Helen Blanchard

Professor Helen Blanchard obtained a B.Sc (Hons) in chemistry, and a PhD in chemistry and X-ray crystallography, at Queen Mary College, The University of London, UK. She then pursued research using protein X-ray crystallography and awarded an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Postdoctoral Fellowship working with Professor Michael James at the University of Alberta, Canada. Helen continued research in protein structure and drug-design, mainly in the protease field, at the Biotechnology Research Institute National Research Council of Canada, Montréal, and subsequently at the University of San Diego (UCSD) USA; the University of ZÜrich, Switzerland; St, Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne; The University of Queensland, Brisbane; and in industry in Basel, Switzerland.  In 2002, she took up a Research Leader position at the Institute for Glycomics, Griffith University, Queensland. In 2006, she was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in recognition of her structural biology and inhibitor design research. Since 2013, Helen has served as Director of Higher Degree Research, Griffith Sciences. Professor Blanchard’s research focuses on exploring protein recognition of molecules, predominantly the investigation of protein-carbohydrate interactions, and using this atomic information in structure-based inhibitor design. A major area of her research group targets the carbohydrate-recognising proteins galectins, many of which have roles in cancer. The ultimate aim is to design small-molecule compounds as therapeutics to block galectin interactions with host-cell carbohydrates, to reduce or eliminate tumour growth and metastasis, thereby reducing cancer progression.