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

    Australia

  • 2099 Citations
  • 23 h-Index
19982020

Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Biography

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

Collaborators

  • Assoc. Prof Keith Stubbs, Chemistry, UWA; Prof Barry Marshall, Microbiology, UWA
  • Prof Charlene Kahler, Microbiology, UWA
  • Assoc. Prof Matthew Piggott, Chemistry, UWA
  • Dr. Willem Lesterhuis, Biomedical Sciences, UWA
  • Dr. Flora Meilleur, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA
  • Dr. Mitali Sarkar-Tyson, Biomedical Sciences, UWA
  • Dr. Yit Heng Chooi, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UWA

Teaching overview

CHEM1002 - Chemistry: Structure and Reactivity

CHEM1004 - Biological Chemistry (Unit Co-ordinator)

BIOC2002 - Biochemical Regulation of Cell Function

BIOC3002 - Structural and Functional Biochemistry (Unit Co-ordinator)

BIOC3001 - Molecular Biology

MSCI4006 - Advanced Techniques in Molecular Science

Research

Prof Vrielink uses protein crystallography and Electron Microscopy to study the 3D structures of macromolecules. In particular, she is interested in studying enzymes involved in redox catalysis, bacterial membrane biosynthsis and bacterial pathogenesis as well as proteins involved in the gene transription and multienzyme proteins involved in substrate channeling. Understanding the structures of these macromolecules provides important insight into their molecular and biological functions. A number of projects are listed below:

  • In collaboration with Prof Charlene Kahler (Microbiology and Immunology), Assoc. Prof Keith Stubbs (Chemistry) and Prof Martin Scanlon (Monash University) Prof Vrielink is working in the area of endotoxin biosynthesis in Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae the causative agents of meningitis and gonorrhea. Endotoxin molecules on these bacteria are decorated with multiple phosphoethanolamine (PEA) groups, the synthesis of which is catalyzed in part by the enzyme EptA. Inactivation of EptA 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 the Vrielink group has determined the three dimensional structure of the EptA enzyme. These structural studies are being correlated with functional studies carried out in Prof Kahler’s laboratory. Together with Assoc Prof Stubbs and Prof Scanlon fragment screening and inhibitor design studies are being undertaken as steps towards development of novel antivirulence therapeutics to treat multidrug resistance in bacteria.

 

  • Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer of the lungs, caused by asbestos. Western Australia has one of the highest rates of this cancer in the world, because of the mining, transport and high use of asbestos. Mesothelioma starts in the lining of the lungs, but once it is diagnosed it often rapidly grows into the heart and ribcage. This causes severe shortness of breath and pain. The fast growth into surrounding organs makes it an ‘invasive’ cancer. Our collaborator on this project, Assoc. Prof Lesterhuis, has recently identified two metabolic transcription factors that are involved in mesothelioma pathology. Antagonists of these proteins kill mesothelioma cells selectively over normal cells. This suggests that these proteins are excellent targets for developing an anticancer drug to treat mesothelioma with high specificity.  In collaboration with Assoc. Profs Matthew Piggott and Willem Lesterhuis (UWA), work is being carried out on the development of antagonists to to these transcription factors 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.

 

  • Many pathogenic bacteria possess polysaccharide capsule structures on their exterior surface which aids in disease progression. Different bacterial serogroups have varied capsule structures which are the target forvaccine development. The molecular building blocks of of the capsules are synthesised within the bacterial cell before being exported to the exterior surface of the microorganism. A large molecular machinery composed of four different proteins is involved in the export of these complex molecules across two bacterial membranes. The Vrielink group is determining the molecular structures of the capsule transport machinery using the methods of crystallography and cryo Electron Microscopy.  These studies will provide insights into the mechanism of the large and complex polysaccharide molecules' transport across membranes.

Education/Academic qualification

Physics, PhD, Imperial College London

Physical Chemistry, MSc, University of Calgary

Chemistry, BSc, University of Calgary

Research expertise keywords

  • 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.

  • 5 Similar Profiles

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

Research Output

Oxidation of cysteine 34 of plasma albumin as a biomarker of oxidative stress

Lim, Z. X., Duong, M. N., Boyatzis, A. E., Golden, E., Vrielink, A., Fournier, P. A. & Arthur, P. G., Jan 2020, In : Free Radical Research. 54, 1, p. 91-103 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Structure and function of lipid A-modifying enzymes

Anandan, A. & Vrielink, A., Jan 2020, In : Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1459, 1, p. 19-37

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    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

    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
    File
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    399 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)

    Projects

    Courses

    BIOC2002

    Alice Vrielink

    30/06/15 → …

    Course

    BIOC3001

    Alice Vrielink

    24/02/14 → …

    Course

    BIOC3002

    Alice Vrielink

    23/01/07 → …

    Course

    MSCI4006

    Alice Vrielink

    27/01/15 → …

    Course