International placements started

CFBD members Karol Sanches, Yildiz Tasdan and Jack Phelps (all Monash) have started their international placements as part of their ARC scholarships. While Karol has already completed her placement with TetraGenetics in Boston (USA), Yildiz and Jack are working at Vernalis in the UK. Here, Jack talks about his experience during his first couple of weeks:

“How time flies! It still feels like yesterday that I was saying goodbye to Melbourne and flying home to the UK to start my placement at Vernalis, Cambridge. I’ve now somehow been here for 3 months and am loving the experience of working in the industry. Of course, there are similarities (every day starts with coffee before setting up experiments), but also many notable differences. As expected (but slightly annoyingly) there’s a real sense that money, not discoveries themselves, is the driving force behind each project here, and when talking about my work it’s difficult to describe the end goal in terms of industry buyouts (which feels a long way off yet!). On a more personal note, the most exciting difference for me is on the technology side: All the columns are automatic and can be monitored remotely from your desk! Luckily, this is the case in protein purification too, as I’ve become much more of a biologist over the past couple of months. This brings me to the other major new experience in industry – not having to make up LB or wash/autoclave your own glassware! Call it laziness if you’d like, but I prefer to think of it as more time to spend doing the science… As well as protein science, I’ve also been fortunate enough to model protein sequences using AlphaFold and to start exploring crystallography.
All this being said though, I’m still missing the people at MIPS that kept me going during my PhD. With all the new helpful technicians and processes, there’s no substitute for the community of students and the city of Melbourne.”, Jack Phelps (Monash)

We will post more updates from Karol and Yildiz soon. Stay tuned! 

Congratulations to Dr Stefan Nebl

We are delighted to announce that Dr Stefan Nebl from the Scanlon group at Monash University has been conferred the award Doctor Of Philosophy on 8 December 2022. Congratulations, Stefan!

Stefan’s thesis is titled: NMR-Based Structural And Dynamic Characterization Of Bacterial Dsb Enzymes To Support Fragment-Based Drug Design, makes a distinct and significant contribution to knowledge.

We are very thrilled and can’t wait to hear about his future endeavours.

New paper out! CFBD alumna publishes work on fragment screening libraries

CFBD alumna Dr Rebecca Whitehouse published her paper “Fragment screening libraries for the identification of protein hot spots and their minimal binding pharmacophores” in RSC Medicinal Chemistry this week.


Fragment-based drug design relies heavily on structural information for the elaboration and optimisation of hits. The ability to identify neighbouring binding hot spots, energetically favourable interactions and conserved binding motifs in protein structures through X-ray crystallography can inform the evolution of fragments into lead-like compounds through structure-based design. The composition of fragment libraries can be designed and curated to fit this purpose and herein, we describe and compare screening libraries containing compounds comprising between 2 and 18 heavy atoms. We evaluate the properties of the compounds in these libraries and assess their ability to probe protein surfaces for binding hot spots.

Last CFBD Seminar Series for 2023

Join us for the November edition of the CFBD Seminar Series. A/Prof Anders Bach from the University of Copenhagen will give a talk on Targeting Protein-Protein Interactions Involved in Oxidative Stress using Fragment-Based Drug Discovery.

Great success for CFBD members at FBDD DU 2022

The 2022 FBDD DU Conference proved to be a huge success for CFBD members. We heard fantastic presentations from the plenary speakers and fascinating stories from the presenters with a good number of Centre members represented. We saw brilliant posters and made new connections during the networking sessions. Adding to this, our members hit the jackpot with the FBDD DU presentation prizes. Congratulations to:

  • Louise Sternicki (Griffith) for winning the Best ECR Oral Presentation Award
  • Jeyan Osman (Monash) for winning the Best Student Presentation Award
  • Yildiz Tasdan (Monash) for winning the Student Presentation – Runner-Up Award
  • Max Lumetzberger (Monash) for winning the Best Poster Presentation Award
  • Evgenia Konstantinidou (Monash) for winning the Poster Presentation – Runner-Up Award

Success at the RACI 2022 National Congress

The Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) is the national professional body for chemists in industry, academia and government and is the primary voice of chemistry in Australia. Every five years the RACI holds a national Congress, with the RACI 2022 National Congress held from 3 to 8 July in Brisbane. This was a significant meeting (last held in 2017) with 1,148 people registered to attend, 615 speakers, 21 exhibitors, 12 sponsors and 325 poster presentations.  

The CFBD members were heavily involved in the fabric of this significant meeting. CI Prof Sally-Ann Poulsen (Griffith Uni) was on the RACI2022 Congress Organising Committee and was Symposium Chair of the 4-day Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology Symposium (the largest of all the Symposiums within the Congress). CI Prof Michael Kassiou (Uni Sydney) and Dr Louise Sternicki (Griffith Uni) were invited speakers, with Dr Luke Adams (Monash) and PhD Candidate Ashley Taylor (Monash) giving contributed talks and PhD Candidate Jamie Currie (Monash)- together showcasing the breadth of ARC CFBD research, while ARC CFBD Chief Investigators, ECRs and PhD candidates from the three universities and several of our industry partners were well represented.  We were fortunate to have a catch-up dinner during the Congress – meeting face-2-face for the first time and a lot of laughs to be had. ‘The First Scientists’ artwork for the Congress is by Artist Steven Bekue. 

Fellowship for David Hilko (Griffith Uni)

Congratulations to Centre Affiliate Dr David Hilko (Griffith Uni) on the award of a Bridge and BridgeTech Industry Fellowship Placement through the MTPConnect QUT (Queensland University of Technology) David will work on site with GRIDD’s industry partner A/Prof Rakesh N. Veedu founder of SynGenis, a Western Australian based company that works in the exciting oligonucleotide research space.

The Bridge and BridgeTech Industry Fellowship Placement

The Bridge and BridgeTech Industry Fellowships, facilitated by QUT and funded by MTPConnect’s Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative for the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund, provide up to $10,000 to support the placement of participants and alumni of the Bridge Program and BridgeTech Program within industry. More on the program can be found here.