Composition and Function
Identification of the components of networks is the first essential element in their study. We focus on identification of enzymes and their substrates and products using mass spectrometry. We are developing high throughput and sensitivity assays for broad comparative analysis of larger populations. We are applying this to the study of cellular organelles as specialised biofactories, to the study of mutants in cell function, and to reproductive processes at the molecular level.
Spatial and Temporal Dynamics
Studying networks requires the quantification of their components and their rate of change. These differences can be rapid and subtle, but can substantially change biological behaviour. We are using lasers to study spatial separation of processes in tissues, and isotope-labelling for accurate analysis of peptides and metabolites. We study senescence of tissues during development, the oxidative stress response of cells, alterations in mutants, and the adaptation of networks to environmental factors.
Natural Variation and Evolution
The evolution of networks is driven by natural variation. By analysing the function of networks in nature we can better explain the molecular mechanisms that underpin evolutionary change and also mimic natural changes in networks to engineer more robust biotechnological outcomes. We are currently working with CEB on insect reproductive biology, and with plant scientists from UWA, DAFWA and CSIRO to investigate variation in plant stress responses in both Arabidopsis and a range of crop plants.
CABiN is about bringing minds and expertise together to study the power of molecular networks. Locally we collaborate with CPEB to develop datasets and with CE4CSB to analyse fluxes through molecular networks. We link with scientists interested in omic datasets and with companies interested in analytical measurements. Internationally we collaborate on plant and animal epigenetics, proteomics and metabolomics and with companies to understand traits for more sustainable agriculture.