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Personal profile


Dr Sarah Piper was awarded a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Systems Biology from the University of Bielefeld, Germany. In 2015, she was awarded a UQ International Scholarship to pursue her PhD research at The University of Queensland, Australia in the groups of Prof Glenn King and Assoc Prof Michael Landsberg. In her PhD, she focused on determining the structures of pore-forming, bacterial toxin complexes, and she discovered her love for cryo-electron microscopy, and ‘seeing’ proteins through these powerful microscopes.
She was recruited to the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) in Melbourne, Australia in 2019 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to specialise in biochemistry and cryo-electron microscopy of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in the labs of Prof Patrick Sexton and Assoc Prof Denise Wootten. Her scientific interests are membrane protein biochemistry, drug discovery as well as cryo-electron microscopy and data processing.

Given that structural biology is a very visual field, she is passionate about science visualisation. She takes advantage of the diversity of protein structures to produce artistic 3D illustrations and animations. As the Executive Manager for Science Communications, she produces illustrations of membrane protein structures for newsletters, presentations and general outreach for the ARC Centre for Cryo-electron Microscopy of Membrane Proteins (CCeMMP). Her animations and illustrations are based on experimental data and can inform drug development as well as communicate complex biological processes to a broader, non-expert audience, or can simply be viewed as artistic pieces.

Research interests

Cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM), Structural Biology, Biochemistry, Membrane Proteins, GPCRs, Drug Discovery, Science Visualisation and Animation

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

Structural Biology, Biochemistry, PhD, Structural studies of the Yersinia entomophaga ABC toxin complex YenTc using cryo-EM, University of Queensland

Award Date: 15 Mar 2019

Genome-based systems biology, Master of Science, Improving proton and electron supply to the hydrogenase HydA in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Universitat Bielefeld (University of Bielefeld)

Award Date: 1 Oct 2014

Biology, Bachelor of Science, Over-expression of the light harvesting complex protein LHCBM9 in C. reinhardtii wild type cc406, Universitat Bielefeld (University of Bielefeld)

Award Date: 1 Oct 2011

External positions

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Queensland


Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or