Dr Begoña Heras

Group Leader
La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science
La Trobe University


Latest News

Bacterial infections are one of the greatest health threats of the twenty-first century. With the increase of antimicrobial resistance and an absence of new drugs coming into the market, there is an urgent need to develop new therapeutic strategies.
Dr Begona Heras examines the molecular mechanisms underlying Gram-negative bacteria, which cause infections such as meningitis, gonorrhea, urinary tract infections and sepsis. Her group investigate the structure-function relationships in proteins involved in multi drug-resistant infections and develop antimicrobials with novel modes of action. Learn more:  http://bit.ly/2dHD2vc

Research Activities

  My specialist interest is in the area of bacterial pathogenesis, with a focus on investigating the structure-function relationships in proteins involved in bacterial infections. Since forming my group in 2012 I have led my team in the study of bacterial virulence factors (adhesins, toxins, virulence regulators) using structural biology, biochemistry and molecular biology approaches. These proteins are novel antibacterial drug targets and in this context we are using small molecule and antibody approaches to develop inhibitors, which could represent new classes of antimicrobial agents. Our research output and achievements have been reflected by our success in publishing our work in leading international journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Antioxidants and Redox Signalling, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Angewandte Chemie International, and obtaining external research funding including an ARC Future Fellowship, an ARC Discovery and an NHMRC project grants.


 • Protein chemistry
• Molecular biology

 X-ray crystallography

• Enzyme assays & inhibition assays

• Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC)
• Analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC)

• Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR)

• Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy

• Drug development (e.g. FBDD)

• Molecular Microbiology

 • NMR spectroscopy
• Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS)


Prof. Mark Schembri
Prof. Jenny Martin
A/Prof. Martin Scanlon
Dr. Makrina Totsika
A/Prof. Charlene Kahler
A/Prof. Mick Foley
Dr. Andrew Whitten

Upcoming Events

  • Jun 20

    ASM Microbe 2019

    Moscone Center 747 Howard St. San Francisco, CA 94103 MORE INFO
  • Jun 27

    4th Asia-Pacific AIDS & Co-Infections Conference

  • Jun 30

    Annual Meeting of the Australian Society for Microbiology 2019

    Adelaide Convention Centre MORE INFO