- Professor Stephen Mahler
- Dr Martina Jones
- Nancy Eluigwe
- Professor Ross Barnard
- Associate Professor Mathias Francois
- Professor Peter Gray
- Dr Christopher Howard
- Professor Linda Lua
- Dr. Lucia Zacchi
- Dr Benjamin Schulz
- Professor Paul Young
- Dr Esteban Marcellin Saldana
- Dr Cristiana Dal’Molin
- Dr. Veronica Martinez Salazar
- Dr Xuan Bui
- Jessica Heinemann
- Mallory Daleris
- Dr Christian Fercher
- Dr Gary Shooter
- Professor Trent Munro
Professor Stephen Mahler specialises in research and development of biologic medicines.
Professor Stephen Mahler is a Senior Group Leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology and Director of the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation (CBI), University of Queensland. Professor Mahler is a biotechnologist with a focus on R&D of recombinant-DNA derived protein biopharmaceuticals, drug delivery systems and nanomedicines. Professor Mahler has a record of translational research success and engages extensively with industry associated with the biomedical sciences both nationally and internationally.
Research within CBI covers three thematic research areas; discovery of new biopharmaceuticals, engineering cells for production of protein-based biopharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing for industrial production. A current research interest is at the interface of the life sciences and materials science, using a synthetic biology approach for creating novel therapeutic entities as well as new systems for drug delivery.
Professor Mahler has a strong interest in education and training and was formerly Head of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Plan at the University of Queensland (2010-2016). Other educational initiatives include development of Masters Programs and a Continuing Professional Development program in the area of biopharmaceuticals. The CPD program is available to stakeholders in the industry, both in Australia and internationally.
Dr Martina Jones’s research interests lie in the discovery and engineering of monoclonal antibodies for research and therapeutic use. She completed a PhD at The University of Queensland studying the application of engineered antibodies as reagents in diagnostic ELISAs. She then took up the role of research officer in the National Biologics Facility (NBF) at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, and now is Operations Manager for the Facility. She established phage display technology as a capability at NBF, and assists researchers around Australia in using the Facility’s capabilities for antibody discovery, protein manufacturing and process development. She is also Deputy Director of the ARC Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation. This Centre will train a new generation of industry-ready PhD students and early-career researchers in the areas of antibody discovery and biomanufacturing.
Nancy is a results-driven professional with over 10 years extensive experience in management and leadership positions.
Her experience encompasses the areas of operational and strategic management, Human Resources management, financial management & reporting, industry engagement, business development, project management and delivery.
Nancy is passionate about leadership and delivery of innovative research that is relevant to industry and building long-term strategic business partnerships in a challenging environment.
Professor Ross Barnard’s research includes infectious disease diagnostics, and developing new technologies for detecting infections. These range from assays to developing a new real-time PCR technology. Professor Barnard also studies antibody engineering for diagnostic and treatment applications, particularly using antibody fragments to identify and target antigens, substances that cause the immune system to produce antibodies against it.
- Fellow of the Australian Society for Microbiology
- Doctor of Science, The University of Queensland
- Fellow of the National Academy of Clinical Biochem
- Postgraduate Diploma in Education, The University of Queensland
- Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
- Bachelor of Science (Hons), Monash University
- Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne
Dr Mat Francois a molecular geneticist specialised in transcription factor biology in embryonic development and inflammation.
Mat’s PhD (awarded in 2004) focused on the role of nuclear receptors PPARs in the control of the inflammatory reaction during osteoarthritis. In 2005, he moved to IMB’s Koopman Group to study the role of SOX transcription factor in the control of lymphatic vessel development.
Mat launched his independent research career based on the discovery of the role of the transcription factor SOX18 as a molecular switch to induce the embryonic development of the lymphatic vessels. Following up on that finding, he’s been awarded with the ASMR Queensland Premier’s award in 2009 and a UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award in 2011.
In September 2011, Mat set up his lab to focus on the initial step of endothelial cell specification and the molecular hierarchy that governs this differentiation program during embryogenesis. Recently he received a CDA (Career Development Award) to elucidate the role of SOX protein in the modulation of the lymphatic and blood vascular growth that control tumour metastasis.
Mat’s strategic approach to research is now based on the combination of developmental biology and the use of pathophysiological models (e.g. cancer metastasis and lymphoedema) in combination with a drug discovery pipeline to identify novel therapeutic approaches to block cancer metastasis and manipulate transcription factor activity.
Professor Peter Gray is a pioneer of biotechnology research and development in Australia. In 2003 he was appointed AIBN’s inaugural Director and has since overseen the institute’s growth to 450 people and an annual turnover of $40million. Before joining AIBN, he was Professor and Head of Biotechnology at UNSW.
Professor Gray has held academic positions at University College London and the University of California, Berkeley. He has had commercial experience in the US, working for Eli Lilly and Co and the Cetus Corporation. His research collaborations include groups at Stanford University; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
He serves on several boards and government committees. He is on the board of Engineering Conferences International, New York, a group that runs global, multi-disciplinary engineering conferences, many of which have played key roles in developing emerging industry sectors. The conferences include cell culture engineering; vaccine technology; and scale-up and manufacturing of cell-based therapies. Professor Gray also serves on the board of Biopharmaceuticals Australia Pty Ltd, the company established to build a GMP grade biopharmaceuticals manufacturing facility in Brisbane, and has been heavily involved in negotiations that led to DSM Biologics becoming the facility’s operator.
Professor Gray is a Fellow and Vice-President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has chaired, served on organising committees for, and given plenary and keynote addresses at many key international conferences. In 2006 he attracted to Sydney and chaired the International Biotechnology Symposium – the first time a conference in the four-yearly series was held in the southern hemisphere. Professor Gray is a founder and past president of the Australian Biotechnology Association (Ausbiotech).
Professor Gray has graduated more than 60 PhD students from his research group, in fields including secondary metabolite bioprocesses; bioconversion of cellulosic substrates; mammalian cell expression of complex proteins; nanoparticles for drug delivery; and the development of stem-cell based bioprocesses. He has twice been listed by Engineers Australia among the top 100 most influential engineers in Australia, and in 2001 was awarded the Australian Government’s Centenary Medal.
Dr Chris Howard is a Senior Research Fellow in Biotechnology at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. Dr Howard has expertise in protein and antibody based technologies. Dr Howard has considerable experience in protein purification and characterisation using a range of analytical techniques and methodologies. Dr Howard will have input into analytical methodologies utilised for investigating comparability of recombinant proteins.
- Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland University of Technology
Professor Linda Lua, founding director of the UQ Protein Expression Facility (PEF); leads a team of research specialists, producing high-quality synthetic proteins to enable and support discovery and translational research. She is internationally recognised for her research-enabling technologies to produce products that range from simple biomolecules to complex biomolecular assemblies such as multi-protein virus-like particles. Applying her expertise, she researches into vaccine technology to address vaccine manufacturing challenges which translated into patented technology platforms. Assoc. Prof. Lua has initiated and led significant industry engagements, both nationally and internationally. Her project management portfolio also includes projects from 16 Universities across Australia as well as public and private research institutes.
Prof. Lua’s vision and leadership has established PEF as the leading protein production facility in Australia. Together with her high performing team, she has worked on hundreds of proteins for diverse applications in the areas of structural biology and chemistry, drug screening and discovery, vaccine development and delivery, protein therapeutics, functionalised material, biomedical imaging and agricultural science. She has also developed training programs within the Facility to upskill research students and staff. The Protein Expression Facility has a global reputation for excellence and was awarded the 2016 UQ Award for Excellence in Service and the Chancellor’s Award for Team Excellence in 2013. These awards are recognitions and testaments to Prof. Lua’s exemplary leadership.
POSTDOC – CSL CHARACTERISATION PROJECTS
Dr Lucía Zacchi is a molecular biologist and genetic engineer. Her research aims to characterize the molecular machinery involved in the secretory pathway and to engineer this machinery for biomedical and biotechnological applications. Her focus is on the processes of protein glycosylation, secretion, and degradation. She employs a variety of techniques, including mass spectrometry proteomics, genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology to study mammalian cells, the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Baker’s yeast), and bodily fluids and organs. At CBI Dr Zacchi is engineering bioprocesses and cell lines to optimise the production of biotherapeutic glycoproteins.
Dr Zacchi graduated from Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto (Argentina) and the University of Minnesota (USA), and is a Fulbright and an Endeavour alumna.
Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, University of Minnesota
I graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering and Science in 2000 from The University of Queensland, after which I joined Proteome Systems, an Australian biotechnology company. In 2004 I moved to the ETH Zurich in Switzerland for my doctoral studies. I joined the School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences as a University of Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellow in 2008 and NHMRC Career Development Fellow in 2012. I am now an NHMRC Career Development Fellow and Senior Lecturer.
My group’s research interests encompass the molecular biology and immunopathology of medically important viral infections including Ebola. Current studies are focussed on two different viruses; dengue virus, a serious mosquito-borne disease in many tropical countries, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a major cause of hospitalization of children with respiratory infections.
The primary goals of our research are the development of vaccine and anti-viral strategies for the control of infections as well as a clearer understanding of the pathogenesis of severe disease.
Current projects in my laboratory include:
- Structural biology based studies on the dengue virus proteins, NS3 (the viral protease) and E (a virion surface protein involved in cell binding and entry) and the RSV protein F (the viral fusion protein) as targets for antiviral drug design
- Sub-unit and DNA based vaccines for the dengue viruses
- Molecular pathogenesis of severe dengue disease (in particular, the consequences of dengue virus infection of host macrophages and the induction of mediators of vascular leak)
- Design and delivery of ribozymes (catalytic RNAs) to the respiratory tract as an antiviral strategy for RSV infections
These projects involve the application of a range of techniques covering a number of disciplines including molecular biology, immunology, biotechnology, molecular cell biology, protein biochemistry and structural biology.
Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
Bachelor of Science, Instituto Quimico de Sarria
Dr. Cristiana G.O Dal’Molin is a Brazilian Bioengineer, Lecturer and Coordinator of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Program of the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland. She is also project leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. Dr. Dal’Molin is internationally and nationally recognised for her pioneer contributions to the areas of genome-scale reconstruction and metabolic modelling of plants and algae. Dr. Dal’Molin is the developer and creator of open source metabolic models (AraGEM, C4GEM and AlgaGEM) used by industry and scientific community to investigate metabolism of crops and algae.
Her expertises are metabolic engineering, genome-scale metabolic reconstruction, multi-tissue modelling, fluxomics, pathway analysis of complex organisms and poor characterized microbiome. Dr. Dal’Molin research integrates high-throughput data sets generated by modern omics technologies with metabolic network reconstructions to study the complexity of biological systems.
POSTDOC – PATHEON UPSTREAM BIOPROCESSING PROJECTS
Dr Verónica is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation (CBI), Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland, under the supervision of Prof. Steve Mahler. She received her Biotechnology Engineering degree at the University of Chile, and completed her PhD in Systems Biology at The University of Queensland. Her research focused in the study of mammalian cell metabolism. More especifically in the integration of thermodynamic principles and omics datasets into Genome Scale Models to estimate metabolic flux distributions. In particular, she is interested in the development of computational tools for metabolic systems biology and improvement of perfusion systems.
Doctor of Philosophy in Systems Biology, The University of Queensland
POSTDOC – AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS BLOOD SERVICE PROJECTS
Dr Bui’s Ph.D thesis project was focused on the interaction between bacterial food-borne pathogens and host cells. And then, Xuan spent three years at Osaka University working as a postdoctoral research fellow, where he worked with bacterial effector proteins that can build functional networks and can be finely turned over time according the stages of infection. He applied a cutting-edge combination of microbial genetics, molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, and animal models to explore how bacterial effector proteins manipulate host cells during infection.
Before joining CBI, Xuan worked at Stephen Sanig Research Institute (SSRI), where worked on development of monoclonal antibodies for various cancers. He successfully developed and designed a new platform to express high levels of monoclonal antibodies in in vitro system at SSRI. Xuan possesses advanced practical and technical knowledge, experience and skills coupled with a passion for the therapeutic innovation research areas, especially discovery of novel drugs and monoclonal antibodies, aiming to build for his successful research at CBI.
Ph.D in Molecular Microbiology, Technical University of Denmark.
Jessica began her career as a researcher with a Bachelor of Biomolecular Science from Griffith University and an Honours degree in Applied Science from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) at QUT. She commenced a PhD at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at UQ before leaving the lab to pursue her passion for Science Communication. She completed a specialist Masters degree in Science Communication Outreach with the Shell Questacon Science Circus at ANU. Jessica has delivered Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives internationally and across Australia in a variety of formats to diverse audiences. Working for institutions including the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and UNSW, she has gained extensive experience and expertise in the field. As Science Communications Coordinator for CBI Jessica will be driving the Centre’s training and science outreach into industry and within the community.
Mallory graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours. Her honours project looked at the role of a redox protein, thioredoxin, in metastatic breast cancer and the understanding hypoxia in solid mass tumours.
During her career as a research assistant, Mallory has developed a large range of molecular biology techniques over several projects from malaria to skin cancer to scabies. She will be supporting both NBF and CBI as a research assistant as projects arise.
POSTDOC – CSL DISCOVERY PROJECTS
Dr Christian Fercher is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Protein Engineering at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. He did his PhD in protein crystallography in Graz, Austria studying bacterial type 4 secretion systems and human antibodies before moving to Australia. He was since been involved in the generation and production of antibody fusion proteins for various therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. He employs a variety of techniques to develop and characterise novel antibodies and fragments thereof making use of an in-house antibody discovery platform. He also focuses on new techniques to deliver antibodies and other proteins intracellularly to exploit a whole new world of therapeutic targets.
Doctor of Philosophy in Structural Biology and Biomedicine
POSTDOC – PATHEON/GE HEALTHCARE DOWNSTREAM PROJECTS
Dr Gary Shooter is a protein chemist with broad industry and university-based translational research experience from discovery, establishment of GMP manufacturing processes through to implementation of Phase 2 clinical trials. His research interests at the ARC Training Centre for Biopharmaceutical Innovation focus on downstream process intensification. Specifically, his research investigates the integration of membrane-based separations and the development of continuous downstream processing strategies to improve throughput and reduce the costs associated with biomanufacturing.
Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry, Adelaide University
Professor Trent Munro is currently a Senior Group Leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at The University of Queensland where he is Director of the National Biologics Facility and Program Director for the CEPI funded Vaccine Rapid Response pipeline. Prior to this he was Executive Director of Process Development at Amgen Inc., based in Thousand Oaks, California. Trent joined Amgen in 2013 and led analytical process development for the early stage clinical pipeline across all modalities. Before joining Amgen Dr Munro was an Associate Group Leader and Queensland Government Smart Futures Fellow at the AIBN. Dr Munro has a PhD in Protein Biochemistry from UQ and completed postdoctoral studies in cell biology and developmental genetics at the Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School and at the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge.