Dr Gautham Balaji

Dr Gautham Balaji is a structural biologist characterising the protein-ligand structures of fatty-acid binding protein (FABPs) using X-ray crystallography.

He completed a Bachelor of Biotechnology with honours at Monash University and undertook his PhD in the Rossjohn laboratory at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. During his PhD, Gautham worked on elucidating the roles of natural killer (NK) cell receptor proteins from the innate immune system. For his postdoc, he transitioned to adaptive T-cell mediated immunity and how CD1 molecules present lipid antigens.

Gautham was awarded a Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute PhD poster prize and won the Department of Biochemistry Three-minute thesis (3MT) competition during his studies. He also presented his research at many international and national conferences such the European Congress of Immunology (ECI), Crystal 33 and SCANZ.

“I love structural biology and uncovering protein structures. And we are in a unique position in Melbourne in that we have the Australian Synchrotron on our doorstep which allows us to rapidly go rapidly from crystals to structures.”

When he is not working in medicinal chemistry, NMR or mass spectrometry, Gautham enjoyes rock climbing or taking his greyhound for a walk.