Dr Sabrina Heng

Dr Sabrina Heng
  • Biography/ Background

    2014 - Current          ARC Senior Research Associate

                                   (ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics,

                                   University of Adelaide)


    2010 - 2014  (May)   Australian Research Council Super Science Fellow

           Research Area: Light driven on/off Sensors.

           (Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing,

                                   University of Adelaide)


    2009 - 2010      Post Doctoral Fellow with Prof. Andrew Abell & Prof. Tanya Monro

            (School of Chemistry and Physics, University of Adelaide, Australia)


    2004 - 2009    Ph.D with Prof. Evan Kantrowtiz

     Fields: Medicinal Chemistry, Organic Synthesis, Enzymology.

    (Boston College, Massachusetts, USA)

  • Awards & Achievements

    2015   Barbara Kidman Fellowship

               Edith Dornwell Early Career Researcher Award (Order of Merit)

    2014   ANN ECR Conference Best Poster Award

    2013 Executive Dean of Sciences Order of Merit for Early Career Research Excellence

    2005 Donald White Teaching Excellence Award (Boston College)

  • Research Interests

    I am interested in developing new chemical tools that can be used to answer biological questions. More specifically, I am interested in developing (1) light-driven and regenerable sensors for probing intercelluar metal ions and (2) in the control of enzyme/protein function in-vivo using light-driven inhibitors.

  • Publications


    ARC Discovery Grant:

    1. Aquaporin Channels in Cell Migration, 2016 – 2018, $350K 

    IPAS Pilot Project:

    1.  UV-guiding silica hollow-core fibre for biological sensing, IPAS Pilot Project 2015, $15K

    2.  Characterisation of aquaporin-1 (AQP1) ion channel activity in migrating cancer cells using a novel photoswitchable fluorescent probe, IPAS Pilot Project 2015, $15K

    3.  Towards a light-driven, biocompatible sensor for the rapid detection of bacterial toxins, IPAS Pilot Project, 2014. $16K.

    4.  Development of a photoswitchable, membrane-based metal ion-sensing platform, IPAS extending collaborations pilot project 2013, $8K.

    5.  Photoswitchable β-Hairpin Peptides for Molecular Bio-optoelectronic Devices. IPAS Pilot Project 2012, $9K

    DVCR Interdisciplinary Research Grant

    Fibre insight in diabetes treatment: a new photonic fibre device to investigate the enteroendocrine L-cell, 2015, $22K

    Ramaciotti Equipment Grant 2013



    Corresponding authorship marked by * 

    2011 - Current

    Schartner EP, Tsiminis G, François A, Kostecki R, Warren-Smith SC, Nguyen LV, Heng S, Reynolds T, Klantsataya E, Rowland KJ, Abell AD, Ebendorff-Heidepriem H and Monro TM. Taming the Light in Microstructured Optical Fibers for Sensing. International Journal of Applied Glass Science. 2015, 6 (3) 229–239.

    Zhang X, Heng S,* Abell AD. Photoregulation of a-Chymotrypsin Activity by Spiropyran-Based Inhibitors in Solution and Attached to an Optical Fiber. Chem. Eur. J. 2015, 21, 10703 – 10713.

    Heng S,* Mak A, Stubing D, Monro TM, Abell AD. A dual sensor for Cd(II) and Ca(II): Selective nanoliter scale sensing  of metal ions.  Analytical Chemistry. 2014, 86(7), 3268-3272.

    Heng S,* McDevitt CA, Stubing DB, Whittal JJ, Thompson JG, Engler TK, Abell AD, Monro TM. Microstuctured optical fibers and live cells: A water-soluble, photochromic zinc sensor. ACS Biomacromolecules. 2013, 14(10), 3376-3379.

    Heng S,* Nguyen M-C, Kostecki R, Monro TM, Abell AD. Nanoliter-scale, regenerable ion sensor: sensing with a surface functionalized microstructured optical fibre. RSC Advances. 2013, 3, 8308-8317.

    Heng S,* Tieu W, Hautmann S, Kuan K, Pedersen DS, Pietsch M, Gütschow M, Abell AD. New cholesterol esterase inhibitors based on rhodanine and thiazolidinedione scaffolds. Bioorg Med Chem. 2011, 19 (24), 7453-63.

    Warren-Smith SC, Heng S,* Ebendorff-Heidepriem H, Abell AD, Monro TM. Fluorescence-based aluminum ion sensing using a surface-functionalized microstructured optical fiber. Langmuir. 2011, 27 (9), 5680-5.  


    Before 2011

    Monro, TM, Warren-Simth SC, Schartner, EP, Francois, A, Heng S, Ebendorff-Heidepriem H, Afshar VS. Optical Fiber Technology. 2010, 16, 343-356. Sensing with suspended-core optical fibers.

    Heng S, Harris KM, Kantrowitz ER. Designing inhibitors against fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase: exploring natural products for novel inhibitor scaffolds. Eur J Med Chem. 2010, 45 (4), 1478-84.  

    Heng S, Gryncel KR, Kantrowitz ER.A library of novel allosteric inhibitors against fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase. Bioorg Med Chem. 2009, 17 (11), 3916-22.

    Eldo J, Heng S, Kantrowitz ER. Design, synthesis, and bioactivity of novel inhibitors of E. coli aspartate transcarbamoylase. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2007, 17 (7), 2086-90.

    Heng S, Stieglitz KA, Eldo J, Xia J, Cardia JP, Kantrowitz ER. T-state inhibitors of E. coli aspartate transcarbamoylase that prevent the allosteric transition. Biochemistry. 2006, 45 (33), 10062-71.

    C Phoon, B Somanadhan, S Heng, A Ngo, S Ng, M Butler, A Buss, M Sim.  Isolation. Total synthesis of gymnastatin N, a POLO-like kinase 1 active constituent from the fungus Arachniotus punctatus. Tetrahedron,. 2004, 60 (50), 11619-11628.

    Conference Papers

    Francois A, Heng S, Kosteki, R, Monro, TM. Sensing with suspended-core optical fibers. Enzyme detection by surface plasmon resonance using specially engineered spaces and plasmonic labeling. Proc. of SPIE. 2010, 8024, 802402.

    Sabrina Heng, Mai-Chi Nguyen, Roman Kostecki, Tanya M. Monro and Andrew D. Abell. Nanoliter-scale, Regenerable Ion Sensor: Sensing with Surface Functionalized Microstructured Optical Fiber. Proc. of SPIE. 2013, 8774, 877403

    Roman Kostecki, Sabrina Heng, Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Andrew D. Abell, and Tanya M. Monro. Functionalization of Exposed Core Fibers with Multiligand Binding Molecules for Fluorescence Based Ion Sensing. 


    A New Class of Inhibitors of Fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase Bases Upon the Natural Product Achyrofuran. WO Patent 2,010,091,185



  • Professional Associations

    2007 - present      American Chemical Society 

    2011 - present      Scientist in Schools 

    2013 - present     Australian Nanotechnology Network

The information in this directory is provided to support the academic, administrative and business activities of the University of Adelaide. To facilitate these activities, entries in the University Phone Directory are not limited to University employees. The use of information provided here for any other purpose, including the sending of unsolicited commercial material via email or any other electronic format, is strictly prohibited. The University reserves the right to recover all costs incurred in the event of breach of this policy.

Entry last updated: Saturday, 12 Mar 2016