Seminar details

12.30pm—1.30pm, Friday 10 June 2016, QBP Auditorium (Building 80), UQ St Lucia campus

Please note: Seating is limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.


Professor Marilyn A Anderson AO, FAA, FTSE

Professor of Biochemistry, La Trobe University

Chief Science Officer and Executive Director, Hexima


Mining plants for new treatments for fungal diseases

Innate immunity proteins form the first line of defence against potential pathogens in animals and plants.

Most research has focused on those with antibacterial properties, but there is an increasing need for effective antifungal agents for use in agriculture and in the clinic.

The first part of this talk will focus on the discovery of new antifungal peptides from plants, their mechanism of action and potential applications for disease control in plants.

One of these plant defensins, NaD1, is active against both filamentous fungi and yeast and acts via a three-step process that involves interaction with the cell wall, followed by specific interaction with membrane lipids, membrane permeabilisation and entry into the cytoplasm where it initiates cell death.

The second part of the talk will describe the potential of plant defensins as effective and robust treatments for fungal infections in humans.

Professor Anderson AO will describe why the novel plant defensin HXP124 is an excellent candidate for developing a fast, effective topical treatment for fungal nail infections (onychomycosis).

Speaker bio

Professor Marilyn Anderson AO is a Professor of Biochemistry at La Trobe University and Chief Science Officer and Executive Director of Hexima, a biotechnology company that she founded with Prof Adrienne Clarke in 1998.

After completing a BSc Honours at The University of Melbourne and a PhD in Biochemistry at La Trobe University, Marilyn spent seven years in the United States working on diabetes at the University of Miami, and oncogenes at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She joined the Plant Cell Biology Research Centre at the University of Melbourne in 1982 and moved to La Trobe in 1995.

Marilyn is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2010). Other awards include the 2015 Ramachiotti Biomedical Research Award (with IMB's Prof. David Craik), and the 2014 Lemberg Medal from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Seminar host

Professor Paul Alewood, IMB Seminar Series Coordinator,


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