Faculty of Science

School of Molecular Sciences

A selection of current projects in the School is listed here.

We welcome you to discuss other research project ideas with us. To do this:
Domestic students can contact the Graduate Research Coordinator in the School or Centre in which you wish to undertake research.
International students can use our online enquiry form, which helps us match your research interests with a potential supervisor.

Human milk metabolomics and environmental contaminants
Our overarching research goal is to understand how external influences (for example the environment and milk handling) change the components in human milk and whether these changes influence infants' health.
Genome mining of virulent small molecules in human fungal pathogens
Using a combination of functional genomics and chemical/synthetic biology tools, this project aims to discover novel biological active compounds from fungal plant pathogens and investigate their roles in causing plant diseases.
Smoke alarm: Discovering new signalling compounds that operate in plants
Some chemicals released from smoke stimulate seed germination. Despite the fact that most plant species never experience fire, all plants have the genetic machinery to sense these chemicals. Why? We hypothesise that there are new compounds of biological origin with similar activity that are waiting to be discovered.
Exploiting chemical signals to boost plant performance
Combining molecular biology, traditional genetics and plant physiology, this project will investigate the function of a hormone-like signalling pathway that plants use to regulate seed germination and water use efficiency.
Synthetic biology tools for biosynthesis of small molecules
The production of bioactive small molecules in microorganisms involves orchestrating multiple genes encoding various biosynthetic enzymes.
Secondary metabolite biosynthesis in plant pathogens
Using a combination of functional genomics and chemical/synthetic biology tools, this project aims to discover novel biological active compounds from fungal plant pathogens and investigate their roles in causing plant diseases.
Unique components of human milk
Trace metals and synthetic contaminants are not synthesised by the lactocyte and yet have enormous potential to influence the growth and development of infants.  Our research group seeks to discover new components of human milk, and to advance the scientific accuracy of human milk analysis.
Computational antioxidant design
This project will design novel bio-inspired antioxidants that specifically target oxidative stress occurring in many chronic diseases.
Probing the roles bacteria play in infant health
Projects described here will be to design and synthesize molecules of interest for use in biological studies with the beneficial bacteria to understand how these bacteria process these important oligosaccharides.
Tackling carbohydrate-processing enzymes head on
The projects in this research area will investigate a wide variety of enzymes ranging from those in humans that have been implicated in cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, dysfunction of carbohydrate metabolism and neurological diseases, to those in bacteria that are involved in antibiotic resistance and correct digestion.
Revealing the structural basis of gene regulation in paraspeckles
This project uses the tools of structural and molecular biology to investigate the protein:protein interactions central to gene regulation. Disturbances in these processes can lead to serious conditions including cancer. We aim to better comprehend the molecular basis of these changes, and so develop targets for use in rational drug development.
Molecular components for electronics and Moore
This project will explore the molecular chemistry and single molecule conductance measurements that will allow us to take steps along the road toward a hybrid molecular electronic technology.
Hunting for new herbicides: The human connection
A connection between plants and drugs made for human has led to the discovery of new herbicidal compounds, which this project will evaluate using a model plant system and by employing genetic, biochemical and physiological approaches.
Protein scissors that evolved to glue: The mechanism for a ligating endoprotease
This project will study the details of a protease existing in the common sunflower, by making it in bacteria, purifying it and examining its properties in vitro. We will also endeavour to understand what changes in sequence allowed this protease to cut as well as join proteins.