Associate Dean of Research
Ph.D. University of Melbourne
Telephone: +61 3 9905 5504
Fax: +61 3 9905 5613
Coral's research interests are in cellular and developmental genetics, with a focus on how cells respond to signals from their environment. Her group studies the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster as it is a fantastic model organism for studying how genes function in cells and during development. Coral completed both Honours and a PhD in Genetics at the University of Melbourne, where she worked on the fly visual system. She then undertook postdoctoral studies at Yale University in the USA where she was a joint first author of two ground-breaking studies that uncovered the gene families encoding receptors involved in olfaction and taste in Drosophila.
Coral joined Monash in 2001 as a lecturer and is now an Associate Professor in Genetics and the Deputy Head of the School of Biological Sciences. Her current research focuses on two questions. The first is the molecular genetic basis of olfaction, a topic of broad significance from both fundamental and applied perspectives as the sense of smell is vital for most animals in finding food, identifying mates, and avoiding predators.
Secondly, in collaboration with Professor James Whisstock from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash, the group is studying the role of Membrane Attack Complex / Perforin-like (MACPF) proteins in Drosophila. MACPF proteins are well known as pore forming proteins that play key roles in vertebrate immunity, often by forming pores in membranes and lysing cells. However, some MACPF proteins play a role outside immunity and intriguingly appear to be essential for developmental processes. Drosophila has only one MACPF protein, Torso-like (Tsl), which is critical for correct patterning of the early embryo.