Professor Brett Collins

NHMRC Leadership Fellow - GL

Institute for Molecular Bioscience
+61 7 334 62043


Brett Collins is an NHMRC Career Development Fellow and head of the Molecular Trafficking Lab at UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience. He was a lead investigator in the seminal structural studies of AP2, the protein adaptor molecule central to clathrin-mediated endocytosis, and has since defined the molecular basis for the function of critical proteins regulating membrane trafficking and signalling at the endosome organelle. His team is now focused on understanding how discrete molecular interactions between proteins and lipids control these processes in human cells.

Associate Professor Collins was awarded his PhD in 2001 and has published over 75 papers including in Cell, Nature, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Developmental Cell, and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, altogether cited more than 3100 times. He is the recipient of 3 prestigious fellowships, including a previous Career Development Award from the National Health and Medical Research Council and a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council, and was awarded the University of Queensland Research Excellence Award in 2008. In 2015 he was awarded the Emerging Leader Award of the ANZSCDB and in 2016 the Merck Research Medal from the ASBMB. He is currently the President of the Queensland Protein Group.

Research Interests

  • Membrane Trafficking
    The basis for movement of molecules between cellular organelles essential for cell homeostasis.
  • Structural biology
    The atomic resolution details of how biological molecules are assembled together and interact with each other.

Research Impacts

Trafficking is essential for normal cellular function and is perturbed in many different diseases, notably Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders, pathogen invasion, cancer and inflammation. A/Prof Collins is probing the fundamental mechanisms of membrane transport, through the application of high-resolution structure determination, quantitative biophysical analyses of molecular interactions, and correlated cellular studies of essential protein machineries. Understanding these molecular mechanisms will allow us to determine how their dysfunction contributes to disease and how to target them for new therapies.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Macquarie University


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Available Projects

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Featured Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Livingstone, Emma, Whitten, Andrew, Weeratunga, Saroja, Martin, Jennifer and Collins, Brett (2018). Characterisation of protein complexes essential to cellular trafficking. 32nd Annual Symposium of the Protein Society, Boston, MA, 9-12 July 2018 . Hoboken, NJ, United States: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Paul, B., Kim, H. S., Kerr, M. C., Huston, W. M., Teasdale, R. D. and Collins, B. M. (2017). Structural basis for the hijacking of endosomal sorting nexin proteins by Chlamydia trachomatis. Annual Joint Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology and the European Molecular Biology Organization (ASCB/EMBO), Philadelphia, PA United States, 2-6 December 2017. Bethesda, MD United States: American Society for Cell Biology.

  • Teasdale, R., Follett, J., Bugarcic, A., Yang, Z. and Collins, B. (2015). Parkinson-associated VPS35 mutations alter retromer cellular functions. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian Pacific Society for Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society, Cairns, QLD Australia Conference, 23-27 August 2015. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13185

  • Gallon, M., Clairfeuille, T., Collins, B. M. and Cullen, P. J. (2014). A unique PDZ domain and arrestin-like fold interaction reveals mechanistic details of endocytic recycling by SNX27-retromer. ASCB/IFCB Meeting, Philadelphia Pa, Dec 06-10, 2014. BETHESDA: AMER SOC CELL BIOLOGY.

  • Ghai, R., Mobli, M., Norwood, S. J., Bugarcic, A., Teasdale, R. D., King, G. F. and Collins, B. M. (2012). PX family proteins at the interface between intracellular trafficking and signalling. 22nd IUBMB Congress/37th FEBS Congress, Seville, Spain, 4-9 September 2012. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2010.08705.x

  • Collins, BM and Owen, DJ (2004). Structural studies of clathrin adaptors. Annual Meeting of the American-Society-for-Cell-Biology, Washington Dc, Dec 04-08, 2004. BETHESDA: AMER SOC CELL BIOLOGY.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.