The Molecular Machines Visualisation Lab

About the lab

The central dogma of molecular biology postulates that genetic information flows linearly from DNA, the faithfully maintained blueprint of life, into RNA, the intermediate messenger, onto functional proteins, the machinery of our cells.

DNA, however, is much more than a simple linear code; it is packaged into a complex three-dimensional dynamic structure called chromatin in which DNA is wrapped around proteins known as histones. The compact nature of these structures restricts accessibility to genes. Indeed, 97 per cent of our DNA is packaged as heterochromatin – the dark matter of the genome and is thus inactive at any one time.

Not much is understood about heterochromatin, but its malfunction leads to cancer, developmental defects and susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Our lab seeks to understand the fundamental principles behind the formation, regulation and repair of heterochromatin. We hope to use these insights to discover new druggable targets.

Our mission

Lab’s mission: Seeing small in a big way.

Lab’s vision: To directly visualise biological processes to enable their functional significance to be understood and, in turn, inform the rational design of new medicines for diseases.


Representatives from CMT Australia with researchers from the Shakeel Lab
Above: Representatives from CMT Australia with researchers from the Shakeel Lab, 2023

Lab research projects

Lab team

The Shakeel lab is a newly established multidisciplinary team that focuses around electron cryo-microscopy and is complemented by biochemical and biophysical techniques.

We collaborate with other laboratories in the Structural Biology and Epigenetics and Development divisions and WEHI. We are always interested to hear from enthusiastic candidates at all career stages.

5 members
Visiting PhD Student
PhD Student
Shraddha Kameshwar
Visiting PhD Student
Research Officer
Interested in supporting our research?

Your support will help WEHI’s researchers make discoveries and find treatments to ensure healthier, longer lives for you and your loved ones.

Contact our friendly team to find out how you can help.