Emma Watson

The University of Adelaide

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One of the fundamental principles of life is being able to sense and respond to changes in the environment. By developing smart drugs and therapeutic agents capable of this type of molecular logic we can help improve their selectivity, and therefore reduce toxicity. Such systems have three key components: the inputs, this is the part capable of binding to a target molecule or sensing a change, the outputs, this is the part that does something in response to this new information in essence release a drug, and the circuitry, this is the part that connects the inputs and the outputs, helping to transfer the information. Much like a computer, these components can be wired together to form a functional system, with the individual parts able to be swapped in and out in a modular manner to rapidly create new systems, capable of targeting new problems.

My research focuses on using biomolecules, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, as the key components in such responsive systems. These systems are underpinned by a combination of organic synthesis, solid phase peptide and nucleic acid synthesis, photocatalysis and bioconjugation to create final functional systems.

Emma Watson