News from Mechanopharmacology

Staff & Student Profiles

Fernando Jativa

photo of Fernando Jativa

Fernado was awarded an Organisers Choice Prize for his entry “Orb of Life” in the Under the Coverslip 2017 Competition, The University of Melbourne.  Fernando is in the third year of his PhD in Biomechanics. His multidisciplinary project, on how lung disease affects the mechanical properties of lung tissues, is co-supervised by Professors Alastair Stewart (Pharmacology & Therapeutics) and Peter Lee (Mechanical Engineering).  Fernando has several publications in peer-review journals and has presented his work in international conferences in USA, China and Australia. Fernando also enjoys teaching and Art.  Prior to commencing his PhD, Fernando completed a degree in Chemical Engineering at San Francisco de Quito University and an Honours year at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago.

Dr Narelle Tunstall

photo of Dr Narelle Tunstall

Narelle was recently appointed Manager of the ARC Centre for Personalised Therapeutics Technologies.  This Centre aims to foster a vibrant, sustainable, growing industry of highly skilled researchers using organ-on-a-chip and bioprinting technologies to deliver on the potential of the era of personalised medicines. Narelle is passionate about supporting researchers and has held previous positions in researcher career development as well as research operations. She holds BSc Honours and PhD degrees in genetics from Monash University.

Final PhD Orations were recently given by the following students:

Meina Li

photo of Meina Li

Meina received a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 2010 from Shandong University (China) and a Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical analysis in 2013 from Peking University (China). After graduating from Peking University, Meina joined the Mechanopharmacology laboratory in 2013, with the support of a Chancellor’s scholarship that was established to strengthen the connection between Melbourne University and Peking University.  Meina’s major research interest has been trying to understand the signalling of transforming growth factor beta-induced steroid resistance and identifying drug targets that will spare essential growth and immunoregulatory effects of transforming growth factor beta (thereby facilitating the development of safe modulators of its profoundly significant compromise to steroid activity). In addition to scientific work, Meina enjoys traveling, photography and writing and she would like to share with people how wonderful Australia and the world are using her images and words.

Danica Radojicic

photo of Danica Radojicic

Danica received her Master’s degree in Pharmacy in 2013 from the University of Belgrade (Serbia). She was awarded with two Melbourne international scholarships to join the Mechanopharmacology laboratory, starting her PhD project under Alastair Stewart’s supervision in March 2014. Her research interests include the pharmacology of glucocorticoids and the mechanisms of their actions and insensitivity in the airway epithelium, particularly in asthma. As part of her PhD, she investigated the role of the specific transcriptional repressor PLZF in mediating glucocorticoid effects in the airway epithelium. She also explored the effect of the physiological glucocorticoid, cortisol on the actions of synthetic, therapeutically used glucocorticoids in the airway epithelium, using both human in vitro models, including the air-liquid interface cultures of primary human bronchial epithelial cells and in vivo animal models. Apart from her love for research and science, Danica is also a professional singer and songwriter. She competed in Eurovision, representing Serbia in 2011.