Associate Professor Kevin Downard

Associate Professor
School of Molecular Bioscience

G08 - Biochemistry Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: +61 (0)2 9351 4140
W: Related website

Research interests

Main Research Areas: Mass Spectrometry, Proteomics, Protein Structure and Biology, Protein Bioinformatics, Computational Biology

Our internationally-recognized research develops and applies mass spectrometry technologies and associated computational approaches to advance our understanding of the role of proteins in disease pathogenesis. We have a particular interest in studying the influenza virus, its evolution and new ways to respond to the disease. The virus is responsible for some 1 in 1000 deaths of all humans who have ever lived and our work is aimed at arresting its impact. Current active areas of research include:

Current research projects :

1. Viral proteomics using MS for surveillance of the type, subtype and antigenicity of the influenza virus and other biopathogens to monitor their evolution and identify the emergence of highly virulent new strains.

2. Application of Radical Probe Mass Spectrometry (RP-MS) to study protein interaction interfaces and the impact of oxidation on these interactions. Our research is focussed particularly on long lived tissue proteins.

3. Development and application of new computer algorithms to assist our influenza studies (FluShuffle, FluResort, FluTyper, FluAlign, FluGest, MassTrees) and approaches to obtain information on the structure and interactions of proteins from mass spectra (eg. COMPLX, PROXIMO and PRISM). Other algorithms to deconvolute ESI mass spectra (CRAM) and advance 'shotgun' proteomics (ETISEQ) have also been written.

Selected Invited Talks:

(Keynote) Maurice Wilkins Centre Mass Spectrometry Symposium 2013 (Auckland, NZ)

MassSpec 2013 (Singapore)

(Opening Keynote) GRC Isotopes in Biological & Chemical Sciences 2012 (USA)

8th Australian Influenza Symposium (Canberra) 2012

1st Asian Oceanic Spectrometry Conference (Japan)

MSSJ Biological Mass Spectrometry Symposium (Japan)

(Keynote) 18th International Mass Spectrometry Conference (Germany)

Vaccines Europe (Belgium)

Selected Recent Publications:

Swaminathan K, Downard KM (2014) Evolution of Influenza Neuraminidase and the Detection of Antiviral Resistant Strains Using Mass Trees, Anal. Chem., 86: 629-637.

Maleknia SD, Downard KM (2014) Advances in Radical Probe Mass Spectrometry for Protein Footprinting in Chemical Biology Applications, Chem. Soc. Rev., in press.

Fernandes ND, Downard KM (2014) Origins of the Reassortant 2009 Pandemic Influenza Virus through Proteotyping with Mass Spectrometry, J. Mass Spectrom., 49: 93-102.

Fernandes ND, Downard KM (2014) Incorporation of a Proteotyping Approach using Mass Spectrometry for the Surveillance of the Influenza Virus in Cell Cultured Strains, J. Clin. Microbio., 52: 725-735.

Downard KM (2013) Proteotyping for the Rapid Identification of Influenza Virus and other Biopathogens, Chem. Soc. Rev., 42: 8584-8595.

Nasser Z, Swaminathan K, Muller P, Downard KM (2013) Inhibition of Influenza Hemagglutinin with the Antiviral Inhibitor Arbidol using a Proteomics based Approach and Mass Spectrometry, Antiviral Res., 100: 399-406.

Swaminathan K, Dyason JC, Maggioni A, von Itzstein M, Downard KM (2013) Binding of a Natural Anthocyanin Inhibitor to Influenza Neuraminidase by Mass Spectrometry, Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 405: 6563-6572.

Lun ATL, Swaminathan K, Wong JWH, Downard KM (2013) Mass Trees – A New Phylogenetic Approach and Algorithm to Chart Evolutionary History with Mass Spectrometry, Anal. Chem., 85: 5475-5482.

Downard KM (2013) An Immunoproteomics Approach to Screen the Antigenicity of the Influenza Virus, in Immunoproteomics: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology (Eds. K.M. Fulton & S.M. Twine), Vol. 1061, Ch. 8, pp. 141-153, Humana Press (Springer).

Nguyen AP, Downard KM (2013) Subtyping of Influenza Neuraminidase using Mass Spectrometry, Analyst, 138, 1787-1793.

Nguyen AP, Downard KM (2013) Proteotyping of the Parainfluenza Virus with High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry, Anal. Chem. 85, 1097-1105.

Swaminathan K, Downard KM (2012) Anti-Viral Inhibitor Binding to Influenza Neuraminidase by MALDI Mass Spectrometry, Anal. Chem., 84, 3725-3730.

Lun ATL, Wong JWH, Downard KM (2012) FluShuffle and FluResort - New Algorithms to Identify Reassorted Strains of the Influenza Virus by Mass Spectrometry, BMC Bioinformatics, 13, 208.

Current national competitive grants*


Predicting the Evolution of the Influenza Virus on Mass
Downard K, Wong J
ARC Discovery Projects ($275,000 over 3 years)

* Grants administered through the University of Sydney