Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Pietersz
Associate Editor: Geoffrey Pietersz
Prof Pietersz is a Professor and Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Burnet Institute and Head of the Bio-organic & Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory, Melbourne, Australia. He obtained his BSc (Hons) and PhD at the University of Melbourne in synthetic organic chemistry in the area of natural products. With a keen interest in working at the interface of biology and organic chemistry he did his postdoctoral work at the Research Centre for cancer and Transplantation (RCCT) at the Melbourne University on drug, toxin, isotope-monoclonal antibody conjugates. During this period he developed many novel immunoconjugates of a number of anti-cancer drugs.
In 1991 the RCCT became the Austin Research Institute affiliated with the Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre, Heidelberg. Prof Pietersz developed a vaccine delivery system based on bio-conjugation of tumour associated antigen, mucin 1 to the mannose carbohydrate, mannan which targets antigen presenting cells. Successful efficacy studies in animal models led to several clinical trials in cancer and eventually licensing the IP to Prima Biomed Ltd and Ascend Biopharma Ltd. The antigen-mannan conjugates were also able to prime mucosal and systemic responses when administered via the intranasal route and demonstrated for influenza, RSV and rotavirus. Professor Pietersz also designed several small chemical entities using structure based design that inhibit immune complexes binding to the FcγRIIa receptor for inflammation.
In 2006 the Austin Research Institute merged with the Burnet Institute. His current research is still focussed on applying bio-conjugation strategies to solve biological problems in inflammation, drug delivery and vaccine delivery and application in translational research. He has a part-time position with Ascend Biopharma Ltd as Director of Technology Development. Prof Pietersz holds professorial appointments at Melbourne University and Monash University.