Dr Rebecca Roubin

Lecturer, Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry
Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy

A16 - Badham Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: +61 2 9036 7104
F: +61 2 9351 4391

Research interests

My research studies focus on the molecular mechanisms of the tumour microenvironment (extracellular matrix) in disease states and in drug therapeutics and diagnostics.

I have established a collaboration with Dr Daniel Sze (Associate Professor, Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) focusing on a type of blood cancer- Multiple Myeloma (MM). This cancer is incurable with an average life expectancy of 3 years, so a better treatment/cure is urgently needed. We are exploring the use of nuclear receptor agonists targeting their multiple action pathways such as induction of cancer cell apoptosis and blocking the interaction of tumour cells with their microenvironment/extracellular matrix.

We also aim to translate what we have learnt and experienced in the Cancer Immunology research to the newly developed herbal Medicines anti-cancer program.

Nuclear Receptor Regulation of Cell Death Proteins in Cancer

Recent exciting findings suggested a novel pathway through the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) influences cell cycle regulation and synthetic PPARγ agonists prevents cell growth in various cancers. As the modulation of cell death proteins plays a predominant role in the immortalisation of myeloma cells this may have implications in the way nuclear receptor PPARγ activators affect cancer progression.

Further examination of the molecular mechanisms involved is warranted due to the potential implications that nuclear receptor PPARγ activators may have on MMPs and cell death protein levels and function in MM and consequently cancer remission in this disease.

Potential Anti-Cancer Synergistic Nuclear Receptor Agonists Combination

The complexity associated with nuclear receptor activators is documented where nuclear receptor retinoid X receptor (RXR) activators bind to RXR, then hetero-dimerizes with PPARγ and modulates transcription of target genes and currently our Pharmaceutical Chemistry student is clarifying the PPARγ-cell cycle modulation at the protein level. Understanding the synergistic molecular mechanisms of RXRα - PPARγ induced cell cycle arrest is essential to minimising the variety of toxicities that are known to occur in response to these activators as single agents in the clinic.

International links

China. (Shanxi University) Investigation of Traditional Chinese Medicines.


2013 | 2009


  • Matin, A., Doddareddy, M., Gavande, N., Nammi, S., Groundwater, P., Roubin, R., Hibbs, D. (2013), The discovery of novel isoflavone pan peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonists. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. 21(3), 766-778. [Abstract]
  • Sekhon, B., Sze, D., Chan, W., Fan, K., Li, G., Moore, D., Roubin, R. (2013), PSP activates monocytes in resting human peripheral blood mononuclear cells: Immunomodulatory implications for cancer treatment. Food Chemistry. 138(4), 2201-2209. [Abstract]
  • Meng, Q., Roubin, R., Hanrahan, J. (2013), Ethnopharmacological and bioactivity guided investigation of five TCM anticancer herbs. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 148(1), 229-238. [Abstract]


  • Matin, A., Gavande, N., Kim, M., Yang, N., Salam, N., Hanrahan, J., Roubin, R., Hibbs, D. (2009), 7-Hydroxy-benzopyran-4-one Derivatives: a novel pharmacophore of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha and -gamma (PPARalpha and gamma) dual agonists. Journal of medicinal chemistry. 52(21), 6835-50. [Abstract]
  • Meng, Q., Niu, Y., Niu, X., Roubin, R., Hanrahan, J. (2009), Ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology of the genus Caragana used in traditional Chinese medicine. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 124(3), 350-68. [Abstract]
  • Estrella, R., Whitelock, J., Roubin, R., Packer, N., Karlsson, N. (2009), Small-Scale Enzymatic Digestion of Glycoproteins and Proteoglycans for Analysis of Oligosaccharides by LC-MS and FACE Gel Electrophoresis. In: Methods in Molecular BiologyGlycomics: Methods and Protocols. (pp.171-192).USA: Humana Press.