I completed a law degree in King's College, London, before obtaining a second degree in Biochemistry at Churchill College, Cambridge (1992). I completed a PhD in Zürich, Switzerland, with Prof. Walter Schaffner, looking at the role of DNA methylation in the regulation of transcription (1997). A Swiss fellowship allowed me to do a post-doc with Prof. David Vaux in the WEHI, Australia (1997-2005), where I focused on cell death mechanisms and in particular the role of Inhibitor of APoptosis proteins (IAPs) in regulating cell death. After an exciting five year stint running a lab in La Trobe University, Australia, I returned to the WEHI (2011) where my lab now focuses on the programmed cell death pathways; apoptosis and necroptosis, and their intersection with cancer and inflammation.
I have a strong interest in translational research and was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals Corporation. In this capacity I contributed to our understanding of how IAP antagonist drugs, now called Smac-mimetics, kill cancer cells and the development of a well tolerated Smac-mimetic, called birinapant, that is performing well in clinical trials. At the WEHI I collaborates closely with the Chemical Biology division to generate new small molecule drug like compounds to investigate the biology of, and hopefully one day treat, human diseases.