Environment Institute member, Dr Fiona Whelan will present ‘From biofilm to sensor biology‘ at the next Waite Research Institute Seminar.
Join us for this exciting seminar. Dr Fiona Whelan is a member of the Environment Institute.
Date: Thursday 3rd June 2021
Location: Charles Hawker Building, Waite Road, Urrbrae
Dr Fiona Whelan completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide in 2009 and relocated to the UK as a postdoctoral researcher working on the structural and biophysical characterisation of disease associated viral, bacterial and human proteins at the York Structural Biology Laboratory.
Working with Prof. Jennifer Potts, Dr Whelan determined X-ray crystal structures and small angle X-ray scattering profiles of Gram-positive surface proteins associated with host adhesion and protein-dependent biofilm formation, revealing an elegant minimalist solution to formation of highly extended fibrillar monomeric proteins. These thin, elongated protein structures are now being used in combination with synthetic coiled-coils as simple scaffolds for protein engineering of self-assembling nano-rods.
Dr Whelan concurrently investigated the membrane bound polysaccharide synthesis machinery of S. aureus, the ‘Ica’ intercellular adhesin locus responsible for polysaccharide dependent biofilm formation, leading to a study of the two-component sensor system that regulates this locus. Returning to the University of Adelaide, this work inspired Dr Whelan’s current research on small molecule binding proteins and evolution of binding specificity for targeted development of biosensors, for which she was awarded the Ramsay Fellowship in Applied Science.