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Professor Brian Smith Dean and HOS, Molecular Sciences, Office of Molecular Sci

I am an expert computational chemist and molecular modeller. I am 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. I have authored over 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 2 book chapters and 3 invited reviews.

Following my PhD I took-up a postdoctoral position in Canberra to work with Prof Leo Radom, a world leader in the application of quantum mechanical methods. Here I studied the energetics and reactions of ionic species in the gas-phase, with particular emphasis in structural chemistry, thermochemistry, intermolecular processes and spectroscopy. Of particular note was my work on the accurate calculation of proton transfer reactions that led to many high-impact papers.

I returned to Melbourne in 1991 to join the Biomolecular Research Institute (BRI) as a research scientist. While at the BRI my research originally centred on computational studies of enzyme mechanism, particularly for Influenza virus neuraminidase, and the design of neuraminidase inhibitors. As part of these studies I solved the X-ray crystal structures of several neuraminidase-inhibitor complexes.

After the demise of the BRI in 2000 I moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) as a founding member of the Structural Biology division. During the decade at WEHI my research interests centred on structural studies of proteins of the apoptosis machinery, particularly in identifying and developing compounds that modulate this process.

In July of 2011 I took up the appointment as the inaugural LIMS Principal Research Fellow at the La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science (LIMS). In 2015 I was appointed the inaugural Head of the Department of Chemistry and Physics at La Trobe University, and in 2017 I became Head of the School of Molecular Sciences.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), life member of the World Association of Theoretical Chemists, and a member of the Association of Molecular Modellers of Australasia (AMMA).


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