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Researcher Profiles

Dr Joel Gummer, Research Fellow

Joel is an early-career researcher focused on the application of high-resolution instrumentation to the study of metabolites and peptides in complex biological systems. His wide-ranging research interests include the application of metabolomics to study amphibious host response to chytridiomycosis, a fungal infection of frogs, as well as investigating free fatty acids as predictive biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the projects Joel is leading involves the development of a novel assay for the quantitation of the human peptide hormone hepcidin. Hepcidin, a liver-expressed peptide and central regulator of iron homeostasis in animals, is being increasingly recognised as a key diagnostic marker, with its measurement likely more relevant than traditional measures of iron metabolism to numerous disease diagnoses. Using the Waters Synapt G2-S Imaging mass spectrometer, Joel was able to develop a highly-reproducible and accurate method to quantitate endogenous hepcidin in human plasma. He is now working with research collaborators to provide a testing service at the national level.

Expertise: High resolution MS, untargeted metabolomics, hepcidin biomarker, mass spectrometry imaging.

Dr Stacey Reinke, Research Fellow

Stacey joined us in 2016 as Research Fellow funded by a successful grant to the WA Department of Health Telethon-Perth Children's Hospital Research Fund. Stacey is focused on the use of uses mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and other systems biology approaches to understand multi-factorial disease process. Her particular areas of interest include: mitochondrial dysfunction/hypoxia, energy metabolism dysregulation in inflammation, and the impact of fetal/early life environment on health outcomes. She brings key capabilities in metabolomic bioinformatics, data modelling and quality assurance group.

Expertise: NMR metabolomics, metabolomics bioinformatics, data modelling, untargeted metabolomics.

Shabri Nambiar, PhD Student

An international student from Malaysia, Shabri graduated with a first class Honours in Biomedical Science for his thesis dissertation entitled “An investigation of quinolizidine alkaloids from Lupinus angustifolius as potential therapeutic compounds for Alzheimer’s Disease”. During his Honours studies, Shabri developed a GC-MS/MS method for the quantification of quinolizidine alkaloids in Australian sweet lupins. Plant-derived alkaloids are secondary metabolites known to inhibit the action of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in neuromuscular junctions, resulting in an increase of acetylcholine, and consequently, enhanced stimulation of postsynaptic cholinergic receptors. While toxic, some of the more successful drugs approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are plant-derived alkaloids. Using a SH-SY5Y cell-culture model and an AChE-inhibition assay, Shabri was able to demonstrate the potential of quinolizidine alkaloids as potential drug candidates for the development of new Alzheimer’s therapeutics.

Shabri was recently awarded a prestigious Murdoch International Post-graduate Scholarship to investigate idiopathic lung fibrosis from a novel biochemical perspective using mass spectrometry imaging. Using intact fibrotic tissues, he will employ MALDI and DESI-MSI to simultaneously localize and quantify unique molecular signatures in different histopathological regions of interest.

Expertise: Idiopathic lung fibrosis, untargeted metabolomics, mass spectrometry imaging.

Katherine Roussety, Research Officer

Katherine is a Research Officer working on the development of new multi-pesticide residue test methods for the export grain industry. Shortly after graduating from Murdoch University with a double degree in Biomedical Science and Forensic Toxicology, she commenced her research at SSML using triple quadrupole GC and LC MS for the targeted analysis of pesticide residues. The in-house method, trademarked “Reschek™” is capable of detecting more than 150 pesticide residues in a single run.

Katherine played a key role in achieving NATA ISO/IEC accreditation for SSML in 2012. As the deputy Quality Assurance Manager, Katherine is also instrumental for the implementation of OSH policies for the laboratory. An expert in LCMS/MS instrumentation, she continues to enhance the analytical capabilities of the Reschek™ platform through research and process improvements, as well as participation in Proficiency Testing programs by the National Residue Survey.

Expertise: NATA ISO/IEC compliance, grain residue testing, method development, high-throughput analysis.