As a child, I was always fascinated with how things worked, which is what initially attracted me to medical research. I studied protein biochemistry at Johns Hopkins University in the US state of Maryland in the early 1990s, where I learned more about cell biology and virology – particularly in relation to HIV.
I later returned to Australia and started at the Centenary Institute in 1995. My work is focused on a particular family of enzymes and various chronic conditions, particularly chronic liver diseases and diabetes, which can lead to severe liver scarring, and liver failure or cancer.
It’s an ongoing project which has so far been 25 years in the making. I woke up at 4AM one morning in 1993, and decided to discover new enzymes, I’d been studying DPP4 and believed there had to be more in the family. It turns out there were three more, so I set about discovering them. I’ve been looking at that enzyme family ever since!
Outside my own research, I enjoy mentoring younger scientists. I also have a special interest in ancient history – so I ensure I set aside time when attending overseas conferences to visit museums.