• The University of Western Australia (M313), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


NHMRC Research Fellow in the School of Molecular Sciences. B.Sc double major in Biochemistry & Chemistry from The University of Sydney. Following 2 years of work in the Pharmaceutical Industry in Drug Research and Development at Novogen in North Ryde, Sydney, Australia, I undertook my PhD in Chemistry at The University of Western Australia, which focused on the design and synthesis of small molecules to target unusual nucleic acid structures, awarded in June 2010.

Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at The Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie (IECB), in Bordeaux France, where I conducted biophysical and cellular studies on Unusual Nucleic Acid structures. I then undertook a postdoctoral position at The Australian National Unversity and returned to UWA in September 2012 where I worked in Experimental and Regenerative Neurosciences with my research being focused on studying the inflammation and breakdown of the Blood Brain Barrier and optimised delivery to the brain using in vivo  and cellular models of neurotrauma.

Reserch Projects in the group are multidisciplinary spanning Biochemistry, Chemical biology  biophysics, Molecular Biology and Genomics.

We are interested in studying Non-canonical Nucleic Acid Structures, such as G-quadruplexes and i-Motifs in various diseases including cancers, dementias and other neurodegenerative diseases.   


Funding overview

2021 ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Next-Gen Technologies in Biomedical Analysis (2021, Round 1) Invesigators: Professor Killugudi Swaminatha-Iyer; Professor Richard Tilley; Professor John Gooding; Professor Nicolas Voelcker; Professor Gustavo Carneiro; Professor Katharina Gaus; Professor Donna Geddes; Professor Fiona Wood; Professor Charles Bond; Dr Roey Elnathan; Associate Professor Brendan Kennedy; Dr Denis Bauer; Dr David Thirkettle-Watts; Dr Nicole Smith; Dr Kristen Nowak; Dr Haibo Jiang; Associate Professor Keith Stubbs; Dr Nicolas Taylor; Adj A/Prof Alka Saxena; Mr Peter Van der Made; Mr Andrew Quick; Dr Julio Ribeiro; Dr Stuart Midgley; Dr Wolfgang Jarolimek; Mr Adam Guskich; Dr James Miller; Dr Leon Mitoulas; Dr Melanie Nelson; Mr Mark Unger; Mr Vladimir Simonovic; Dr Rene Hessling; Dr Punit Seth; Dr Helmut Thissen

2021 Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund 2021, Government of Western Australia, Department of Health. CI: Nicole M Smith 

2021 COCKPI-T® Funding research grant from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (2021). CIs: K. Swaminatha Iyer, C. Evans, M. Norret, N.M. Smith

2020 Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund (MHRIF) (2020). CI: N. Smith

2019 Medical Research Future Fund (2019). “Therapuetic ultrasound for the treatment of Brain disorders” CIs: Götz, Whittaker, Swaminatha Iyer, Smith, Wolvetang, McSweeney, Harris, White, Gamble, Byrne.

2019 Neurotrauma Research Program (NRP) Grant, WA, (2019). “Bionic intervention to program neural stem cell differentiation” CIs: Iyer, Smith, Hodgetts, Harvey, Zetterlund, Agarwal

2018 ARC Discovery (2018-2021). “Establishing nanoscale design principles for non-viral genome engineering” CIs: Swaminatha Iyer, Fox, Smith, O'Mara, Hurley, Mergny, Luzinov, Saunders, Clode

2018 Australian Synchrotron Beamline Proposal  – “Investigation of Metal Homeostasis in Hippocampal Neurons after Traumatic Brain Injury” – CIs: Hackett, Smith, Rajan

2018 UWA Pump-priming Grant (2018). “Assessing nuclear organisation dynamics in patient derived primary cells” CI: Smith AIs: Lister, Fox. Swaminatha Iyer, Norret, Ho

2017 ARC Discovery Project – “Establishing nanoscale design principles for non-viral genome engineering” – CIs: Killugudi Swaminatha Iyer, Archa Fox, Nicole Smith, Megan O'Mara,  Laurence Hurley, Jean-Louis Mergny, Igor Luzinov, Martin Saunders, Peta Clode

2017 NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellowship - “Targeting G-quadruplex DNA as a novel therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Dementia" CI: Smith

2017 Neurotrauma Research Program Fellowship - "Enabling clinical translation of novel mechanism-based enzyme inhibitors to treat neurotrauma”

2017 National Breast Cancer Foundation Innovator Grant - "Modulating gene expression in breast cancer by targeted epigenome engineering of G-quadruplex DNA” CI: Smith, Lister, Clark, AI: Hurley, Redfern, Saunders

2017 Australian Synchrotron Beamtime -  “Profiling ionic imbalances associated with secondary degeneration following CNS trauma” CIs: Hackett, Smith, Fitzgerald

2017 Cancer Council WA, Collaborative Cancer Grant Scheme CI: Smith, Evans, Tang, Sorolla, AI: Lister, Hurley

2017 UWA Research Collaboration Award – “Developing a 3D mimic of the brain” – CIs: Iyer, Fitzgerald, Choi, Smith, Evans, Thordarson, Martin, Franz, Davies

2016 Neurotrauma Research Program, CI: Smith, AI: Hurley, Fitzgerald and Dunlop - Targeting four-stranded DNA conformations to enable axonal regeneration following neurotrauma

2015 National Health and Medical Research Council, CIs: Fitzgerald, Dunlop, Iyer, Smith - Targeted nanoparticles to deliver novel combinatorial treatments for secondary degeneration following neurotrauma

2015 Neurotrauma Research Program, CI: Smith AI: Dunlop, Iyer, House, Feindel - Using nanotechnology to prevent localised, as well as remote, inflammation and breakdown of the blood brain barrier following neurotrauma

2015 The Raine Medical Research Foundation Healy Research Collaboration award, CI: Smith PI: Hurley (University of Arizona, Tetragene Ltd (Salt Lake City) - Targeting epigenetic markers to modulate G-quadruplex DNA topology as a novel therapeutic strategy for cancer

2014 Neurotrauma Research Program, CI: Smith AI: Dunlop, Iyer, House - Crossing the Blood Brain Barrier: Towards intravenous delivery of theranostic nanoparticles for targeted therapy following neurotrauma

Teaching overview


Masters in Biomedical Science Unit Coordinator 

GENE4001 Advanced Studies in Genetics and Genomics Unit Coordinator

GENE2230 Molecular Genetics 1 - Gene Mutations and Mechanisms of Gene Mutations; DNA damage repair mechanisms; Cancer Genetics  

CHEM3002 Chemical Explorations - Unit Coordinator

CHEM3001 Essential Chemical Skills - Chemical Safety

CHEM1003 - Introductory Chemistry -REDOX; Synthetic Chemistry; Chemical equilibrium; Moles; Reaction rates; Stereochemistry

MSCI4098 and MSCI4099 (Honours core unit in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Chemistry; Genetics [Bachelor of Science (Honours)] - Seminar Appraisal and Presentation (2017-2021)

CHEM1004 - Biological Chemistry - Nucleic Acids (2017-2021)

WESTA CHEM1004 -Biological Chemistry (2020-2021)

Roles and responsibilities

Student Supervision:

PhD Students

Jessica King - completed 2023 (Dean's List)

Kelly Irving - Completed 2023 (Dean's List)

Uditi Bhatt - Completed 2023

Priyanka Toshniwal (graduated)

Arnold Ou (graduated)

Ruhani Singh (graduated)


Masters Students

2023 - Nicholas Purnell (Masters of Biomedical Science)

2023 - Divya Verma (Masters of Biotechnology)

2021 - Lachlan Soraru (Masters of Biotechnology)

2020 - Ya-Yu-Liu (Masters of Biomedical Science)

2020 - Shayan Patel (Masters of Biotechnology)

2019 - Emily Jacques (Masters in Neuroscience)

2018 - Anoushka Anouskha (Masters of Biotechnology)

2018 - Richa Mathur (Masters of Biotechnology)

2018 - Fadilah Ismail (Masters in Neuroscience)

2017 - Sara Tai (Masters in Neuroscience)


Honours Students

2021 - Jonathan Odude (Chemistry)

2021 - Bridget Flis (Neuroscience co-supervisor with Archa Fox)

2020 - Michelle Low (Biochem and Genetics)

2019 - Jessica King (Biochem and Genetics; Awarded 1st Class Honours)

2019 - Tom Rolls (Neuroscience)

2018 - Uditi Bhatt (Biochem and Genetics; Awarded 1st Class Honours)

2018 - Kelly Irving (Biochem and Genetics; Awarded 1st Class Honours)

2017 - Zibeon Schildkraut, co-supervised with Iyer Swaminatha (Chemistry - Awarded 1st Class Honours)

2017- Amy Kretzmann (Biochem and Genetics)

2017- Chloe Gray, co-supervised with Melinda Fitzgerald (Neuroscience - Awarded 1st Class Honours)

2017- Nikolas Gavriel, co-supervised with Melinda Fitzgerald (Neuroscience - Awarded 1st Class Honours)

2016- Michelle Nguyen (Neuroscience - Awarded 1st Class Honours)

Exchange students

2018 - Jessica Hargreaves - 3rd Year B.Sc. (Hons) student from the University of Bath, UK. 

2018 - Ed Mcginty - 3rd Year B.Sc. (Hons) student from the University of Bath, UK.

2017- Abigail Egid - 3rd Year B.Sc (Hons) student from the University of Bath, UK.

2017- Melanie Grigg - 3rd Year B.Sc (Hons) student from the University of Bath, UK.

2016- Daniella Zimmerman - 3rd Year B.Sc (Hons) student from the University of Bath, UK.

2015- Charlotte Bailey– 3rd Year B.Sc (Hons) student from the University of Bath, UK. 

2014- Ivana Gachulincová – 3rd Year B.Sc (Hons) student from the University of Bath, UK. 

2013- Andressa Finkler Staudt - pharmacy student from the Universidad Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, (Won 1st Place in the Science Without Borders Program for her final research presentation). Co-supervised with Sarah Dunlop

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 30 Jun 2010

Research expertise keywords

  • Gene regulation, Nucleic Acids, G-quadruplexes, i-Motifs, DNA, neuroscience, Breast Cancer, Dementia