Associate Professor Tim StPierre
Position: Associate Professor, Physics
Affiliation: University of Western Australia, School of Physics
Phone: +61 (08) 6488 2747
Associate Professor St Pierre is a biophysicist. From 1991-93 he was the recipient of a Cooley’s Anemia Foundation (New York) Fellowship. From 1993 to 1995 he was appointed as Senior Research Fellow (ARC funded) in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Murdoch University. From 1995 to the present he has been employed as a member of faculty in the School of Physics at The University of Western Australia. His research career has centred on investigating the structure and magnetic properties of biogenic iron minerals and their interactions with external magnetic fields. These studies have had particular relevance to understanding the toxicity, chelatability and non-invasive detection and quantification of pathological iron deposits such as hemosiderin in iron overload diseases including thalassaemia and hereditary haemochromatosis. His studies have resulted in 81 refereed publications in international journals, 3 invited book chapters, 6 book chapters (conference proceedings), 2 articles in national professional journals, and an international patent. The international patent has resulted in the formation of a spin-off company, Inner Vision Biometrics Pty Ltd and the formation of an ASX listed company Resonance Health Ltd. A/Prof St Pierre has been invited to speak at several international conferences (keynote speaker at three international conferences) and was invited to participate in the NIH Workshop on Non-invasive Iron Measurement held in Washington DC in 2001. He has won 23 research grants since 1991 (as chief or co-chief investigator) totalling over $2.4 million. He also has consultancy contracts with the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, Novartis Pharma.
A/Prof St Pierre works in the field of the structure and magnetism of nanoscale iron oxides, particularly those found in biological systems. His most significant contributions lie in his multidisciplinary approach to the subject. By bringing together a physical approach and chemical approach to the problem several new insights into the structure-magnetism relationship have been gained. For example, he and his team have developed methods of building iron oxide particles within ferritin cages with both controlled numbers of iron atoms and controlled degrees of crystallinity. In addition, the use of polysaccharide templates has enabled the synthesis of rod-like iron oxide nanoparticles. This has enabled an unprecedented systematic investigation into the relationships between structure and magnetic properties of oxide nanoparticles. Much of A/Prof St. Pierre's recent research has been aimed at the application of results from this research field to biomedical problems. In particular, his investigations have led to a greater understanding of the structure of pathogenic iron deposits in iron overload disorders such as thalassaemia and haemochromatosis. Research into exploiting the magnetic properties of iron in magnetic resonance imaging has resulted in an international patent and the establishment of a start-up company to commercialise novel methodologies.
Prof Judy Riffle, Virginia Tech, USA – collaboration on design and synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles for use in biomedical applications.