Ben Corry



Ben Corry graduated with a PhD in Physics from ANU, before taking up an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship and subsequent ARC Research Fellowship at the University of Western Australia. Here he has studied the fundamental aspects of ion channel function including mechanisms of ion selectivity and gating using a range of computational and fluorescence techniques. In addition he has been designing biomimetic porous membranes for water filtration and desalination. In 2005 he won the Young Biophysicist Award from the Australian Society for Biophysics and was awarded the 2008 Young Scientist of the Year at the WA Premier's Science Awards. In 2011 Ben won a Young Tall Poppy Science Award and was a finalist in the Eureka Science Awards before moving to ANU at the start of 2012.


Research interests

Our research examines the structure and function of a family of pore forming proteins known as ion channels. We aim to understand the mechanisms by which these proteins can identify and transport molecules across the cell membrane, and how the pores open and close to control this transport. In addition we are interested in studying transport in other kinds of pores, be they in proteins, crystaline materials or synthetic membranes. Gaining a fundamental understanding of the operation of biological pores has allowed us to design synthetic porous membranes that can be used for the desalination of sea water or to remove dangerous contaminants from water supplies.

Proteins and macromolecules can be difficult to study due to their size, functioning at the interface of microscopic molecular behaviour and macroscopic mechanical behaviour. To investigate them we use a combination of computational techniques including quantum calculations, molecular dynamics, and macroscopic modelling. In addition we utilise FRET microscopy (Förster Resonance Energy Transfer) to experimentally study the conformational changes of proteins as they function.

Recent grants

  • ARC Discovery Project 2011-2013. Carbon nanotube fluidic channels for desalination-interplay of nanoscale confinement and electrostatics. M Majumder, B. Corry, A. Schafer.
  • NHMRC Project Grant 2010-2012. A Novel Patch-Fluorimetry technique for investigating structural changes during gating of mechanosensitive ion channels. B. Martinac, B. Corry, P. Pal
  • ARC Discovery Project and Research Fellowship 2007-2011. Force from lipids: the role of the lipid bilayer in mechanosensory transduction. B. Martinac, B. Corry, P. Rigby
  • NHMRC Project Grant 2007-2009 Computational study of selectivity, gating and mutation in the acetylcholine receptor and potassium channels. B. Corry.


Selected publications

  • Thomas, Michael; Jayatilaka, Dylan; Corry, Ben, An entropic mechanism of generating selective ion binding in macromolecules, Plos Computational Biology, 9:2 FEB 2013
  • He, Zhongjin; Zhou, Jian; Lu, Xiaohua; et al, Bioinspired graphene nanopores with voltage-tunable ion selectivity for Na+ and K+ Acs Nano, 7:11 pp10148-10157 NOV 2013
  • Richards, Laura A.; Richards, Bryce S.; Corry, Ben; et al, Experimental energy barriers to anions transporting through nanofiltration membranes Environmental Science & Technology, 47:4 pp1968-1976
  • Thomas, Michael; Jayatilaka, Dylan; Corry, Ben, How does overcoordination create ion selectivity? Biophysical Chemistry, 172 pp37-42 FEB 2013
  • He, Zhongjin; Zhou, Jian; Lu, Xiaohua; et al. Ice-like water structure in carbon nanotube (8,8) induces cationic hydration enhancement Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 117:21 pp11412-11420
  • Smith, Natalie E.; Tie, Wan Jun; Flematti, Gavin R.; et al,. Mechanism of the dehydrogenase reaction of DmpFG and analysis of inter-subunit channeling efficiency and thermodynamic parameters in the overall reaction International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 45:8 pp1878-1885
  •  Corry, Ben, Na(+)/Ca(2+) selectivity in the bacterial voltage-gated sodium channel NavAb., PeerJ, 1 pp16 2013
  •  Mustafa, Sanam; Hannagan, John; Rigby, Paul; et al., Quantitative Forster resonance energy transfer efficiency measurements using simultaneous spectral unmixing of excitation and emission spectra Journal of Biomedical Optics, 18:2 FEB 2013
  • Richards, Laura A.; Richards, Bryce S.; Corry, Ben; et al, Response to comment on "experimental energy barriers to anions transporting through nanofiltration membranes" Environmental Science & Technology, 47:15 pp8987-8988AUG 6 2013
  • Corry, Ben, Selectivity between sodium, calcium and potassium ions in bacterial sodium and calcium channels, Biophysical Journal, 104:2 pp135A JAN 29 2013.

All publications

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