Bernadette specialises in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications in the chemical fields, including organic, medicinal, pharmaceutical and agricultural. Her Honours thesis, undertaken in the organic chemistry department at Monash University was directed to synthesis of an intermediate in a pyrolysis reaction. During her PhD at the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Bernadette undertook nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies of the structures of the separate chains of insulin. NMR was also used to study the interaction of insulin with small organic molecules and the effect of those molecules on the activity of insulin.
Her doctoral studies were followed by three years as a Post-doctoral Researcher at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom investigating the structure of cytochrome P450 by NMR. These structural studies involved overexpression and purification of significant quantities of isotopically-labelled protein (15N, 13C and 3H). A second post-doctoral position in the biochemistry department at the University of Queensland was directed to research on protein-RNA interactions relevant to RNA trafficking in the cytoplasm of oligodendrocytes. Specifically, the interaction of the protein hnRNP A2 with its cis-acting RNA element (A2RE) was studied by NMR. This research involved overexpressing significant quantities of isotopically-labelled protein, and also preparation and purification (by HPLC and acrylamide/urea gel electrophoresis) of 13C-labelled RNA. Bernadette thus has a broad range of technical experience across chemical and biochemical subject matter. Prior to joining Cullens (now Spruson & Ferguson) in 2007, Bernadette spent several years as a Patent Examiner at the Australian Patent Office.