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Personal profile


Sheena McGowan was formally trained in microbiology, completing her PhD in 2004. During her PhD she studied the structure and function of a toxin regulator from the causative agent of gas gangrene, developing what would become a long-standing interest in structure and function of proteins. During her post-doctoral work she was trained in protein crystallography and biophysics and she now applies these skills in microbiology and structural biology to investigate novel methods for microbial disease control.

The McGowan laboratory is interested in characterising novel molecular drug targets. The lab has a strong research focus in the design of novel anti-malarial drugs as well as other parasitic and bacterial diseases. Primarily we are a structural biology laboratory using techniques in X-ray crystallography, biochemistry and biophysics to analyse our proteins of interest. We use this mechanistic information to design inhibitors or analogues with potential applications in human medicine.


Research area keywords

  • Protease
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Drug Discovery
  • Structural Biology
  • Microbiology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

Reply to: Caution is warranted in using cephamycin antibiotics against recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection

Lyras, D., Srikhanta, Y. & McGowan, S., Feb 2020, In : Nature Microbiology. 5, 2, p. 237-238 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterOtherpeer-review

Strategies for Increasing Protein Stability

Chandler, P. G., Broendum, S. S., Riley, B. T., Spence, M. A., Jackson, C. J., McGowan, S. & Buckle, A. M., 2020, Protein Nanotechnology: Protocols, Instrumentation, and Applications. Gerrard, J. A. & Domigan, L. J. (eds.). New York, NY: Humana Press, p. 163-181 19 p. (Methods in Molecular Biology; vol. 2073).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

Cephamycins inhibit pathogen sporulation and effectively treat recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection

Srikhanta, Y. N., Hutton, M. L., Awad, M. M., Drinkwater, N., Singleton, J., Day, S. L., Cunningham, B. A., McGowan, S. & Lyras, D., Dec 2019, In : Nature Microbiology. 4, p. 2237-2245 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Crystal structure of the inhibitor-free form of the serine protease kallikrein-4

Riley, B. T., Hoke, D. E., McGowan, S. & Buckle, A. M., Aug 2019, In : Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology Communications. F75, p. 543-546 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Hydroxamic Acid Inhibitors Provide Cross-Species Inhibition of Plasmodium M1 and M17 Aminopeptidases

Vinh, N. B., Drinkwater, N., Malcolm, T. R., Kassiou, M., Lucantoni, L., Grin, P. M., Butler, G. S., Duffy, S., Overall, C. M., Avery, V. M., Scammells, P. J. & McGowan, S., 24 Jan 2019, In : Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 62, 2, p. 622-640 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


  • 1 Membership of industry collaboration/ network

Monash Antimicrobial Resistance Group (Event)

Trevor Lithgow (Chair/Co-Chair), Max Cryle (Member), Kellie Tuck (Member), Ana Traven (Member), Thomas Naderer (Member), Julian Rood (Member), Dena Lyras (Member), Anton Peleg (Member), Mibel Aguilar (Member), Fasseli Coulibaly (Member), Sheena McGowan (Member), Meredith Anne Okeeffe (Member), Matthew Belousoff (Member), Philip Heraud (Member)
1 Mar 20171 Jan 2019

Activity: Industry, Government and Philanthropy Engagement and PartnershipsMembership of industry collaboration/ network

Press / Media

Sewer to saviour, PlyC is back

Ashley Buckle & Sheena McGowan


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research

New recruits in the fight against disease

Ashley Buckle & Sheena McGowan


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research