Alice Vrielink

Professor, BSc MSc Calg., PhD Lond.

  • The University of Western Australia (M310), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 431, Bayliss Building, Perth campus

    6009 Perth


  • 2026 Citations
  • 23 h-Index
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Personal profile


Professor Alice Vrielink obtained her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Masters of Science in Physical Chemistry at the University of Calgary in Canada. She then completed a PhD in Physics at the University of London and a Diploma in Crystallography from Imperial College of Science and Technology, London. From 1994 – 2001 Prof. Vrielink was an Assistant and Associate Professor at McGill University in Canada. She then continued her research as a Research Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2007 she joined the faculty at UWA as Professor of Structural Biology

Roles and responsibilities

Head of Discipline (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

Funding overview

Raine Medical Research Foundation Priming Grant
National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant
Australian Research Council Large Equipment and Infrastructure Fund Grants

Cancer Council of Western Australia

iCare Dust Diseases Care

Current projects


Dr. Keith Stubbs, Chemistry, UWA; Prof Barry Marshall, Microbiology, UWA
Prof Charlene Kahler, Microbiology, UWA

Dr. Matthew Piggott, UWA

Dr. Willem Lesterhuis, UWA
Dr. Flora Meilleur, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA

Dr. Willem Lesterhuis, School of Biomedical Sciences, UWA,

Dr. Matthew Piggot, Chemistry, UWA

Prof Grant Hartzog, University of California, Santa Cruz

Teaching overview

BIOC3002 (Unit Co-ordinator) Structural and Functional Biochemistry
BIOC3001 - Molecular Biology
BIOC2002 - Biochemical Regulation of Cell Function

MSCI4006 - Advanced Techniques in Molecular Science


Dr Vrielink uses protein crystallography to study the 3D structures of macromolecules. In particular, she is interested in studying enzymes involved in redox catalysis, proteins involved in bacterial pathogenesis and proteins involved in the process of transcription elongation. Understanding the structures of these macromolecules provides important insight into their molecular and biological functions.

In collaboration with Prof Charlene Kahler (Microbiology and Immunology), Dr. Keith Stubbs (Chemistry) and Prof Martin Scanlon (Monash University) Dr Vrielink is working in the area of endotoxin biosynthesis in Neisseria meningitidis, the causative agents of meningitis. Endotoxin molecules on these bacteria are decorated with multiple phosphoethanolamine (PEA) groups, the synthesis of which is catalyzed in part by the enzyme LptA. Inactivation of LptA increases bacterial sensitivity to defensins, suggesting that the PEA groups prevent defensin attachment to the bacterial surface. In an effort to better characterize this enzyme Dr. Vrielink has determined the three dimensional structure of the LptA enzyme. These structural studies are being correlated with functional studies carried out in Prof Kahler’s laboratory. Together with Dr. Stubbs and Prof Scanlon fragment screening and inhibitor design studies are being undertaken as steps towards development of novel antimicrobial therapeutics to treat multidrug resistance in bacteria.

In collaboration with Drs Matthew Piggott and Willem Lesterhuis (UWA), work is being carried out on the development of antagonists to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors as potential novel therapeutic agents to treat mesothelioma cancer.

In collaboration with Dr. Flora Meilleur (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) neutron crystallography studies are being undertaken on the flavoenzyme, cholesterol oxidase. These studies are directed at understanding the redox activity of the enzyme through characterizing the positions of hydrogen atoms within the protein during the catalytic cycle.


In collaboration with Dr. Grant Hartzog (University of California Santa Cruz) work is being carried out aimed at understanding the function of the ubiquitous transcription elongation factor Spt4/5 from yeast. In specific we are characterizing the RNA binding specificity of this protein and the role of the protein in transcription.

Education/Academic qualification

Physics, PhD, Imperial College London

Physical Chemistry, MSc, University of Calgary

Chemistry, BSc, University of Calgary


  • Protein crystallography
  • Enzyme mechanism
  • Flavoenzymes
  • Multifunctional enzymes and substrate channeling
  • Membrane protein structure and function
  • Bacterial virulence factors
  • Transcription factors
  • Protein-nucleic acid interactions
  • Protein structure by X-ray crystallography

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Alice Vrielink is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 3 Similar Profiles
Cholesterol Oxidase Medicine & Life Sciences
Enzymes Medicine & Life Sciences
Lipid A Medicine & Life Sciences
Proteins Medicine & Life Sciences
Catalytic Domain Medicine & Life Sciences
Flavin-Adenine Dinucleotide Medicine & Life Sciences
Hydrogen Medicine & Life Sciences
Oxidoreductases Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1998 2019

Structure and function of lipid A-modifying enzymes

Anandan, A. & Vrielink, A., 25 Sep 2019, In : Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Lipid A

Editorial overview: Catalysis and regulation: Structural features guiding enzyme catalysed processes

Vrielink, A. & Holden, H. M., 1 Dec 2018, In : Current Opinion in Structural Biology. 53, p. iii-v

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

2 Citations (Scopus)
158 Downloads (Pure)

Enzyme targets for drug design of new anti-virulence therapeutics

Kahler, C. M., Sarkar-Tyson, M., Kibble, E. A., Stubbs, K. A. & Vrielink, A., 1 Dec 2018, In : Current Opinion in Structural Biology. 53, p. 140-150 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Drug Design
Protein Disulfide Reductase (Glutathione)
4 Citations (Scopus)

Structure-function relationships of the neisserial EptA enzyme responsible for phosphoethanolamine decoration of lipid A: Rationale for drug targeting

Kahler, C. M., Nawrocki, K. L., Anandan, A., Vrielink, A. & Shafer, W. M., 21 Aug 2018, In : Frontiers in Microbiology. 9, JUL, 1922.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Lipid A
Drug Delivery Systems
Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides

The first transcriptomes from field-collected individual whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci, Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)

Sseruwagi, P., Wainaina, J. M., Ndunguru, J. C., Tumuhimbise, R., Tairo, F., Guo, J., Vrielink, A., Blythe, A. J., KINENE, T., de Marchi, B. R., Kehoe, M. A. & Boykin, L. M., 13 Feb 2018, In : Gates Open Research. 1, p. 16

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Bemisia tabaci
Sub-Saharan Africa

Projects 2007 2021



Alice Vrielink

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Alice Vrielink

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Alice Vrielink

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