Dr Tara Pukala


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! Associate Professor Tara Pukala is a teaching and research academic at the University of Adelaide. Here she helps to educate our next generation of chemists and biochemists. She also leads a research team working at the intersection of chemistry, biology and health sciences.

After obtaining her PhD in Chemistry in 2006 Tara spent 2 years at the University of Cambridge, UK, where she became interested in how the methods traditionally used to study small molecules can be applied to ‘see’ the atomic detail of large biomolecules like proteins and DNA. Returning to her hometown of Adelaide in 2008 she has established a successful research profile using a range of analytical chemistry tools to study the structure and interactions of these biomacromolecules. This provides new understanding of their functions and helps unravel processes which have gone astray to cause disease.

In 2017 Tara became Director of the Adelaide Proteomics Centre, where she provides collaborative and contract analytical services to researchers and industry. She is also President of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry, the leading national body of her field.