Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Coombe Laboratory


Prof. Deirdre Coombe

Laboratory Location: Room 101 Building 305, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Bentley

Keratinocytes seeded onto extracellular matrix (ECM) and grown in defined serum free medium. Pink; collagen I, Red; Paxillin, Green; F-actin, Blue; nucleus. Image courtesy of Chee Wai Wong (PhD student).

Area of Expertise

The focus of the lab is the extracellular matrix and its contribution to cell and tissue differentiation as well as to cancer cell migration and invasion, particularly in relation to melanoma. In recent years we have been interested in how keratinocyte differentiation is controlled and regulated by extracellular matrix secreted by dermal fibroblasts. Our work with work with carbohydrates in the extracellular matrix and in particular with glycosaminoglycan (GAG)-protein interactions has led to a major project spanning many years on therapeutic applications of carbohydrate-based drugs. This is a multi-discipline project involving both chemical synthesis and biology. The production of synthetic GAG-like molecules is performed in collaboration with Dr Alan Payne, Applied Chemistry (Curtin), and the biological testing of these compounds is performed in my lab. The initial focus is on inflammatory disease and particularly asthma and allergy. This project is funded by Glycan Biosciences LLC. 

Top 5 Publications

  1. 1. Chaturvedi V., Naskar D., Kinnear B.F., Grenik E., Dye D.E., Grounds M.D., Kundu S.C.*, Coombe D.R.* (2016) Silk fibroin scaffolds with muscle-like elasticity support in vitro differentiation of human skeletal muscle cells. J. Tissue Eng. Regen. Med.  doi: 10.1002/term.2227  *corresponding authors
  2. Singh A., Kett W.C., Severin I.C., Proudfoot A.E.I., Coombe* D.R. and Woods* R.J. (2015) The Interaction of Heparin Tetrasaccharides with Chemokine CCL5 is Modulated by Sulfation Pattern and pH. J.Biol. Chem. 290(25):15421-36. *corresponding authors
  3. Chaturvedi V., Dye D.E., Kinnear B.F., Van Kuppeveldt T.H., Grounds M.D. and Coombe D.R. (2015) Interactions between skeletal muscle myoblasts and their extracellular matrix revealed by a serum free culture system. PLoS ONE  10(6): e0127675.
  4. Dye D.E., Medic S., Ziman M. and Coombe D.R. (2013) Melanoma biomolecules:  independently identified but functionally intertwined. Frontiers in Oncology. 3:252. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00252
  5. Coombe D.R. and Kett, W.C. (2012) Heparin Mimetics. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 207:361-83. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-23056-1_16

Publications  with CCTRM byline

  1. Iosifidis T., Garratt L.W., Coombe D.R., Knight D., Stick S., Kicic A. (2016) Airway epithelial repair in health and disease: Orchestrator or simply a player? Respirology 21: 438-448.

Recent Grant Successes

  1. June 2017 – June 2018: Research contract from Glycan Biosciences LLC, "Carbohydrate-like drugs for asthma and allergy, part II" $550,000 .  CI: D.R. Coombe
  2. April 2016 - May 2017: Research contract from Glycan Biosciences LLC, "Carbohydrate-like drugs for asthma and allergy" $330,000 .  CI: D.R. Coombe
  3. 2015-2016: Blue Sky Research Grant, Telethon Kids: “A new class of drugs for treating severe childhood asthma” CIs: Kicic A, Coombe D.R., Stick S., Payne A., Gandhi, N. Funding $50,000
  4. 2013-2015: NHMRC Grant: “Glycomic control of cartilage extra cellular matrix turnover” CIs: D. Smith, D.R. Coombe, B. Gardiner, A. Grodzinsky; Associate Investigator: Alan Payne. Funding $682,895.66
  5. 2012: Scott Kirkbride Melanoma Research Centre, Discovery Research – Priming Grant: “MCAM and the galectin-3 lattice: partners in melanoma metastasis.” CIs: K. Davern, D.R. Coombe and D.E, Dye. Funding $75,000

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