Cluster leader: Associate Professor Melissa Brown

Cluster members: Members, and their research foci

This cluster focuses on two main themes:

Bio-molecular structure and function

Mission Statement:

The structure of biological molecules underpins their function. All pharmaceutical drugs and agricultural pest and herbicides, whether designed from structural information or discovered by mining for active molecules derive their efficacy and specificity from their unique structure.

Our expertise is applied in the areas of recombinant DNA technology, protein production and purification, X-ray crystallography and computational modelling to determine the structure and function of biologically significant molecules. By doing so a basis is provided for manufacture of new and improved pharma- and agri-ceuticals.

Our aims:

  • Identify specific bio-molecular targets for structural determinations;
  • Relate structure to function using transgenic approaches;
  • Increase the understanding that links structure to structure prediction by computational modelling software;
  • Develop further links with biotechnology industries (local and abroad) for manufacture and down-stream processing of related drugs, and products designed from our research.

Molecular and microbial biotechnology

Mission Statement  


All life processes ultimately depend on sequence information contained in DNA that can be both observed as a means of identifying individuals and manipulated to alter and improve specific gene functions and practical applications of biological systems. We capitalise on the expertise and intellectual property established by cluster members in the manipulation and characterisation of DNA to extend knowledge, collaborations and commercial development of IP and grant income.

Our aims:

  • Generate additional tools for profiling DNA for forensic, wildlife enforcement and scientific applications;
  • Develop tools to study and improve applications of complex microbial systems;
  • Develop further start-up biotechnology enterprise based on Flinders IP;
  • Establish additional links with biotechnology industries (local and abroad).