Kvansakul - Structural biology of cell death and host-pathogen interactions
Dr Marc Kvansakul
ARC Future Fellow/Associate Professor, College of Science, Health and Engineering
All life is shaped by the constant struggle between hosts and microbial threats. The interface between host and pathogens represents a major frontier for biomedical and biotechnological applications. We aim to understand at the atomic level two such molecular battlefields. We hope to understand how viruses hijack cellular defence systems to ensure their own proliferation and survival. Our second major area of interest centers on the role of small proteins that act as a first line of defence against microbial targets such as fungi, and the mechanism that these molecules use to destroy target cell membranes.
Our primary tool to help us understand these processes is X-ray crystallography, a technique that is able to reveal in exquisite detail the molecular mechanisms operating at both these host-pathogen interfaces. We aim to use our insights to ultimately design new therapeutics against a range of diseases including microbial infections and cancer.