My undergraduate study was in the field of exercise and sport science where I found a passion for understanding the allosteric regulation of metabolic enzymes. I went on to complete an Honours year and a PhD in the laboratory of world-renowned kinase biology researcher Professor Bruce Kemp studying the structure and function of a key metabolic regulator called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). At the completion of my PhD, I spent 18 months doing CRO work for an international commercial therapeutics organisation that was interested in engineering immune proteins. I was an integral part of a small team of three where we expressed, refolded, purified and biophysically characterised over 100 proteins. Since finishing up this commercial project I have been working on a wide range of academic and commercial projects.

The primary academic arm of my research involves leading a project investigating the structure and function of AMPK, an enzyme central to the regulation of energy metabolism and a key therapeutic target for treating metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease, as well as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. To address my research questions, I apply a broad array of techniques ranging from protein expression and purification, enzyme assays, thermal shift assays and mass spectrometry to name a few.

Selected publications

Ashley J Ovens, Yi Sing Gee, Naomi XY Ling, Dingyi Yu, Justin P Hardee, Jin D Chung, Kevin RW Ngoei, Nicholas J Waters, Nolan J Hoffman, John W Scott, Kim Loh, Katrin Spengler, Regine Heller, Michael W Parker, Gordon S Lynch, Fei Huang, Sandra Galic, Bruce E Kemp, Jonathan B Baell, Jonathan S Oakhill, Christopher G Langendorf (2022). Structure-function analysis of the AMPK activator SC4 and identification of a potent pan AMPK activator. Biochemical Journal. 479 (11), p. 1181-1204

Ashley J. Ovens, John W. Scott, Christopher G. Langendorf, Bruce E. Kemp, Jonathan S. Oakhill and William J. Smiles Post-translational modifications of the energy guardian AMP-activated protein kinase (Review), International Journal of Molecular Sciences DOI: 10.3390/ijms22031229

Philipp Rhein, Eric M. Desjardins, Ping Rong, Danial Ahwazi, Nicolas Bonhoure,   Jens Stolte, Matthieu D. Santos, Ashley J. Ovens, Amy M. Ehrlich, José L. Sanchez Garcia, Qian Ouyang, Mads F. Kjolby, Mathieu Membrez, Niels Jessen, Jonathan S. Oakhill, Jonas T. Treebak, Pascal Maire, John W. Scott,   Matthew J. Sanders, Patrick Descombes, Shuai Chen, Gregory R. Steinberg and Kei Sakamoto, Compound- and fiber type-selective requirement of AMPKg3 for insulin-independent glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, Molecular Metabolism DOI: 10.1016/j.molmet.2021.101228

Danial Ahwazi, Katyayanee Neopane, Greg R. Markby, Franziska Kopietz, Ashley J. Ovens, Morten Dall, Anna S. Hassing, Pamina Graesle, Yazeed Alshuweishi, Jonas T. Treebak, Ian P. Salt, Olga Göransson, Elton Zeqiraj, John W. Scott and Kei Sakamoto, Investigation of the specificity and mechanism of action of the ULK1/AMPK inhibitor SBI-0206965, Biochemical Journal DOI: 10.1042/bcj20210284

Kevin R.W. Ngoei*, Christopher G. Langendorf*, Naomi X.Y. Ling, Ashfaqul Hoque, Swapna Varghese, Michelle A. Camerino, Scott R. Walker, Ylva E. Bozikis, Toby A. Dite, Ashley J. Ovens, William J. Smiles, Roxane Jacobs, He Huang, Michael W. Parker, John W. Scott, Mark H. Rider, Richard C. Foitzik, Bruce E. Kemp, Jonathan B. Baell and Jonathan S. Oakhill, Structural determinants for small-molecule activation of skeletal muscle AMPK α2β2γ1 by the glucose importagog SC4, Cell Chemical Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2018.03.008

Toby A. Dite, Christopher G. Langendorf, Ashfaqul Hoque, Sandra Galic, Richard J. Rebello, Ashley J. Ovens, Lisa M. Lindqvist, Kevin R.W. Ngoei, Naomi X.Y. Ling, Luc Furic, Bruce E. Kemp, John W. Scott and Jonathan S. Oakhill, AMP-activated protein kinase selectively inhibited by the type II inhibitor SBI-0206965, Journal of Biological Chemistry DOI:10.1074/jbc.RA118.003547