How cholesterol optimises ion pump function in animal membranes

Associate Professor Ron Clarke

A/Prof Ron Clarke

17 February 2017
Congratulations to Associate Professor Ronald Clarke (School of Chemistry); Professor Toby Allen and Professor Flemming Cornelius on their successful 2017 ARC Discovery Grant (Round 1). This project aims to determine how cholesterol optimises ion pump function in animal membranes and to identify the major effects of cholesterol and its derivatives on membranes’ physical properties. All animal cells need high levels of cholesterol in the plasma membrane for survival. Insufficient cholesterol biosynthesis leads to severe birth defects. The need for cholesterol is likely linked to its acceleration of sodium pump activity, essential to physiological processes including cell division, nerve, muscle and kidney activity. An expected benefit of the project is knowledge on the molecular origin of diseases associated with inhibition of cholesterol production, and a more complete understanding of the crucial role played by cholesterol via its effect on ion pumping towards the healthy functioning of vital organs, particularly in heart muscle and nerves.

Total funding: $399,500

Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Archibald D. Ollé Prize

Pumps, channels and transporters book cover

17 February 2017
Associate Professor Ron Clarke as been awarded the 2016 Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Archibald D. Ollé Prize for publication of Pumps, channels and transporters: methods of functional analysis. This book is volume 183 of Chemical Analysis: a series of monographs on analytical chemistry and its applications. Ron and Mohammed Khalid (University of Taif, Saudi Arabia) were co-editors for this volume; review for which can be found in the July issue of Chemistry in Australia. Archibald Ollé was very active in the chemical and scientific life of NSW in the first 40 years of the twentieth century, and his wife, who outlived him, left a bequest to the RACI to his name with an annual prize. The Ollé Prize is awarded to a member of the institute who submits the “best treatise, writing or paper” on any subject relevant to the Institute’s interests.