Lab Members

Matt Piper

Matt Piper

Dietary restriction (DR or calorie restriction) is an evolutionarily conserved intervention that extends healthy lifespan. I am interested in the nutrients and molecular mechanisms required to elicit this effect – in particular the role of protein. Knowledge of these interactions will aid our understanding of the role of nutrient balance in adult health, appetite and longevity.


Twitter: @mattpiperlab


2021 – present Associate Professor
2020 – 2021 Senior Lecturer, Monash University
2016 – 2020 ARC Future Fellow, Monash University
2010 – 2016 Royal Society University Senior Research Fellow, UCL
2002 – 2010 Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UCL
2001 – 2002 Tenure-track researcher, Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands
1997 – 2001 PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, UNSW, Australia
1996  – Honours [First Class] Molecular Genetics, UNSW, Australia
1993 – 1995 Bachelor of Science, University of Adelaide, Australia
2022 – 2023 Longevity Impetus Grant
2020 – 2022 National Health and Medical Research Centre Ideas Grant
2016 – 2020 Australian Research Council Future Fellowship
2012 Wellcome Trust Wellcome Trust People Awards
2012 UCL Crucible Centre Art/science collaboration
2012 AGE UK Art/science collaboration
2012 – 2015 Royal Society URF research grant
2011 – 2016 Royal Society University Research Fellowship
2011 – 2014 BBSRC New Investigator Award
2011 – 2015 UCL Crucible Centre (Medical Research Council) 4y PhD studentship

Mia Wansbrough

Mia Wansbrough Profile

Research Assistant

I completed my undergraduate degree at Monash University majoring in Genetics and Zoology. For my honours year I looked at genetic variation in thermal plasticity of ovariole number and body size in D. melanogaster. Outside the lab I spend most of my time training as a competitive cheerleader.

Tahlia Fulton

Tahlia Fulton

PhD student

I completed my undergraduate degree at Monash University majoring in both chemistry and genetics. For my honours year, Matt supervised my project looking at the effects of dietary pretreatment on subsequent stress tolerance. My PhD project is continuing on from my honours project with a broader scope to understand how diets can alter responses to stress. I spend my free time outside when the weather is nice, otherwise I am reading or playing video games.


Jiayi Lin

Jiayi Lin profile

PhD student

I recently completed my bachelor degree in Monash University, majoring in Biomedical Science. I have a particular interest in how dietary manipulation can improve the phenotype of diseased individuals. I’m currently working on my honours project which aims to develop a diet to treat an inborn error of amino acid metabolism. Outside the lab I enjoy traveling with my families and friends.

Josh Johnstone

Josh Johnstone

PhD student

I recently finished my undergraduate degree at Monash University with a major in genetics. I’ve long been interested in understanding the mechanisms of ageing, and during my honours year I investigated how lifespan is sustained when individual essential amino acids are removed from the diet of D. melanogaster. My PhD project will expand upon this work to further define the fundamental processes which are required for maintaining life. Outside the lab I enjoy hiking, reading, and playing video games.

Sweta Sarmah

Sweta Sarmah Profile

PhD student

I obtained my Undergraduate degree in Medical Biotechnology in the year 2017 from Sikkim Manipal University (SMU), India. In 2018, I received a scholarship to pursue my Masters at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil. During my Masters I studied the Insulin/IGF-1-like signaling (IIS) pathway and identified the regulators of DAF-16/FOXO expression which participate in DAF-16-mediated lifespan and dauer regulation. Now, during my PhD, I envisage to understand the effect of metal ions in lifespan and reproduction in Drosophila melanogaster, and the molecular mechanisms for controlling oogenesis in response to metal ion deficiency. Outside academia, I like photography, cooking, reading and exploring Melbourne.

James del Tito

James del Tito profile 2

Honours student

I completed my undergraduate degree at Monash University in 2022, majoring in Genetics. I am currently undertaking my honours year in which I am investigating the effects of zinc depletion in D. melanogaster. Outside the lab, I enjoy producing music.


Lab Alumni

Dr Krithika Balagopal – Phd student
Title of Research: What is the cost of infection? Examining the role of macro- and micro- nutrients in shaping infection costs

Dr Brooke Zanco – Phd student
Title of Research: The role of sterols in mediating the effects of dietary restriction in Drosophila melanogaster females

Dr Javier Gomez – Phd student
Title of Research: The role of dietary amino acids in shaping Drosophila melanogaster reproduction and lifespan

Carolyn Ma – Masters Student
Study scientist at Applied Insect Science, UK

Arani Azim – Masters Student
Title of Research: Determining The Role Of Drosophila Salt Inducible Kinase 3 In Animal Growth In Relation To Dietary Nutrients

Jeanie Heer – Honours student
Title of Research: All amino acids are essential, but some amino acids are more essential than others

Annelise Quig – Honours student
Title of Research: Diet as a Treatment for Inborn Errors of Amino Acid Metabolism

Damian de Zilva – Honours student
Title of Research: The effects of “Sterol limitation on the physiology of Drosophila melanogaster

Oliver Anderson – Honours student
Title of Research: Modelling a fly model of phenylketonuria.

Lisa Rapley – Honours student
Title of Research: How diet, specifically protein, impacts immune function

Helen Rushby – Honours student
Title of Research: Flies, smell and appetite

Rob di Paolo – Honours student
Title of Research: Drosophila microbiota and amino acid supply

Andrea Chan – Honours student
Title of Research: Amino acid deficits and toxicity hardening

Sasha Pollock – Honours student
Title of Research: The role of essential amino acids in lifespan

Iris Bouwmeester – Dutch visiting student
Title of Research: Flies, nutrition and cold stress

Amy Dedman – Research Assistant