Sheila Barbero

Title: Miss

First name: Sheila

Surname: Barbero

Web Site:


After graduating from the University of Queensland with a double degree in science (drug design and development) and arts (Japanese) I found that my interests lay more in the field of science, especially in the field of drug discovery and development. I decided to undertake an Honours year in chemistry this year, which incorporates performing a research project and submitting a thesis detailing the project, in order to obtain more practical “bench” experience, and to also get a taste of what research and “real chemistry” is truly like.

I have gained a lot of experience in 2009 doing Hons research at the Institute for Molecular Biosciences in many aspects. Our research group is a group of friendly and easy-going people from a host of different nationalities. We also integrate various scientific disciplines in the drug design and development process including chemistry, biology and pharmacology. The facilities available to our research group are amazing - from a chemist’s point of view, we have a large chemical store, suitable working area and a variety of powerful characterisation and purification equipment available essentially at our fingertips.
My research was in synthetic medicinal chemistry, and involved the use of both analogue and structure-based drug design methodologies to develop second-generation inhibitors of the class of human enzyme phospholipase A2 (PLA2). Previous studies in our laboratories had produced a compound KH064 (Figure below, see Hansford et al, 2003). A major outcome of my project was the discovery of a new potent (28 nM) compound, with improved pharmacological properties such as reduced logP, number of rotatable bonds, and molecular weight. This compound is currently being evaluated in animal models of inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis, and we expect to produce a scientific paper from these results. I also contributed to another research paper (in preparation) on aldol chemistry and reductive amination, examining tolerance of the reactions to chemical substituents.

Being able to undertake a research project and to work with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in this field has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience, and has inspired me to continue with research. I hope to undertake a PhD in chemistry within the next few years.

Former Group Members