Dr Simon Foster is a Senior Research Officer at QIMR Berghofer and an emerging leader in molecular pharmacology and cardiovascular physiology. Dr Foster’s research focusses on novel aspects of cell signalling and G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) biology, with recent publications in leading journals e.g. Cell, PNAS, Brit J Pharmacol, J Biol Chem, Mol Pharmacol. He was awarded the ASCEPT/BPS Outstanding Young Investigator Prize and Certara New Investigator Award in 2019.
After receiving BA/BSc (Hons) degrees (University of Melbourne) and PhD for studies on odorant and taste receptors in the heart (University of Queensland, 2014), Simon relocated to Denmark to spearhead a large project discovering new peptide ligands for orphan GPCRs, supported by consecutive Postdoctoral fellowships from Lundbeck Foundation and Danish Council for Independent Research. He returned to Australia in 2018 to investigate chemokine receptor signalling at Monash University, and joined the Cardiac Bioengineering (Hudson) Group at QIMR Berghofer in late 2020.
Dr Foster is now combining his research interests in cardiovascular biology, cell signalling and drug discovery with the powerful cardiac organoid platform pioneered in the Hudson lab.
2021 – present: Senior Research Officer, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
2020 – present: Adjunct Research Fellow, Department of Pharmacology, Monash University
2020 – 2021: Research Officer, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
2018 –2020: Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Monash University
2015 – 2018: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen
Postdoctoral fellowship from the Danish Council for Independent Research (2015-2017)
Postdoctoral fellowship from the Lundbeck Foundation (2017-2018)
2013 – 2015: Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland
Dr Foster’s current research in the Cardiac Bioengineering Laboratory is leveraging state-of-the art bioengineering approaches to understand how the heart works at a molecular level. His aim is to understand the cellular and molecular signal transduction mechanisms that underpin cardiac dysfunction and to use this knowledge to discover new potential targets to treat cardiac fibrosis and heart failure.
In collaboration with Dr Lauren May at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (funded by a Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant), Dr Foster is investigating the role G protein-coupled receptors in the cardiovascular system with the aim to identify novel targets to prevent cardiac fibrosis. This project involves dissecting the functional effects of GPCR signalling in human cardiac tissue, in combination with high-end phosphoproteomics, and builds on Dr Foster’s discoveries of novel orphan receptor activating peptides during his postdoc in Copenhagen (Cell, 2019).
In collaboration with Professor Martin Stone at Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Monash University, Dr Foster has an ongoing research programme investigating chemokine-mediated signalling networks in monocytes, which are key players in inflammation and chronic inflammatory diseases including atherosclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Hudson Lab publication in Cell (2021) ‘BET Inhibition Blocks Inflammation-Induced Cardiac Dysfunction and SARS-CoV-2 Infection’ identified molecular target for cardiovascular inflammation with major implications for heart failure. This work provided the impetus for a Phase II clinical trial for BET inhibitor apabetalone in COVID-19 patients (NCT04894266).
Publication in PNAS (2020) on anti-inflammatory tick evasins featured on Channel 7 News in Sydney
First author publication in J Biol Chem (2020) characterising the phosphoproteomic signalling network downstream of chemokine receptor CCR2 activation featured on research highlight platform Faculty Opinions
Review article on Chemokine and Receptor Interactions featured as cover article in Protein Sci (2020)
First author publication in Cell (2019) ‘Discovery of human signaling systems: pairing peptides to G protein-coupled receptors’ featured as ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Science Signaling, was covered in 10 articles across 8 news outlets and has an Altmetric attention score of 149 placing it in the 99th percentile of all outputs ever tracked
Discovery of ‘taste’ receptors in the heart that play a putative nutrient-sensing function (published in PlosOne, 2013, cited >120 times). This discovery from during my PhD has spurred further research internationally on these receptors in the heart and cardiovascular system
2005 – present: Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT).
2014 – present: American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).
2020 – present: Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA).
2020 – present: Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network (QCVRN).
2020-21: Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ).
2012-15: European Chemoreception Research Organization (ECRO).
2014: Australasian Association for ChemoSensory Science (AACSS).
CASS Foundation Travel grant (postponed due to COVID-19)
British Pharmacological Society/Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (BPS/ASCEPT) Outstanding Young Investigator Prize
Certara New Investigator Award (Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists)
Early Career Researcher Speaker Prize – ASCEPT Drug Discovery and Neurobehavioural symposium
Lundbeck Foundation Travel stipend for research visit to Roth lab at the University of North Carolina, USA
Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF-FSS) Postdoctoral Fellowship
Lundbeck Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
7th International meeting on the Molecular Pharmacology of G Protein-Coupled Receptors Student Poster Prize
University of Queensland Graduate Student International Travel Award
ASCEPT International Travel Award
ASCEPT Annual Scientific Meeting, Cardiovascular Special Interest Group Prize
2014: Doctor of Philosophy (Biomedical Science), University of Queensland
2006: Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science (Hons), University of Melbourne