The 2007 Applied Biosystems Edman Award: Matthew Perugini

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bio21 Institute

Matt Perugini completed both his BSc(Hons) and PhD degrees at the University of Melbourne in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology during the 1990s. As a PhD student, he employed a wide range of molecular biology, protein chemistry and biophysical techniques, and developed particular expertise in analytical ultracentrifugation to study protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions. He is now recognised as one of Australia's leading analytical ultracentrifugists.

In 2000, he became a Senior Tutor and the assistant coordinator of the Bachelor of Biomedical Science (BBiomedSc) degree at the University of Melbourne. He has since been promoted to Senior Lecturer and is now the BBiomedSc Student Coordinator, where he plays a key role in the multidisciplinary teaching, administration and pastoral care of up to 500 BBiomedSc students.

In February 2005, Matt set up an independent research laboratory at the Bio21 Institute in Melbourne. His lab has quickly grown to house two postdoctoral researchers, six PhD students and two Honours students, and often several visiting scholars from the laboratories of local and international collaborators. He is also the co-manager of the High-Speed Analytical Ultracentrifuge Facility at the Bio21 Institute.

Matt's primary research interest focuses on the structure and function of bacterial and plant enzymes involved in lysine biosynthesis, particularly the quaternary structure, activity and inhibition of dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) and dihydrodipicolinate reductase (DHDPR). DHDPS and DHDPR are the products of essential genes in bacteria and therefore serve as excellent, yet unchartered, antibiotic targets. His research interests also extend to proteomics and lipidomics, as well as a new collaborative program directed at studying the structure and assembly of viral RNA polymerase complex.

Matt currently serves as a member of the organising committees for the Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function and the Lorne Proteomics Symposium. Matt was also chair of the Melbourne Protein Group meeting in July 2005, and served as one of the chief organisers of the Biomolecular Dynamics and Interactions Symposium in 2005 and 2007.

Matt would like to thank Applied Biosystems and ASBMB for the honour of receiving the 2007 Applied Biosystems Edman Award. This will provide him with the opportunity to attend and present at the Gordon Conference on Biomolecular Interactions and Methods in Ventura, California, in January 2008. By attending this meeting, Matt will be exposed to new methods for detecting and quantitating protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions, and the prospect of establishing collaborations with key international scientists in the field.