Research officer, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland

Dr Natalie J. Saez is a postdoctoral research officer at The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, working on characterization and recombinant production of venom-peptides. Dr Saez began her academic career in the field of structural biology, completing her honours degree in the lab of Prof. Jenny Martin. Intrigued by toxinology, Dr Saez went on to complete her PhD in the lab of Prof. Glenn King, where her work explored the interaction of the tarantula venom-peptide PcTx1 and its target acid sensing ion channel 1a. During that time she also implemented the currently used E. coli expression methods that are in use across multiple venom-research labs at UQ and several labs worldwide. Upon completion of her PhD she joined the FP7 European Venomics Project as an expert in the field of recombinant venom-peptide production, and worked specifically on the research and development phase for recombinant methods. Her research during that time contributed to the creation of the world’s largest venom-peptide database (4000 peptides, 75% of which was made by recombinant production) to be used for drug discovery screening. Following her time in France, she returned to the King group at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and continues to work on acid sensing ion channels as therapeutic targets, characterization of novel venom-peptides and improving recombinant production methods. Dr Saez has a diverse skill set that includes electrophysiology for functional characterization of venom-peptides and structural characterization of proteins using NMR and X-ray crystallography. In addition to her research, Dr Saez is also an Institute for Molecular Bioscience Science Ambassador, often speaking to students of various ages about the medical and environmental benefits to be gained from animal venom research.

Experience

  • 2014–present
    Research officer, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland
  • 2012–2014
    Research officer, Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques (AFMB), Aix-Marseille Université, France
  • 2010–2010
    Senior research technician, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland

Education

  • 2013 
    The University of Queensland, PhD (Molecular Pharmacology)
  • 2007 
    The University of Queensland, Honours (Biochemistry)
  • 2005 
    The University of Queensland, Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry)

Professional Memberships

  • Member of the International Society on Toxinology

Research Areas

  • Biologically Active Molecules (030401)
  • Proteins And Peptides (030406)
  • Bioprocessing, Bioproduction And Bioproducts (100302)