I had a great time and immensely enjoyed the opportunity to develop skills in many areas including synthesis, analytical chemistry and biochemistry.
I completed a BSc with Honours mid-2003 with majors in Chemistry and Pharmacology following my interest in bioactive chemicals and treatment of disease. After completing Honours, I decided to continue further studies and enrolled in a PhD program in Organic Chemistry in the field of drug design, development and testing with the aim to generate new antibacterial compounds. I had a great time and immensely enjoyed the opportunity to develop skills in many areas including synthesis, analytical chemistry and biochemistry.
After completing my PhD, in 2009 I moved fields into bio-analytical mass spectrometry and was employed by Metabolomics Australia (MA) at the University of Melbourne as a Post-Doctoral Analytical Chemist. The technique of metabolomics aims to measure as many metabolites (chemicals) as possible at once in any biological system, then use bioinformatics to make sense of the data generated. The work at MA has been varied, very interesting and has led to productive collaborations with a wide array of researchers. To name but a few projects, I have worked on Florida Scrub Jays, assorted disease models in mice and rats, the distribution of cyanide-forming cyanogenic glycosides in a range of plant species, explored malaria in the mosquito, and examined other parasites and drugs in different model systems!
Through MA, I have had many opportunities, including being awarded international collaboration grants enabling several overseas trips to Europe and the United States, and several Early Career Researcher grants which have enabled the development of my own research. More recently, I took on the Project Lead for installation of an advanced MALDI-FT-ICR mass spectrometer, and I have been actively involved in developing the field of MALDI Imaging Mass Spectrometry at the University of Melbourne. Imaging Mass Spectrometry measures the spatial distribution of chemicals, drugs and metabolites in thin sections of tissues, allowing localization of these species to tissue types or even single cells. By localizing metabolites and drugs to specific locations we can learn much about their function or metabolism in biological systems. Throughout these endeavours, my deep knowledge base and background in chemistry has been invaluable and has provided a unique window into the Biosciences enabling me to conduct ongoing and advanced analytical research.