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Professor Ricardo Mancera

  • Vascular and metabolic disorders
  • Inflammation, infectious disease and wounds
  • Cancer

Ricardo leads CHIRI’s Biomolecular Modelling Group, which uses molecular simulation techniques and biophysical methods to investigate biomolecular structure and function. Their aim is to understand a range of molecular processes of significance to age-associated diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and diabetes.

The team was first to predict the site at which insulin interacts with its receptor and pioneered the study of the interactions of glycosaminoglycans with proteins such as heparanase, adhesion factors and cytokines due to their role in cancer and inflammatory disease.

Current work in the study of the cross-aggregation of amyloid beta and islet amyloid polypeptide aims to characterise the synergistic interactions at the molecular level between Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes using both molecular simulation and surface plasmon resonance experiments. Other current research aims to characterise the molecular mechanism of interaction and permeation of small drug molecules and venom peptides with anti-cancer activity across cell membranes. The team has also been undertaking X-ray scattering experiments to supplement its molecular simulations at the Australian Synchrotron, with the aim of becoming world leaders in the characterisation of interactions between small molecules and model cell membranes.

Research interests – computational biophysics, molecular modelling and structural bioinformatics to investigate a number of areas of biophysical, biomedical and pharmaceutical importance, such as protein folding, denaturation and aggregation; structure and dynamics of biological membranes; the mechanism of solvent cryoprotection; ligand-protein and protein-protein interactions; structure- and ligand-based drug design; protein flexibility and solvation in drug design; hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions; biophysics and biochemistry of membrane and protein structure and interactions using approaches such as small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS/WAXS/SANS), surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and mass spectrometry methods.

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