Professor Adam McCluskey - Excellence in Innovation Award 2012
Professor Adam McCluskey has been a prolific inventor with over 20 patents filed and has significant interaction with industry. Adam is an Australian leader in the relatively new discipline of Kinomics and, as a result, is revolutionising novel drug design strategy and propelling Australian scientific discovery to the forefront of global research.
Adam is Professor of Organic Chemistry and leads the University of Newcastle’s arm of the newly established Australian Cancer Research Foundation Centre for Kinomics (ACRF-CFK, supported by Ramaciotti), a Centre taking a new approach to the direct profiling of cellular kinases. In partnership with the Children’s Medical Research Institute, the heart of this research is gaining a better understanding of the Kinome - the complete set of protein kinases that act as the 'master switches' for all normal bodily cell functions. It is errors in these kinases that contribute to a large number of diseases.
This new approach is a significant advance on previous methods of looking at how drugs and proteins interact. Instead of looking at interactions one at a time, Kinomics allows chemists and biologists to explore how any given compound interacts with all the proteins in any cell of the body at any point in time, at the same time quantifying changes.
In addition to looking at existing drugs used to treat specific disease, drugs approved for other purposes can be screened meaning another drug may better target the protein. This has the potential to re-purpose existing drugs.
The ACRF-CFK offers a unique opportunity to profile drugs and cellular kinases to identify new therapeutic drugs and ways to improve current drugs, particularly in the treatment of cancer. Adam will make use of the newly installed AFRICA automated synthesis platform, the only research equipment of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
In addition, Professor McCluskey leads a team of scientists with specialist knowledge in the area of clathrin mediated endocytosis and its implications in neurological diseases such as epilepsy. The resulting dynamin modulators platform is the major supplier of endocytosis inhibitors to research teams across the world and subsequently leads the global direction of this major research effort in the development of new anti-epileptic drugs.
Q&A with Professor McClusky
NBN News Innovators Series - Tuesday 13 November 2012
There are few more noble pursuits in life than searching for a cure for cancer, but it’s been something of an accidental career path for a Newcastle chemistry professor.
Tonight, as we meet another of Newcastle Innovation’s high achievers, we profile the work of Adam McCluskey, an Australian pioneer in a new field of research which promises better drug treatments.
And it all began over a beer.