Dr. Robert Moritz, a native of Australia, joined the ISB faculty in mid 2008 as Associate Professor and Director of Proteomics. Dr. Moritz began his work in 1983 in the Joint Protein Structure laboratory of Prof. Richard J. Simpson (JPSL-Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia). During his 25 years at JPSL, Dr. Moritz designed and implemented a number of technologies currently used in many proteomics laboratories across the globe. Examples include technologies such as the development of micro-chromatography for proteomics from the late 1980’s to its current day implementation, a micro-fractionation technique widely used by many laboratories worldwide. His collaborative research into cytokine biochemistry, protein-receptor chemistry and cellular biochemistry culminated in the novel identification of a number of proteins (e.g., IL-6, IL-9 A33 ligand, DIABLO, as well as several others), their interacting partners, and 3-dimensional structures of their cell surface receptors important in human health concerns such as cancer and inflammation. During his time at JPSL, Dr. Moritz progressed through the ranks whilst obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with first-class Honors, and his Ph.D., from the University of Melbourne.
Dr. Moritz has brought wide-ranging skills and expertise to ISB, much of it drawn from his Australian experience. There, in 2005, he conceptualized a shared proteomics high-performance computing system, organized a consortia of proteomic scientists from all states in Australia, and proposed a computational system specifically for proteomics data analysis for all Australian researchers to access. For this work, in 2006, he was awarded an enabling grant from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council worth AUS$2M. With that award, he established a bioinformatics center in Australia that enabled proteomic researchers anywhere in the country to analyze mass spectrometry data. It was the first effort on a national scale to bring proteomic data analysis and algorithms to any researcher in the whole country without the need for them to build their own bioinformatics group. In late 2006, the Australian Proteomics Computational Facility (APCF, www.apcf.edu.au) was inaugurated, and Dr. Moritz remains as Director of the APCF. The dedicated proteomics data analysis facility is equipped with a 1000 CPU high-performance computing cluster, and full-time software engineers for the continued development of proteomics algorithms and data validation. This facility serves all researchers in Australia and others regardless of their global geographical location. He is continuing that work at ISB by expanding the ISB proteomics centre into a national facility with online tools for data analysis.