Researcher

Dr Matthew Baker

My Expertise

  • Biophysics
  • Bacterial Motility
  • Bacterial Evolution
  • Microscopy
  • Single Molecule
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Antibiotic Microbial Resistance

Field of Research (FoR)

SEO tags

Biography

Dr Matt Baker is a Scientia Research Fellow in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales.

Matt completed his DPhil in Physics at Oxford University as a John Monash Scholar studying the bacterial flagellar motor that makes nearly all bacteria swim. Subsequently Matt investigated protein transport in Oxford's Department of Biochemistry, in particular the bacterial twin arginine transporter (TAT)...view more

Dr Matt Baker is a Scientia Research Fellow in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales.

Matt completed his DPhil in Physics at Oxford University as a John Monash Scholar studying the bacterial flagellar motor that makes nearly all bacteria swim. Subsequently Matt investigated protein transport in Oxford's Department of Biochemistry, in particular the bacterial twin arginine transporter (TAT) using cell imaging and artificial bilayer systems. Upon his return to Australia in 2013, Matt demonstratedfocussed primarily on how simple subunit interactions govern assembly of complex architectures, including the rotor (NSMB 2016) and filament (eLife 2017). The next question is how this complexity emerged. To begin addressing this, Matt's nascent group at UNSW looks at how ion selectivity changes using directed evolution (Mol Micro 2019) to examine the evolutionary landscape that constrains the adaptation of the motor.

Matt also investigates force sensitive proteins that change confirmation to activate ion channels (Channels 2019). These are essential at all scales of life, in bacteria to respond to osmotic shock and in mammals in the sense of touch and hearing and are involved in cancer progression and arthritis. This is in collaboration with Prof Boris Martinac of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and Dr Kate Poole within the School of Medicine at UNSW, and A/Prof Bailong Xiao at Tsinghua University. Matt has been an active delegate and panel chair at the Australia-China Youth Dialogue since 2015, and has active collaborations at Tsinghua, Beida, and SUSTech in Beijing and Shenzen. In collaboration with Dr Shelley Wickham, we probe membrane dynamics and interactions using novel DNA nanotechnology (Nanoscale 2019), with the ultimate goal to control membrane communication using de novo DNA nanotechnology.

Matt also has a love of radio: he was a Top 5 Under 40 Scientist in Residence at the ABC in 2015 and has continued since then as the regular science presenter on Nightlife, broadcast on ABC Local across Australia, and by producing content for the Health Report, Science Show, Saturday Extra and Earshot on ABC's Radio National. He also has applied his data skills to journalism; he was Australia's inaugural Google Newslab Fellow in 2016 when he was embedded at the Sydney Morning Herald.

 


My Grants

Directed evolution of ancestral bacterial flagellar motors, ARC Discovery Project 2019. CI Baker, PI Matzke, PI Beaumont, PI Marks.

The role of force-sensing ion channels in melanoma migration, NHMRC Project Grant 2017. CIA Poole, CIB Martinac, CIC Biro, CID Baker.


My Qualifications

DPhil, Oxford University.

BSc (Hons), Australian National University.


My Awards

2018  UNSW Faculty of Science – Dean’s Award for Excellence in Science Communication

2018  Scientia Research Fellowship – UNSW Fellowship

2017  Young 'Tall Poppy' Award, NSW – Australian Instute of Policy and Science

2016  Google News Lab Fellowship – Sole Australian Fellow.

2015  Australia-China Youth Dialogue Delegate

2015  Top 5 Under 40 Winner – ABC/UNSW fellowship to ‘discover Australia’s new generation of science thinkers’

2015  Robert M. Macnab Memorial Travel Award to speak at BLAST XIII in Tucson, Arizona

2009:           Nicholas Kurti Prize for Best 3rd Year DPhil Student Physics, University of Oxford.

2009:           Nesta Famelab UK Finalist (http://www.famelab.org).

2005-2009   John Monash Scholar (http://www.monashawards.org). PhD Fellowship

2001-2004   ANU National Undergraduate Scholarship.

View less

Research Activities

Dr Matt Baker's research group in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Science (BABS) currently focuses on two streams of research:

  1. The directed and experimental evolution of the bacterial flagellar motor to ascertain how the motor arose and to learn what governs the evolutionary pathways that resulted in the emergence of such complexity.
  2. Using DNA nanotechnology to control transmembrane communication.
  3. Understanding how proteins sense force. We investigate the conformational rearrangements that occur during sensing and activation of…