Professor Michael Parker is Director of the Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne and Head of Structural Biology, St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. He is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow. After obtaining his D. Phil. in protein crystallography from Oxford University, Michael returned to Australia to re-establish a protein crystallography laboratory at St. Vincent’s in 1991. The work of the laboratory is internationally recognised with the determination of more than 140 crystal structures of proteins involved in cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and infection. He has published over 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 and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2015. He is currently Chair of the National Committee of Crystallography under the auspices of the Australian Academy of Science.
The focus of our research is to visualise the three-dimensional structures of medically important proteins using X-ray crystallography. A particular focus is proteins that play a role in infection (bacterial, parasitic or viral), cancer and neurobiology (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy). The structures 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.