Joe Brock

Group research focus

My group focuses on understanding the function of integral membrane transporters and receptors from a structural perspective. The recent breakthroughs in Electron Microscopy that were the subject of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry have completely revolutionised my field. High-resolution structures that were once unimaginable are now being published every month. Structural information by itself rarely explains how proteins work however, so we will collaborate extensively with the excellent array of other membrane research groups at RSB to understand the whole picture. We will also combine structures with synthetic biology to try and solve some of society’s problems.

Teaching and research achievements

During my time in David Drew’s group at Stockholm University, I feel very lucky to have been involved with the structural determination and characterisation of the malarial sugar transporter that will soon be published in Science. I am also very proud for surviving my first component of lecturing for the BIOL2161 genetics course at ANU!

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Helping others catch the “science bug”. Giving the tools to others to understand the world around them through a critical and scientific lens is a wonderful feeling. It changed my life and I hope it can for them also.

Who is your science hero?

Richard Feynman is a personal favourite of mine. His combined brilliance, lust for life and irreverence for all things bureaucratic, traditional and conservative is something I try to strive towards. He also had an excellent teaching philosophy – despising jargon – he could explain the most complicated physical phenomenon with plain English and a wry smile.