The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science is led by an experienced team who understand the importance of scientific innovation and translatable research outcomes.
Senior Leadership Group
Professor Brian Smith, an expert on computational chemistry, is Director of LIMS and Head of the School of Molecular Sciences.
Professor Brian Abbey is Deputy Director of LIMS and Director, Research for the School of Molecular Sciences. Dr Narelle Brack is Associate Head of School. Dr Michael Angove is Head of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. Dr David Wilson is Head of Chemistry and Physics. Professor Mark Hulett is Head of Biochemistry and Genetics.
Professor Brian Smith
Professor Brian Smith is Director of LIMS and Head of the School of Molecular Sciences.
Professor Smith obtained his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Melbourne. He held a postdoctoral position at the Research School of Chemistry in Canberra before returning to Melbourne in 1991 to join the Biomolecular Research Institute (BRI) as a research scientist. After the demise of the BRI in 2000, he moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research as a founding member of the Structural Biology division. In 2011, he moved to La Trobe University, where he was appointed the inaugural LIMS Principal Research Fellow. In 2015, he became Head of the Department of Chemistry and Physics, and then Head of the School of Molecular Sciences in 2017. Professor Smith was appointed Director of LIMS in 2019.
Professor Smith is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is skilled in the determination of protein structure by X-ray crystallography, in the analysis of protein structure, and in the design of protein mimetics and small-molecule inhibitors of protein function. He has published over 150 research papers.
For further information on Professor Brian Smith's research, visit his lab page.
Professor Brian Abbey
Professor Brian Abbey, Deputy Director of La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science and the School’s Research Director, is a mid-career researcher in the Chemistry and Physics Department and node leader of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Advanced Molecular Imaging.
Professor Abbey holds Masters degrees in Physics (2002), Nanomaterials (2003) and Engineering (2010) from University College London, Imperial College of Science and Technology, and the University of Oxford respectively, as well as a PhD in Chemistry (2007) from the University of Cambridge. Professor Abbey joined La Trobe University in 2011 and currently leads the only experimental X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) group based in Australia. His research group focuses on the areas of Optics, Nanofabrication and X-ray science. Professor Abbey has published over 100 papers with many first/senior author papers appearing in high-impact journals (e.g. Nature Physics, Nature Photonics, and Science Advances). For further information on Professor Abbey’s work please visit his research page.
Dr Narelle Brack
Dr Narelle Brack is the Associate Head of School and Director, Graduate Research.
Dr Brack specialises in surface modification and characterisation of advanced materials, creating materials at the nanometre scale. She explores chemical and molecular properties and processes at surfaces and at interfaces. Dr Brack has developed surface modification strategies for a range of material systems including next generation aircraft materials, carbon nanomaterials and electrospun nanofibres.
For further information on Dr Narelle Brack's research, visit her lab page.
Dr Michael Angove
Dr Michael Angove is Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and Academic Director of Transnational Education for PSB Academy, a partner institution delivering La Trobe University courses in Singapore. Dr Angove specialises in environmental chemistry, with a particular focus on soils impacted by human activity and bushfires.
For further information on Dr Michael Angove's research, visit his lab page.
Dr David Wilson
Dr David Wilson is Head of the Department of Chemistry and Physics. Dr Wilson is a past Director of Learning and Teaching of the School of Molecular Sciences and has been awarded both University and national teaching awards. He is an executive member of the Physical Chemistry division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI). Dr Wilson’s research is in computational chemistry, with a particular focus on applications to novel molecular environments and chemical reactivity. He has published over 100 research papers.
For further information on Dr David Wilson’s research, visit his lab page.
Professor Mark Hulett
Professor Mark Hulett is Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Genetics. Professor Hulett is a past Research Director and the immediate past-Deputy Director of LIMS. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of La Trobe University’s Understanding Disease Research Focus Area. He is a former national president of the Australian Society for Medical Research. Professor Hulett’s research interests include mechanisms of innate immunity and the tumour microenvironment.
For further information on Professor Mark Hulett's research, visit his lab page.
LIMS Advisory Board
The LIMS Advisory Board provides strategic advice on the Institute’s research agenda.
Dr Fiona Cameron (Chair)
Professor Cameron is a molecular geneticist with a PhD from Macquarie University.
A 20 year career with the CSIRO encompassed gene regulation, gene delivery, drug formulation and gene therapy. Professor Cameron has held management roles with the CSIRO Nanotechnology and the National Flagship for Food Futures, as well running the Innovation and Consulting unit at the University of Western Sydney. Her subsequent role was Executive Director for Biological Sciences and Biotechnology at the Australian Research Council.
Professor Marilyn Anderson AO
Professor Anderson AO is Professor of Biochemistry at La Trobe University and the Chief Scientist of Hexima Ltd.
She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. She was awarded the Lemberg Medal from the Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2014.
Professor Susan Dodds
Professor Dodds is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) and Professor of Philosophy at La Trobe University.
She has held senior roles at multiple institutions including the University of New South Wales. She is recognised internationally for her leadership in research ethics and public policy development related to emerging medical technologies, and is an active researcher in applied ethics and political philosophy.
Professor Matthias Ernst
Professor Ernst is the Head of the School of Cancer Medicine at La Trobe University and Director of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.
He obtained his PhD from the ETH Zurich (Switzerland), is a member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and a Principal Research Fellow of the NHMRC.
Dr Megan Fisher
Megan Fisher is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Industry Engagement) at La Trobe University. Megan has over 20 years’ experience in executive management and leadership positions in higher education and research-based organisations in the public and private sector, most recently as Director of Research, Innovation and Commercial Engagement at The University of Melbourne.
Dr Fisher has a PhD in Organic Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) from the University of Sydney, as well as qualifications in business and executive management. Megan has extensive experience in leading and advising on a broad range of commercial transactions.
Professor Helen Irving
Professor Helen Irving is the Director of the Understanding Disease Research Focus Area at La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science.
Professor Irving obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from The University of Melbourne and conducted post-doctoral work at Vanderbilt University (USA) and The University of Kentucky (USA) before returning to Australia to take up an ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at La Trobe University. For most of her career she has been a teaching/research academic based at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University. Helen moved to the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences at La Trobe University in 2017.
Stephen has more than 20 years’ experience working in strategic marketing and development roles across the higher education, not for profit and healthcare sectors. He has an MBA from Mt Eliza/Melbourne Business School and a Bachelor of Education from Deakin University and brings extensive expertise and knowledge around philanthropy and international alumni programs. Stephen is currently the Chief Advancement Office at La Trobe University where he is responsible for delivering the $100M Make the Difference Campaign.
Professor Andrew Peele
Professor Peele is Director of ANSTO's Australian Synchrotron.
He is an adjunct Professor of Physics at La Trobe University and was seconded to the Australian Synchrotron from La Trobe University in 2011. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and a past president of the Australian Institute of Physics. His research improves the versatility and quality of x-ray imaging and he has published over 100 research papers with applications ranging from improving advanced materials to cellular imaging.
Professor Robert Pike
Professor Pike is the Provost of the College of Science, Health and Engineering.
He has over 10 years’ experience in academic and research leadership roles. Professor Pike is a biochemist specialising in enzymes. He has published over 100 research papers and supervised over 20 PhD students to completion.
Dr Tony Radford AO
Dr Radford AO is a Director of Ellume Ltd and ASX listed Genetic Signatures Ltd.
He was previously Director of Nucleus Networks and CEO of ASX listed Cellestis, from its founding until its acquisition by QIAGEN NV in 2011. For his contributions to tuberculosis diagnosis and enterprise he received the Clunies Ross Award for application of technology and is a Distinguished Alumnus of La Trobe University.
Professor Brian Smith
Professor Brian Smith is Director of LIMS and Head of the School of Molecular Sciences. After completing his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, Professor Smith held various research positions in Canberra and Melbourne before being appointed as La Trobe’s inaugural LIMS Principal Research Fellow in 2011.
Professor Smith is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is skilled in the determination of protein structure by X-ray crystallography and has published over 150 research papers.