace
Building
Badger
Room Number
2 22
Org Unit
Chemistry

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