Michael Parker

Research

Michael Parker is a University of Melbourne Honorary Professorial Fellow affiliated with the Bio21 Institute. The focus of Professor Michael Parker's research is to understand the three-dimensional structures of medically important proteins using X-ray crystallography. Particularly proteins that play a role in infection (bacterial, parasitic or viral), cancer and neurobiology (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy).

The structures that result provide a detailed understanding of how each protein works and how it contributes to disease. Most importantly, the structures can be used to discover drugs using computational approaches. Our work is supported by labs that specialise in protein expression, purification and electrophysiology.

Techniques 

Protein X-ray crystallography; structure-based drug design; electrophysiology; cloning, expression and purification of proteins

Biography

Professor Michael Parker is Deputy Director of St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne where he is heads its Structural Biology Laboratory and the ACRF Rational Drug Discovery Centre. He is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and a Professorial Fellow at the Bio21 Institute, Melbourne University. After obtaining his D. Phil. in protein crystallography from Oxford University, Michael took up the post of staff scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany. In 1991 Michael returned to Australia as a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow to re-establish a protein crystallography laboratory at St. Vincent’s. The work of the laboratory is internationally recognised with the determination of more than 100 crystal structures including those of membrane-associating proteins, detoxifying enzymes and protein kinases. This work has provided insights into a number of diseases such as cancer, bacterial and viral infections, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. He collaborates closely with leading Australian biotechnology companies including Biota and CSL and with international Pharmaceutical companies Cancer Research Technology UK and Servier. He has published almost 300 papers and his work has been recognised with numerous awards including the 1999 Gottschalk Medal of the Australian Academy of Science, a 2006 Federation Fellowship from the Australian Research Council, the 2011 Lemberg Medal of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the 2011 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research and the 2012 Federation of Asian and Oceanian Biochemists and Molecular Biologists Award for Research Excellence. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2010.