As a beamline scientist at the Australian Synchrotron, Dr Eleanor Campbell is helping researchers unlock the structure of SARS-CoV-2. When Australia’s pandemic lockdown started in March 2020, Campbell had only been in her role at ANSTO, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, for a few months.
“It was not a boring start!”
COVID-19 researchers were quickly given priority access to the Australian Synchrotron’s macromolecular X-ray crystallography. This allows them to investigate drug treatments by generating high-quality 3D models of the proteins that attach to the virus, as well as proteins the virus interacts with or builds inside the human body.
Campbell did a Bachelor of Chemistry and then a PhD at the Australian National University, accessing the Australian Synchrotron remotely for her research on proteins and enzymes. She took up an exciting research post at Cambridge University in the UK before landing a role at ANSTO as a beamline scientist. Campbell says her university science training is “absolutely fundamental” to her work at the Australian Synchrotron as it built up her problem solving and critical thinking abilities.
“I couldn’t do my current role without it.”
— Nadine Cranenburgh