Dr Tara Pukala

Biological Chemist

University of Adelaide

What do you do if you can’t decide between studying chemistry and biology? You become a biological chemist! I am a teaching and research Professor at the University of Adelaide who loves to explore the complex world of biology from a molecular viewpoint.

After obtaining my PhD in Chemistry, I spent two years at the University of Cambridge, UK. Here I became increasingly interested in developing methods that allow us to ‘see’ large biomolecules like proteins and DNA. I have developed new analytical approaches that visualise the size, shapes, structures and interactions of these biomolecules. This helps us to understand their functions and help unravel processes which have gone astray, for example in development of disease. Working at the intersection of chemistry, biology and health sciences, this has allowed new knowledge which can ultimately lead to healthier, more sustainable lives.

Since 2017 I’ve also had the role of Director of the Adelaide Proteomics Centre. Here I provide analytical services to researchers and industry, with impacts across diverse sectors including biopharma, food and agriculture. In addition to my research achievements, I take pride in educating our next generation of chemists, biochemists and STEM researchers.

Dr Tara Pukala is a Superstar of STEM.