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.

Email: matthew.piper@monash.edu

Twitter: @mattpiperlab

GoogleScholar

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
Funding
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.

Felipe Martelli

Felipe Martelli profile

Postdoctoral Associate

I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree at the Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil – 2011) studying the effects of oxidative stress on lymphocytes. In 2015, at the same University, I completed my Master’s investigating the relationship between nutrition and aging in honeybees. In 2020, I obtained my PhD from the University of Melbourne investigating how contaminating insecticides doses reprogram insect metabolism, causing oxidative stress leading to neurodegeneration. I spent 6 months of my PhD at the Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX). Currently, as a postdoc, I am modelling and seeking dietary interventions for inborn errors of metabolism. I have a passion for biology and when I am not in the lab I love spending time with my family, being in touch with nature or playing violin.

Email: Felipe.Martelli@monash.edu

Javier Gomez

Javier Gomez

PhD student

I completed my undergrad studies in Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (including one year abroad in the University of York). Afterwards I did my MRes in The University of Liverpool. I did my undergrad research project on vascular mouse models of accelerated ageing. Keeping in the line of ageing research my MRes project was based on the study of Protein and Gene Co-expression networks of Cellular Senescence. For my PhD, I would like to deepen into network analysis and other system biology analysis of ageing and it’s relationship with diet and fitness in Drosophila melanogaster. I am brand new in Melbourne so in my free time I would love to travel around and go hiking to explore the nature in Australia.

Email: javier.gomezortega@monash.edu

Krithika Balagopal

Krithika Balagopal

PhD student

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at SASTRA University, India. I was presented with an opportunity to do my final year project in the University of Oxford, where I tried to understand how various autophagy inducers can treat monogenic disease associated with intestinal inflammation. I then pursued a MRes in Clinical Medicine in Holm Uhlig’s lab at the University of Oxford, where I investigated the mechanisms by which defective G6PT metabolism in macrophages potentiate the intestinal inflammation in patients with Crohn’s disease. For my PhD, I would be using various genetic tools to understand how nutrition affects infection and immunity in D.melanogaster. Outside of academic life, I would like to get involved with activism. I also enjoy quiet reading and going to cheesy musicals.

Email: Krithika.Balagopal@monash.edu

Brooke Zanco

Brooke-profile

PhD student

I started my undergraduate degree at the University of Queensland, studying Journalism and International Relations. During my degree I became involved in scientific communication and as a result, transferred to a Bachelor of Science at Monash University. I completed both my undergraduate and honours year at Monash University, majoring in Ecology and Conservation Biology. Throughout my honours year I studied the role of nutrition in mediating larval trait responses to temperature in different populations of D. melanogaster. Now, during my PhD I intend to study the effects of sterols and other less examined nutrients on lifespan and reproductive trade-offs in D. melanogaster, and the mechanisms behind such trade-offs. In my spare time I enjoy photography, long walks in the forest and reading.

Email: Brooke.Zanco@monash.edu

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.

Email: tlful1@student.monash.edu

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.

Damian de Zilva

Damian de Zilva - profile

Honours student

I am currently undertaking my honours year in a Bachelor of Science at Monash University, having majored in Genetics. I am interested in how diet affects physiology and the underlying mechanisms involved. For my honours project, I will be specifically looking into the role of sterols in the diet and the effects it has on lifespan and health in Drosophila Melanogaster. In my spare time I enjoy going for a snorkel, training martial arts and hiking.

Email: adez0001@student.monash.edu

Jeanie Heer

Jeanie Heer profile

Honours student

I am a current Bachelor of Science honours student at Monash University that majored in physiology. In my third year I took up genetics out of curiosity and discovered that it was a field I really wanted to be a part of. I’m particularly interested in the genetic mechanisms underlying how nutrition influences health, reproduction, and stress tolerance. My honours project will involve transgenic expression in Drosophila melanogaster to prompt the synthesis of amino acids that would typically be sourced from the diet. I will be determining the effect that this may have on reproduction, feeding behaviour and stress. Outside of the lab I enjoy spending time with my friends, running and procrasti-baking.

Annelise Quig

Annelise Quig Profile

Honours student

I am currently undertaking my Honours year in a Bachelor of Science at Monash University, having majored in Genetics. I am particularly interested in genetic disorders and the development of clinical treatments. For my honours project, I will be examining inborn errors of Leucine metabolism in a Drosophila model and the effects of dietary manipulations as a treatment. Outside of the lab I enjoy playing netball, cross stitching and playing video games.

Lab Alumni

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

Amy Dedman – Research Assistant

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

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