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WRI Seminar: Dr Fiona Whelan, School of Biological Sciences

Jun 3, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

This seminar series showcases the excellent science our members, affiliates and collaborators are undertaking across the agriculture, food and wine sectors. Expand your network and find new collaborators!

Everyone is welcome – seminars are generally scheduled at 12pm on Thursdays, with some exceptions. Registration is required.

Dr Fiona Whelan  –  From biofilm to sensor biology

School of Biological Sciences

WHEN: Thursday 3rd June, 12pm

About the speaker

Dr Fiona Whelan completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide in 2009 and relocated to the UK as a postdoctoral researcher working on the structural and biophysical characterisation of disease associated viral, bacterial and human proteins at the York Structural Biology Laboratory. Working with Prof. Jennifer Potts, Dr Whelan determined X-ray crystal structures and small angle X-ray scattering profiles of Gram-positive surface proteins associated with host adhesion and protein-dependent biofilm formation, revealing an elegant minimalist solution to formation of highly extended fibrillar monomeric proteins. These thin, elongated protein structures are now being used in combination with synthetic coiled-coils as simple scaffolds for protein engineering of self-assembling nano-rods. Dr Whelan concurrently investigated the membrane bound polysaccharide synthesis machinery of S. aureus, the ‘Ica’ intercellular adhesin locus responsible for polysaccharide dependent biofilm formation, leading to a study of the two-component sensor system that regulates this locus. Returning to the University of Adelaide, this work inspired Dr Whelan’s current research on small molecule binding proteins and evolution of binding specificity for targeted development of biosensors, for which she was awarded the Ramsay Fellowship in Applied Science.

The seminar will be both face-to-face in Charles Hawker Conference Centre and as a webinar.

Due to a limit of 70 people in Charles Hawker if you wish to attend in person you must register at this Eventbrite link


Alternatively register for the Webinar at



Jun 3
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Charles Hawker Conference Centre
Charles Hawker Building, Waite Rd
Urrbrae, SA 5064 Australia
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