Brock Group - Membrane Structural & Synthetic Biology

Biological membranes differentiate our cells from the extracellular environment and micro-organisms that cause disease. Essential to the function of these bio-membranes are the protein molecules embedded within them. My research uses X-ray crystallography and Cryo-Electron Microscopy to visualise these membrane proteins in near-atomic detail to understand how they function in the context of health and disease. For example, how does a resistance transporter protein transport particular drugs selectively? How does a receptor recognise a specific molecule and turn this into a signal affecting cell behaviour? Visualising the structure of these proteins in complex with the molecules they interact with is often a necessary first step in understanding these phenomena for developing treatments and technologies that can benefit society.

I have recently become increasingly interested in using synthetic biology to engineer the membrane proteins within yeast for a particular purpose,  including the creation of living bio-sensors for disease diagnosis, displaying a synthetic library of "nanobodies" on their surface  and modifying the secretory pathway for high-yield production of valuable proteins.

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Australian Synthetic Biology Challenge: The Final Showcase

Event | Tue 20 October 2020
National undergraduate synthetic biology challenge.
CryoEM process graphic

MicroED for Biological Samples: Requirements, Sample Preparation and Data Processing

Event | Thu 8 October 2020
Seminar by Mathieu Coincon, Senior Researcher – MicroED specialist Swedish CryoEM Facility, Stockholm

The role of nutrient balance in lifespan extension by dietary restriction in Drosophila

Event | Thu 24 September 2020
The role of nutrient balance in lifespan extension by dietary restriction in Drosophila, Matthew Piper, School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

The Staphylococcus aureus Type VII protein secretion system

Event | Wed 5 February 2020
Tracy Palmer is Professor of Microbiology in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University. She is an internationally-acclaimed molecular microbiologist who has made seminal contributions regarding bacterial protein secretion
Dr Diana Stojanovski, University of Melbourne

Mitochondrial Protein Import in Health and Disease

Event | Thu 17 October 2019
Mitochondrial function and cell viability require a functional and healthy mitochondrial proteome.

Joe Brock

Story | Monday 2 March 2020
My group focuses on understanding the function of integral membrane transporters and receptors from a structural perspective.