Dr Garth Maker
BSc (Hons), PhD

Lecturer in Biochemistry

About me

I completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Marine and Biological Sciences in 2002, and then completed my PhD in Biochemistry. I have been on the staff at Murdoch since 2007, first in the School of Pharmacy and now in the School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology.

My research focuses on the application of the advanced technologies of mass spectrometry and metabolomics to the study of biochemistry and physiology. My aim in teaching is to integrate students’ understanding of biochemistry with these cutting-edge research skills. In particular, I am committed to training students in advanced analytical biochemistry, drug science and systems biology, or ‘omics’ technologies.

Teaching area

My teaching expertise is in the areas of biochemistry, including analytical biochemistry. At undergraduate level, I coordinate and teach units in biochemistry and cell biology. At postgraduate level, I coordinated and taught three units in pharmaceutical chemistry, as well as some pharmacology. I have also taught in a range of other areas including forensic toxicology, molecular biology, microbiology and physiology, as well as a number of professional courses in mass spectrometry and metabolomics.

I currently teach BIO152 Cell Biology, BIO270 Biochemistry I and BIO371 Biochemistry II. I am actively developing new analytical biochemistry initiatives, with a focus on training students in the latest, cutting-edge research technologies.

Research areas

My research focuses on the application of metabolomics and mass spectrometry to the study of biochemistry. Using these advanced techniques, we can study hundreds of metabolites and entire biochemical pathways in a single analysis. Applied to biomedical science, we can look for biomarkers which will allow us to detect disease earlier; we can study how the body changes as a disease progresses; and we can identify new targets for treating disease. For example, we are currently leading projects to characterise markers of damage from the use of illicit drugs; following the progression of polycystic kidney disease to understand how it could be treated; and identifying new therapies that could be used to limit the brain damage caused by a stroke.

We can also apply these techniques to other areas of science, including conservation biology. We are currently involved in studies as diverse as understanding the response of frogs to infection by fungi, and trying to predict the success of captive breeding of numbats.

I also have substantial expertise in the analysis of other small molecules, such as pharmaceuticals and other drugs. Through the application of the latest mass spectrometry techniques, I can develop quick and efficient methods for pre-clinical and clinical studies.

Current projects

My main research project involves using metabolomics to study the response of cultured neuronal cells to stress. These cells are the primary component of the nervous system, including the brain. This system will allow us to better understand how these cells respond to conditions such as hypoxia (as would be experienced during a stroke), illicit drugs (e.g. methamphetamine) and food/environmental contaminants (e.g. pesticides). We will then be able to determine which treatments could be used to prevent or reverse the damage that is caused. We also intend to use this system for studying the pharmacology of potential new drugs.

We are also applying metabolomics to the study of cystic kidney diseases, which are important genetic diseases. In many cases, individuals with the same genetic mutation express the disease very differently, and we are using metabolomics to understand the biochemical changes that occur as the disease progresses. By producing a biochemical model of the disease, we will then be able to determine new targets for the development of therapies.

I have a number of active research collaborations, in areas such as iron disorders, clinical pharmacology and cancer research. I am always looking for new collaborations, so if you’re keen to apply metabolomics to your system, get in touch!

Awards and grants

Grants

2011                McCusker Foundation Early Career Research Grant ($60,000)

Metabolomics as a tool to study cellular biochemistry

2010                Murdoch University Research Capacity Fund ($9,700)

Metabolomics to detect doping in sport

2010                Murdoch University Research Capacity Fund ($5,000)

Establishment of illicit drug research unit

2009                Murdoch University Strategic Research Fund ($40,000)

Increasing capacity for metabolomics and lipidomics analysis

2007                NCRIS Metabolomics Australia (ongoing)

 

Awards

2009, 10          Nominated for TEx Award (Teaching Excellence)

2008                Murdoch Veterinary Trust Award for the Advancement of Animal Welfare (inaugural winners)

2002, 03          Nominated for Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award

 

 

 

 

 

Events and speaking engagements

Conference presentations

2011

23rd Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (ANZSMS)  Conference, Perth, Australia

2010

Advances in Metabolite Profiling/MassSpec Europe, Florence, Italy (invited speaker)

 

Recent conference posters

2011

Metabolomics 2011, Cairns, Australia

2010

2nd Australasian Symposium on Metabolomics, Melbourne, Australia

XIIth International Congress of Parasitology, Melbourne, Australia

58th American Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference, Salt Lake City,  USA

ADMET Europe/MedChem Europe, Munich, Germany

2009

1st Australasian Symposium on Metabolomics, Auckland, NZ

22nd Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (ANZSMS) Conference, Sydney, Australia

57th American Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference, Philadelphia, USA

Doctoral and masters supervisions

I currently supervise four PhD students at various stages of their projects. If any of them are reading this, get back to work!

My first student, Hui Wong, recently graduated (hooray!) with the thesis entitled, ‘Comparative evaluation of planktonic and biofilm modes of growth in Salmonella typhimurium‘.

Publications

Journals

  • Lawler, N., Abbiss, C., Raman, A., Fairchild, T., Maker, G., Trengove, R., Peiffer, J., (2017), Blood Removal Influences Pacing During a 4-Minute Cycling Time Trial., International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, , , pages -.
  • Wenner, M., Maker, G., Dawson, L., Drummond, P., Mullaney, I., (2016), The potential of metabolomic analysis techniques for the characterisation of a1-adrenergic receptors in cultured N1E-115 mouse neuroblastoma cells, Cytotechnology, 68, 4, pages 1561 - 1575.
  • Drummond, E., Maker, G., Birklein, F., Finch, P., Drummond, P., Birklein, F., (2016), Topical prazosin attenuates sensitivity to tactile stimuli in patients with complex regional pain syndrome, European Journal of Pain, 20, 6, pages 926 - 935.
  • Wenner, M., Maker, G., Dawson, L., Drummond, P., Mullaney, I., (2016), The potential of metabolomic analysis techniques for the characterisation of 1-adrenergic receptors in cultured N1E-115 mouse neuroblastoma cells, Cytotechnology, 68, 4, pages 1561 - 1575.
  • Hyndman, T., Musk, G., Murdoch, F., Maker, G., Whittem, T., (2015), The bioavailability of medetomidine in eight sheep following oesophageal administration, Research in Veterinary Science, 103, , pages 137 - 142.
  • Wong, H., Maker, G., Trengove, R., O'Handley, R., (2015), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry-Based Metabolite Profiling of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Differentiates between Biofilm and Planktonic Phenotypes, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81, 8, pages 2660 - 2666.
  • Coghlan, M., Maker, G., Crighton, E., Haile, J., Murray, D., White, N., Byard, R., Bellgard, M., Mullaney, I., Trengove, R., Allcock, R., Nash, E., Hoban, C., Jarrett, K., Edwards, R., Musgrave, I., Bunce, M., (2015), Combined DNA, toxicological and heavy metal analyses provides an auditing toolkit to improve pharmacovigilance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Scientific Reports, 5, , pages 17475 -.
  • Abbiss, H., Rawlinson, C., Maker, G., Trengove, R., (2015), Assessment of automated trimethylsilyl derivatization protocols for GC-MS-based untargeted metabolomic analysis of urine, Metabolomics, 11, 6, pages 1908 - 1921.
  • Lopresti, A., Maes, M., Meddens, M., Maker, G., Arnoldussen, E., Drummond, P., (2015), Curcumin and major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the potential of peripheral biomarkers to predict treatment response and antidepressant mechanisms of change, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 25, 1, pages 38 - 50.
  • Lopresti, A., Maker, G., Hood, S., Drummond, P., (2014), A review of peripheral biomarkers in major depression: The potential of inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 48, , pages 102 - 111.
  • King, G., Maker, G., Berryman, D., Trengove, R., Cake, M., (2014), Role of neuregulin-1beta in dexamethasone-enhanced surfactant synthesis in fetal type II cells., FEBS letters, 588, 6, pages 975 - 980.
  • King, G., Damas, J., Cake, M., Berryman, D., Maker, G., (2014), Influence of glucocorticoids, neuregulin-1, and sex on surfactant phospholipid secretion from type II cells, American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology (Print), 306, 3, pages 292 - 298.
  • Lopresti, A., Maes, M., Maker, G., Hood, S., Drummond, P., (2014), Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study, Journal of Affective Disorders, 167, , pages 368 - 375.
  • Murdoch, F., Maker, G., Nitsos, I., Polglase, G., Musk, G., (2013), Intraperitoneal medetomidine: a novel analgesic strategy for postoperative pain management in pregnant sheep, Laboratory Animals: the international journal of laboratory animal science and welfare, 47, 1, pages 66 - 70.
  • Maker, G., Siva, B., Batty, K., Trengove, R., Ferrari, P., Olynyk, J., (2013), Pharmacokinetics and safety of deferasirox in subjects with chronic kidney disease undergoing haemodialysis, Nephrology, 18, 3, pages 188 - 193.
  • De Meyer, S., Cnockaert, M., Ardley, J., Maker, G., Yates, R., Howieson, J., Vandamme, P., (2013), Burkholderia sprentiae sp. nov., isolated from Lebeckia ambigua root nodules, International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 63, 11, pages 3950 - 3957.
  • Ng, J., Ryan, U., Trengove, R., Maker, G., (2013), Metabolomic Profiling of Faecal Extracts fromCryptosporidium parvum Infection in Experimental MouseModels, PLoS One, 8, 10, pages 1 - 7.
  • Musk, G., Netto, J., Maker, G., Trengove, R., (2012), Transplacental transfer of medetomidine and ketamine in pregnant ewes, Laboratory Animals: the international journal of laboratory animal science and welfare, 46, 1, pages 46 - 50.
  • Ng, J., Ryan, U., Trengove, R., Maker, G., (2012), Development of an untargeted metabolomics method for the analysis of human faecal samples using Cryptosporidium-infected samples, Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 185, 2, pages 145 - 150.
  • Abbiss, H., Maker, G., Gummer, J., Sharman, M., Phillips, J., Boyce, M., Trengove, R., (2012), Development of a non-targeted metabolomics method to investigate a new rat model of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, Nephrology, 17, 2, pages 104 - 110.
  • Netto, J., Musk, G., Maker, G., Trengove, R., (2011), Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry for the simultaneous quantitative analysis of ketamine and medetomidine in ovine plasma, Biomedical Chromatography, 25, 12, pages 1374 - 1380.
  • Wong, H., Townsend, K., Fenwick, S., Maker, G., Trengove, R., O'Handley, R., (2010), Comparative susceptibility of Salmonella Typhimurium biofilms of different ages to disinfectants., Biofouling, 26, 7, pages 859 - 864.
  • Clode, P., Saunders, M., Maker, G., Ludwig, M., Atkins, C., (2009), Uric acid deposits in symbiotic marine algae, Plant, Cell and Environment, 32, 2, pages 170 - 177.
  • Tan, K., Trengove, R., Maker, G., Oliver, R., Solomon, P., (2009), Metabolite profiling identifies the mycotoxin alternariol in the pathogen Stagonospora nodorum, Metabolomics, 5, 3, pages 330 - 335.

Gummer J, Banazis M, Maker G, Solomon P, Oliver R and Trengove R (2009), ‘Use of mass spectrometry for metabolite profiling and metabolomics’, Australian Biochemist, 40: 5-8.