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Personal profile


Dr Jennifer Payne is an EMBL Australia research fellow in the Cryle Group in the Victorian Node, based in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University. 

Jennifer completed her PhD with Prof Marilyn Anderson at La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia where her passion for host defence peptides began with discovering the mechanism of action of plant defensins and their interaction with cell surfaces. Her PhD thesis was is the top 4% of thesis and awarded the Nancy Millis Medal in 2016. 

Shifting into the antibiotic field Jennifer now works on glycopeptide antibiotics in the lab of A/Prof Max Cryle at Monash University and EMBL Australia. Her work on creating a new revolution of antibiotics to combat drug resistant superbugs. These new drugs against superbugs are not your typical antibiotic, in that they don't just directly kill the bacteria, instead they combine together multiple mechanisms of action into one molecule. These novel antibiotics unmask the superbugs and harness and modulate the innate immune system to ensure clearance of drug resistant infections.  These novel antibiotics resulted in her being awarded both the 2018 Hugh Roger's fellowship from Melbourne-Boston Sister City Association and the VESKI Victorian fellowship. With these fellowship Jennifer spent 6 months working in collaboration at Harvard University in 2018 learning and developing microfludic technique to monitor innate immune cell migration and clearance of bacteria in real time. 

Research interests

  • Diversifing glycopeptide antibiotics to kill resistant bacterial pathogens
  • Innate immune cell recruitment and clearance of superbugs
  • Host defence peptide interaction with innate immune cells for the clearance of superbugs
  • Novel antibiotic combinations for the improved killing of multi-resistant pathogens


  • Antibiotics
  • Biochemistry
  • Antibacterials
  • Peptide
  • Drug Resistance
  • Antimicrobials

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Research Output 2014 2017

Diversity of nature's assembly lines: Recent discoveries in non-ribosomal peptide synthesis

Payne, J. A. E., Schoppet, M., Hansen, M. H. & Cryle, M. J., 2017, In : Molecular BioSystems. 13, 1, p. 9-22 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

Examination of the interaction between a membrane active peptide and artificial bilayers by dual polarisation interferometry

Payne, J. A. E., Lee, T-H., Anderson, M. A. & Aguilar, M-I., 5 Jan 2017, In : Bio-protocol. 7, 1, 12 p., e2087.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

Nicotiana alata defensin chimeras reveal differences in the mechanism of fungal and tumor cell killing and an enhanced antifungal variant

Bleackley, M. R., Payne, J. A. E., Hayes, B. M. E., Durek, T., Craik, D. J., Shafee, T. M. A., Poon, I. K. H., Hulett, M. D., Van Der Weerden, N. L. & Anderson, M. A., 1 Oct 2016, In : Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 60, 10, p. 6302-6312 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Plant defensins NaD1 and NaD2 induce different stress response pathways in fungi

Dracatos, P. M., Payne, J., Di Pietro, A., Anderson, M. A. & Plummer, K. M., 3 Sep 2016, In : International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 17, 9, 1473.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

The plant defensin NaD1 introduces membrane disorder through a specific interaction with the lipid, phosphatidylinositol 4,5 bisphosphate

Payne, J. A. E., Bleackley, M. R., Lee, T-H., Shafee, T. M. A., Poon, I. K. H., Hulett, M. D., Aguilar, M-I., van der Weerden, N. L. & Anderson, M. A., Jun 2016, In : Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. 1858, 6, p. 1099-1109 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Hugh Roger's Fellowship

Jennifer Angeline Elizabeth Payne (Recipient), 2017

Prize: Competitive Fellowships

Monash bridging fellowship

Jennifer Angeline Elizabeth Payne (Recipient), 2016

Prize: Competitive Fellowships

Nancy Millis Medal

Jennifer Angeline Elizabeth Payne (Recipient), 2015

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

VESKI Victorian Fellowship

Jennifer Angeline Elizabeth Payne (Recipient), 2017

Prize: Competitive Fellowships