The 2011 Thompson Prize evening took place on the Thurs, 24th November at Sydney Uni in the common room on level 4 at 4 pm and was hosted by Ben Crossett and Jacqui Matthews. A flyer can still be found here and a program here. There were very many high-calibre applicants this year and it was a tight contest to select the winners. The five finalists are all PhD students and as follows:
Arun Everest Dass (Macquarie Uni): ROLE OF SALIVARY SUGAR ANTIGENS IN INNATE IMMUNITY (abstract)
Arun outlined the important role of salivary glycoproteins in protecting our mouth from the oral pathogen Candida albicans. He used a combination of LC-MS to analyse the N- and O- glycans from saliva and a flow cytometry based cell adhesion assay to test the inhibitory effect of salivary glycans on pathogen interactions.
Amelia R Edington (Sydney Uni, Pharmacology): EXTRACELLULAR LOOPS 2 AND 4 OF GLYT2 ARE REQUIRED FOR N- ARACHIDONYL-GLYCINE INHIBITION OF GLYCINE TRANSPORT (abstract)
Amelia described how particular extracellular loops in the Na+/Cl--dependent glycine transporters are important for conferring specificity within the transporter family. Results from this mutational study set the scene for the development of novel analgesics.
Jason Keng Kwang Low (UNSW, BABS): PROTEOME-SCALE ANALYSIS OF PROTEIN METHYLATION IN SACCHAROMYCES CEREVISIAE (abstract)
Jason presented a proteome-wide analysis of arginine/lysine-methylation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This type of post-translational modification is used as a mechanism for regulating protein interaction and function. Jason identified over 300 methylated proteins in yeast, which clustered into specific functional classes, some not previously described.
Vanessa K. Morris (Sydney Uni, Pharmacology): STRUCTURAL INSIGHTS INTO THE SELF-ASSEMBLY OF THE FUNGAL (abstract)
Vanessa gave us a structural insight into the self-assembly of fungal hydrophobins. These proteins coat the fungal spore forming functional amyloid structures. Vanessa described the solution structure and assembly process of a class I hydrophobin from Aspergillus nidulans.
Benjamin L. Parker (Sydney Uni, SMB): A PROTEIN POST-TRANSLATIONAL MODIFICATION SYSTEMS APPROACH TO QUANTIFY ISCHEMIC SIGNALING NETWORKS (abstract)
Benjamin described a systems approach to characterize protein post-translational modifications after myocardial ischemia. Using a “metabolomics” approach, he showed changes in lysine acetylation in key metabolic proteins after recovery from heart attack.
The judges, Daniela Stock (VCCRI), Bridget Mabbutt (Sydney University) and Paul Curmi (UNSW) awarded the 2011 Thompson Prize to Arun Dass. The Lorne Travelling Scholarships were also announced: The Greg Ralston Award (for an Honours student continuing to a PhD) went to Joel Cain (USyd), the BioRad-sponsored award went to Jana Paulech (USyd) and Katherine Wongtrakul-Kish (Macquarie Uni) picked up the GE Healthcare-sponsored award.
Thanks to Jacqui and Ben for organizing a great evening of talks and an enjoyable SPG-subsidized dinner in Newtown. Thanks also to all the students who entered both the Thompson prize and Lorne Scholarships. We invite you to enter in 2012 if you were not successful this time around.
Pictures from the event:
[click on the thumbnail to get a bigger image]
The Sydney Protein Group is an affiliated Special Interest Group of ASBMB Inc.