Finding cures for children's genetic diseases



Professor Phil Robinson

Head of Cell Signalling Unit, Children's Medical Research Institute; Director of Biomedical Proteomics Facility, Children's Medical Research Institute; Co-Director of ACRF Centre for Kinomics, Children's Medical Research Institute

Professor Phil Robinson is Head of the Cell Signalling Unit at the Children’s Medical Research Institute and a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow. He is also Co-Director of the ACRF Centre for Kinomics. Professor Robinson’s career began after completing a PhD in Medical Biochemistry at The University of Newcastle and a National Institutes of Health Fellowship and a postdoctoral position at the University of Cincinnati in USA. He returned to Australia as an Australian Postdoctoral Fellow and a QEII Fellow and developed a research team in Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital. Since joining CMRI in 1996, Professor Robinson and his team have made major contributions to understanding nerve cell communication, principally the process of endocytosis and the role of the protein dynamin, which along with other nerve terminal proteins, remains the focus of the research. In a partnership with Professor Adam McCluskey, the teams have developed the first pharmacological approach to controlling endocytosis. Professor Robinson was Chair of the Fellowships Committee of the NHMRC for the last three years and is also a member of the Research Committee and the Training and Awards Committee. He is on the editorial board of a number of journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Professor Adam McCluskey

Director of The University of Newcastle Priority Research Centre for Chemical Biology; Co-Director of ACRF Centre for Kinomics, University of Newcastle 

Professor Adam McCluskey has been a lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Newcastle since 1995 and is Co-Director of the ACRF Centre for Kinomics. Professor McCluskey’s career began after obtaining a BSc (Hons) and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. After a 2 year postdoctoral position at the University of Queensland in the area of reactive intermediates chemistry, he changed research direction working alongside Professor Ron Quinn at Griffith University as a synthetic medicinal chemist where he developed an interest in medicinal chemistry and teaching. In December 1995, he secured a position as lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Newcastle. Professor McCluskey’s overarching interest is in the application of organic chemistry strategies in the development of new therapeutic agents (Organic and Medicinal Chemistry). Additionally, given environmental and public concerns relating to Chemistry, Professor McCluskey and his team are driven by a desire to develop novel Green Chemistry approaches in their organic and medicinal chemistry targets. In 2009, Professor McCluskey and Professor Robinson established Australia’s first Centre for Kinomics, called the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Chemical Proteomics Centre for Kinomics, supported by Ramaciotti, with laboratories located at both CMRI and UoN.

Valentina Valova

Manager of Biomedical Proteomics Facility and ACRF Centre for Kinomics, Children's Medical Research Institute

Valentina Valova has been Manager of Biomedical Proteomics at the Children’s Medical Research Institute since 2003. She is also Manager of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Centre for Kinomics. Val’s career began after obtaining a MSc (Biotechnology) from Sofia University in Bulgaria. After two years at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; Val moved to Sydney where she completed a MAppSc (Biopharmaceuticals) at the UNSW. This is when she first developed an interest in mass spectrometry based proteomics. Val brought her expertise to CMRI when she joined Professor Robinson in 1998 to develop proteomics approaches to the study of dynamin and other nerve terminal proteins involved in endocytosis. Val’s pioneering work in phosphoproteomics and development of novel methods for identification of protein-protein interactions have provided the necessary basis for establishing mass spectrometry in the Westmead Research Precinct. Val had a key role in site planning and design of the existing facility and its expansion into a world-class collaborative research platform. She has established a multidisciplinary user group thus popularising mass spectrometry in the area and promoting the facility’s research and long term goals. Val continues to provide expert advice on feasibility, strategy and experimental design supporting many research programs.