Protein crystallography; structure-based drug design; cancer; infection; neurobiology

My research focuses on three disease areas: cancer, infection (bacterial toxins, parasites and viruses) and neurological diseases neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s diseases, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome).

My laboratory’s aim is to understand the function of key proteins at a molecular level and to discover small molecules that alter the function of these proteins which may then be developed into clinically useful drugs. We use a wide array of platform technologies, including: molecular biology, protein chemistry, protein characterisation tools, X-ray crystallography (including the Australian Synchrotron), cryo-electron microscopy, NMR, virtual screening and structure-based drug design.

Key achievements

2021   NHMRC Leadership Fellowship

2016   NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship; Bob Robertson Award of the Australian Society for Biophysics for outstanding contributions to biophysics in Australia and New Zealand

2015   Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences

2014   NHMRC Research Excellence Award for top ranked Program grant application

2012   Federation of Asian and Oceanian Biochemists and Molecular Biologists Award for Research Excellence

2011   ASBMB Lemberg Medal; NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship; Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research

2010   Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science

2006   Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship; NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship

2004   GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences Award of the ASBMB

2001   NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship

2000   Australian Research Council Professorial Research Fellowship

1999   Gottschalk Medal of the Australian Academy of Science

1997   Australian Research Council Senior Research Fellowship

1996   ASBMB Boehringer-Mannheim Medallist

1994   University of Melbourne Selwyn-Smith Medical Research Prize

1991    Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship


Selected publications

Parker, M.W., Pattus, F., Tucker, A.D. & Tsernoglou, D. (1989) Structure of the membrane-pore-forming fragment of colicin A. Nature 337, 93-96. DOI: 10.1038/337093a0

Hu, S.H., Parker, M.W., Lei, J.Y., Wilce, M.C., Benian, G.M. & Kemp, B.E.  (1994) Insights into autoregulation from the crystal structure of twitchin kinase. Nature 369, 581-584. DOI: 10.1038/369581a0

Polekhina, G., House, C.M., Traficante, N., Mackay, J.P., Relaix, F., Sassoon, D.A., Parker, M.W. & Bowtell, D.D.L. (2002) The Siah ubiquitin ligase is structurally related to TRAF and modulates TNF-alpha signaling. Nature Struct. Biol. 9, 68-75. DOI: 10.1038/nsb743

Nero, T.N., Morton, C.J., Holien, J.K., Wielens, J. & Parker, M.W. (2014) Oncogenic protein interfaces: small molecules, big challenges. Nature Revs. Cancer 14, 248-262. DOI: 10.1038/nrc3690

Baell, J.B., Leaver, D., Cleary, B., Nguyen, N., Downer, L.D., Vanyai, H.K., Bergamasco, M.I., May, R.E., Wang, B., Wilcox, S., Garnham, A., Pacini, G., Zamudio, N., Sheikh, B.N., Doggett, K., Mieruszynski, S., Heath, J.K., Chung, M.C., Hermans, S.J., Parker, M.W., de Silva, M., Lagiakos, H.R., Bentley, J., Pilling, P., Hattarki, M., Dolezal, O., Falk, H., Smyth, G.K., Street, I.P., Monahan, B.J., Peat, T.S., Voss, A.K. & Thomas, T. (2018) Inhibitors of histone lysine acetyltransferases KAT6A/B induce senescence and arrest tumour growth. Nature 560, 253-257. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0387-5

Zeller, J., Cheung Tung Shing, K.S., Nero, T.L., McFadyen, J.D., Krippner, G., Bogner, B., Kreuzaler, S., Kiefer, J., Horner, V.K., Braig, D., Danish, H., Baratchi, S., Fricke, M., Wang, X., Kather, M.G., Kammerer, B., Woollard, K.J., Sharma, P., Morton, C.J., Pietersz, G., Parker, M.W., Peter, K. & Eisenhardt, S.U. (2022) A novel phosphocholine-mimetic inhibits a pro-inflammatory conformational change of C-reactive protein. EMBO Mol. Med., in press.

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