Professor Matt CooperMatt Cooper

NHMRC Principal Research Fellow
Professor, Institute for Molecular Bioscience
Professor, School of Chemistry & Molecular Bioscience

Professor Matthew Cooper is CEO of Inflazome Ltd. and has an equity interest in the company of which UQ is also a shareholder through its commercialisation company UniQuest Pty. Ltd. Inflazome Ltd. is a company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland that is developing drugs to address clinical unmet needs in inflammatory disease by targeting the inflammasome. Professor Cooper also holds a fractional Professorial Research Fellow appointment at the Universitv y of Queensland. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by the University of Queensland, in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

Matt completed his PhD in Australia in 1995 and then spent 13 years in the UK, first at the University of Cambridge, then in start-ups and biotechnology companies. This involved innovation, fund raising, intellectual property generation, licensing, product development and commercialisation. He returned to Australia in 2009 as a NHMRC Australia Fellow. He has consulted with Private Equity Investment, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Diagnostics companies, was Managing Director of Cambridge Medical Innovations (part of Alere Inc.) and CSO of Akubio Ltd. He is an inventor and driver of a several antibiotic drug discovery programmes with lead compounds pre-clinical. He is an expert in label-free technologies and their application to drug discovery and development with two books in this field. Full CV


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Our Research Academics

Mark BlaskovichMark Blaskovich

Dr. Mark Blaskovich is a Senior Research Officer with extensive medicinal chemistry expertise and over 15 years of industrial drug development experience. As Chief Operating Officer at Mimetica (Australia), he managed the drug discovery and development program for melanocortin-5 receptor antagonists leading to a compound that completed Phase II human trials. In his role at CEPTYR (Seattle) he led a multidisciplinary team that developed a preclinical candidate for protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B, while at Molecumetics (Seattle) he headed a $2m/yr industrial collaboration on peptidomimetic compounds targeting proteases and GPCRs. Since 2010, Mark has been working on antimicrobial drug discovery projects at UQ, and helped to co-found the Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery (CO-ADD). He has published over seventy articles, including 'The Handbook on Syntheses of Amino Acids', and is an inventor on eleven patent families encompassing over 50 granted patents.


Alysha Elliott AparicioAlysha Elliott

Dr Alysha Elliott Aparicio is a Research Officer at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and has a background in molecular and structural biology. She completed her BAppSc (Biochemistry) at the Queensland University of Technology before relocating to the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland to complete her Honours year (First Class in Biochemistry). She has worked at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience as a research assistant for Professor Glenn King on spider toxins and antimicrobial peptides, before completing a PhD with Associate Professor Josh Mylne and Professor David Craik in the area of peptide based drug discovery from plants. Alysha joined the Cooper group in 2013 with interest in the translation of research for antimicrobial drug discovery. She currently managers the biology of a number of academic and industry linkage projects, as well as co-ordinating the free-screening of compounds through The Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery (CO-ADD) for over 200 academics worldwide. Alysha is author to over 40 research articles and has been involved in securing successful grant applications awarded by the Wellcome Trust, NIH and NHMRC.


Angelo FreiAngelo Frei

Dr Angelo Frei studied chemistry at the University of Zurich (UZH) in Switzerland. After completing his Master’s degree in inorganic medicinal chemistry under the supervision of Prof Gilles Gasser (2013, UZH), he joined the group of Prof Roger Alberto (UZH) to work on multifunctional cyclopentadienes as ligands for theranostic rhenium and 99m-technetium complexes and completed his PhD in 2018. After being awarded an Early PostDoc.Mobility fellowship by the Swiss National Foundation, he joined the group of Prof Matthew Cooper and Dr Mark Blaskovich in 2018 to work on novel metal-based antibiotics.


Karl HansfordKarl Hansford

Dr Karl Hansford is a Senior Research Officer within the Cooper group, and has eleven years' experience in synthetic organic, peptidomimetic, process and medicinal chemistry. After several academic appointments (IMB/UQ, University of Pittsburgh, University of Montreal), Karl moved into industry, spending several years in Montreal (Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals) and Melbourne (Boron Molecular) before returning to the IMB. He holds eleven peer reviewed publications and is inventor on two patents.


Zyta Ziora

Zyta Ziora

Dr Zyta Ziora has 10 years of academic postdoctoral experience in medicinal chemistry of antimalarial therapeutics, antibacterial agents and enzyme inhibitors (drug candidates against Alzheimer disease, Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Japan). During her stay at the University of Montpellier (France) she was actively involved in the design and synthesis of the the bis-thiazolium derivatives which are currently in development for treating severe malaria in human clinical trials. She has also been trained in enzymology, microbiology and heamatology and has expertise in spectroscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy.Her research time is currently dedicated mainly to projects devoted to the modification of existing antibiotics, and  complexing them with additional antimicrobial agents, like metal ions, to produce more potent alternatives and by this to overcome the drug resistance of superbugs. She has over forty four publications in peer-reviewed journals and is an author of a book chapter, and she serves as a reviewer for several international journals.


Johannes ZueggJohannes Zuegg

Dr. Johannes Zuegg completed his PhD (Chemistry, Molecular Modelling) at the Technical University of Graz (Austria) and spent one year as a PostDoc at the University of Graz (Austria) doing protein crystallography. After migrating to Australia he was working on Molecular Dynamics simulations for 2.5 years at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University (Canberra), before joining Alchemia Inc., a small Bio-Tech company in Brisbane, as Molecular Modeller in Drug Development for 2 years. After a one year interruption as Computer Research Specialists at Griffith University (Brisbane), he rejoined Alchemia Inc. as Head of IT and Molecular Modelling for another 5 years. He joined the IMB and the Cooper Group in May 2009 as a Senior Research Officer working across the different drug design and development projects.



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Research Assistants

Maite AmadoMaite Amado

Maite Amado joined the CO-ADD team at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience as a Research Assistant in January 2016. She completed her Bachelor with Honours in Biology (Microbiology) at Buenos Aires University, Argentina. At this University's Virology laboratory she gained experience in molecular techniques, culturing and maintaining mammalian cell lines, and testing novel compounds for antivirus activity.


Ali HintonAli Hinton

Ali joined the Cooper Group in the Institute of Molecular Bioscience as a Research Assistant in 2016. Prior to this she was working in diagnostic pathology (microbial serology) after graduating with a Bachelor of Science (microbiology) from the University of Queensland in 2014.



Angela BadilloVegaAngela Kavanagh

Angela Kavanagh is a microbiologist from Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). From 2006 to 2008, she was a Research Assistant at the Laboratory Microbial Ecology and Food at Universidad de Los Andes, researching in food pathogens and molecular biology. She then moved to the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, UQ as a Research Assistant in 2009 to work with Professor Rob Parton, testing caveosphere and siRNA or other small molecules to be incorporated into caveosphere. In 2011, she became a part of Matt’s Cooper Group, to work on immunological and microbiology techniques and is currently working on the antibiotic project.


Gabrielle LoweGabrielle Lowe

Gabrielle Lowe joined the CO-ADD project in the Institute of Molecular Bioscience as a Research Assistant in 2016. Prior to this she was working as a Research Assistant at James Cook University for over 4 years as part of their microalgae project. Gabrielle has a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Victoria University of Wellington (2010) and a post-graduate diploma in Medical Science from Charles Sturt University (2017).


Soumya RamuSoumya Ramu

Soumya Ramu is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at The University of Queensland since November 2009. Graduated in Advanced Masters of Biotechnology from The University of Queensland, she has gained knowledge in techniques in molecular biology along with culturing and maintaining mammalian cell lines. Soumya also has expertise in immunological and microbiology techniques and is currently working on the antibiotic project.

Robin TrauerRobin Trauer

Robin Trauer is a research assistant at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the Dresden University of Technology which is part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative. After that he moved to Australia to work as an IT professional in the field of GPS tracking with the School of Agriculture and Food Science on Gatton Campus of The University of Queensland before joining the Cooper Group as an Information Systems Administrator in September 2016.


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PhD Students

Eduardo AlbornozEduardo Albornoz

Eduardo Albornoz joined the Cooper group as a PhD student in October 2014. Prior to this, he received his Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Universidad Andres Bello in Santiago, Chile followed by a Masters in Biochemistry at the same University. Subsequently he worked as a research assistant in endocrinology and inflammation lab at the Millenium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy where he gained experience studying the relationship between thyroid hormones and neuroinflammatory diseases. His PhD focuses on the mechanism of action of novel drugs targeting the inflammasome in CNS diseases including Parkinson and Amiotrophic lateral sclerosis. Eduardo is a recipient of the UQ international scholarship awarded to outstanding international research higher degree students


Sanjaya KCSanjaya KC

Sanjaya joined Cooper group @ IMB as a PhD candidate in July 2013. He obtained his bachelor degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from Manipal University, India and his masters from Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, Malaysia. Prior to joining the group, as a registered laboratory scientist in Nepal he worked in different divisions of medical laboratory and has research experience in development of diagnostic tool for Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) detection. In the group, he is working with the diagnostic team to develop novel nanoparticles based diagnostic method for detection of dengue from clinical samples.


Anggia PrasetyoputriAnggia Prasetyoputri

Anggia Prasetyoputri joined the Cooper group at the Institute for Molecular Biosciences as a PhD student in July 2015. Anggia is a research scientist at the Research Centre for Biotechnology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences. Her research experience is mainly on molecular biology, but she is also trained in microbiology and has worked on a number of projects involving the design and expression of recombinant proteins. She completed an MSc (by Research) degree from The University of Melbourne where she gained experience and skills in organic chemistry and immunology. Her PhD research focuses on understanding the mode of action of novel antibiotics for anaerobic bacteria. Anggia is a recipient of Australia Awards Scholarship.


Rhia Stone width=

Rhia Stone joined the Cooper group and began her PhD in September 2016. Previously, Rhia completed a BSc in Chemistry and Cell & Molecular Bioscience in 2013 and a MSc (First Class Honours) in Chemistry in 2016, both from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her Masters research involved synthesis of modified glycolipid immunomodulators with the aim of better understanding the adjuvant and anti-cancer activities of these compounds. Between finishing her Masters and starting her PhD, Rhia worked as a Research Assistant at the Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Victoria University of Wellington. Rhia is a recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award.


Chee Wei AngChee Wei Ang

Chee Wei Ang joined the Cooper group as a PhD student in April 2016. She received her Bachelor degree in Analytical Chemistry from Universiti Sains Malaysia. She then worked as a research officer at Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, Malaysia where she gained experience in drug modification, bioconjugation and development of immunoassay. n 2015, she obtained her Master’s degree in Medicinal Chemistry at the same institution. Her MSc project worked on the synthesis and activity studies of new compounds against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Her current PhD work focuses on development of new antibiotics against various pathogenic species. She is a recipient of an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS).


Bing ZhangBing Zhang

Bing Zhang joined the Cooper Group as a PhD student in October 2018. In 2015, Bing received her Bachelor's degree in Animal Medicine from Jilin University in China. In 2018, she obtained her Master's degree in the Specialty of Basic Veterinary Medicine at the same university. During the study of getting Master's degree, her research mainly focused on discovering novel targets and lead compounds against bacterial infections (such as Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus) and the anti-inflammatory effects and mechanisms of natural drugs and antibacterial agents. Her PhD research focuses on deciphering antibiotic modes of action and microbial resistance mechanisms with novel molecular probes. Bing is a recipient of China Scholarship Council (CSC) - University of Queensland (UQ) PhD Scholarship.


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