Staff Profile: Assoc. Prof. Kevin Downard

Associate Professor Kevin Downard is Director of the Molecular Biotechnology Program. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Adelaide, completed his postdoctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston and remained there as Assistant Director of the former NIH Mass Spectrometry Research Resource. He subsequently held a faculty position as Assistant Professor in New York for a further 4 years before returning to Australia.

Associate Professor Kevin Downard is an internationally recognised authority on mass spectrometry and its role in protein analysis and proteomics. He is the editor and contributor of first book to be published on the role of mass spectrometry for studying protein interactions published by Wiley in 2007 and a textbook on mass spectrometry (Mass Spectrometry - A Foundation Course) published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2004. His research groups in the USA and Australia have developed and applied mass spectrometry to advance its role for the study of protein interactions. He is the only Australian to be recognised by the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) with receipt of the ASMS Faculty Research Award. He convened the Molecular Biotechnology Program Proteomics Symposium in 2001, the Sir Mark Oliphant Conference on Proteomics (in 2003), and the biennial ANZSMS22 mass spectrometry conference and lead and co-ordinated the first proteomics course at Sydney.

He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the European Journal of Mass Spectrometry (EJMS) and has acted as Guest Editor of Mass Spectrometry Reviews. He has presented recent Keynote talks at Vaccines Europe (in Brussels 2008), the 4th Annual Infectious Disease and Control (in Sydney, 2009) and the 18th International Mass Spectrometry Conference (IMSC) (in Bremen 2009).

He has over 20 years research experience and his group is engaged in development and application of mass spectrometry and proteomics to study the structure of proteins and their interactions. Current research includes proteomics surveillance of the influenza virus, studies of protein structure and interactions and the impact of oxidative damage on these interactions using Radical Probe Mass Spectrometry (RP-MS) that his laboratory pioneered in collaboration, and the development and application of computer algorithms and bioinformatics approaches to identify and model protein interactions.

His research is supported by the Australian Research Council, Department of Education, Science & Training, the university and industry. He has over 70 publications and his activities have been featured by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and highlighted in a number of feature articles in journals such as Analytical Chemistry, Proteome Research and Modern Drug Discovery.