Associate Professor Kathy Schuller

Academic Status

College of Science and Engineering

place Biological Sciences (321)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia
I completed my PhD at the Australian National University in 1987 on "Nitrogen Fixation and Nitrate Assimilation in Soybean". Following that, I held postdoctoral research positions at the University of Missouri (Columbia, Missouri, USA), Queens University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) and Philipps University (Marburg and der Lahn, Germany). In 1993, I was appointed Lecturer in Biological Sciences at Flinders University. My research focus over the years has shifted from plant nitrogen nutrition to omega-3 fatty acid metabolism and oxidative stability in important aquaculture species such as southern bluefin tuna. I also have an interest in antimalarial drug development. My research group is one of the few in Australia to use molecular biology to investigate seafood nutritional quality and the sustainable production of marine omega-3 fatty acids for their human health benefits. We have a particular interest in a new class of antioxidant genes/enzymes, the peroxiredoxins.
Qualifications
BSc(Hons.), Australian National University, 1982
PhD, Australian National University, 1987
Honours, awards and grants
Flinders University Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2002
Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, 2008
Key responsibilities
Teaching: Currently I am the coordinator of the large 2nd year undergraduate topic "Biochemistry" with an enrolment in excess of 300 students. This topic consolidates student understanding of metabolic biochemistry (intermediary metabolism) and protein structure/function relationships. It underpins more specialist topics taken by the students in 3rd year. The majority of the students enrolled in this topic are studying towards the Bachelor of Medical Science, the Bachelor of Biotechnology or the BSc Major in Molecular Biology.
Research: My current research focuses on omega-3 fatty acid metabolism and oxidative stability in important aquaculture species such as southern bluefin tuna with an emphasis on the sustainable production of marine omega-3 fatty acids for their human health benefits. Since 2005, I have supervised 8 postgraduate students as principal supervisor and 3 as co-supervisor. 
Administration: I am past Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) of the Faculty of Science and Engineering and Chair of the School of Biological Sciences Courses and Curricula Committee.
Community Service: I am past Chair of the Flinders University-Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS) Core Team. The ASMS is a purpose-built senior secondary school on the Flinders University campus with a focus on science education.
Research expertise
Biochemistry and cell biology
Molecular biology
Research interests
My research group is investigating omega-3 fatty acid metabolism and oxidative stability in important seafood aquaculture species such as southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) and yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi). We are employing fish cell culture, gene cloning, recombinant protein expression in E. coli and yeast, quantitative PCR, protein immunoblotting and protein histochemistry to investigate the expression, function and regulation of fatty acyl desaturases and elongases, peroxiredoxins and glutathione peroxidases. Our particular interest is the interactions between dietary antioxidants (e.g. vitamin E, plant phenolics) and cellular antioxidants (e.g. thioredoxin, peroxiredoxins) and their roles in protecting omega-3 highly unsaturated fatty acids (e.g. DHA, docosahexaenoic acid) against oxidative deterioration. The stimulus for this work is the declining stocks of wild baitfish to provide fish meal and fish oil for aquaculture species and the need to replace fish oil with more sustainable oils without compromising the human health value of farmed fish by lowering the concentration of DHA in their flesh derived from fish oil in traditional fish diets.
Teaching interests
Carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. Integration of metabolism including regulation by insulin, glucagon and epinephrine. Protein structure/function relationships. Enzymology. Protein purification using traditional and recombinant protein expression methods.
Topic coordinator
BIOL2771 Biochemistry
Topic lecturer
BIOL2771 Biochemistry
Supervisory interests
Cell biology
Molecular biology
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Principal supervisor: tuna, regional endothermy, mitochondrial biogenesis (1), southern bluefin tuna, fatty acid metabolism, mitochondrial biogenesis (1), malaria, peroxiredoxin, oxidative stress (1), Tetrahymena, peroxiredoxin, oxidative stress (1)
Associate supervisor: plants, phosphorus nutrition (1)
Completion
Principal supervisor: mango, reproductive strategies (1), fish, peroxiredoxin, oxidative stress (1), fish, oxidative stress, glutathione peroxidase (1), fish nutrition, fatty acid metabolism, fatty acyl desaturase, fatty acyl elongase (1), cell culture, southern bluefin tuna, antioxidants (1), malaria, peroxiredoxin, oxidative stress (1)
Associate supervisor: fish nutrition, tuna (2), plants, reproductive strategies (1)
Publications
Expert for media contact
Marine Science
Molecular Biology
Nutrition
Plants
Fish Nutrition
Plant Nutrition
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Marine Science
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition
  • Plants
Interests
  • Fish Nutrition
  • Plant Nutrition

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