Formerly Executive Vice President of the biotechnology company Proteome Systems, Prof. Packer was part of the team that set up the Australian Proteome Analysis Facility at Macquarie. She is a senior editor of Proteomics and holds several patents in glycobiology.
Prof Packer's research focus is in investigating the post-translational modification of proteins by sugars (glycomics). Sugars are usually expressed on the surface of the cell and are therefore the first molecules involved in cell-cell contact. They are thus integral to the function of many crucial cellular processes such as cell growth and development, tumour growth and metastasis, blood coagulation, immune recognition and response, cell-cell communication, microbial pathogenesis, fertility
Specifically research projects encompass the role of glycosylation in many systems including:
Innate immune system: "Turning the tables on pathogens" - do glycoproteins in mammalian fluids such as milk, tears, saliva have antipathogenic properties?
Cancer glycomics: Are there diagnostic oligosaccharide changes that occur on membrane proteins in cancer metastasis and drug resistance?
Technology development: Can we make glycomics analysis easier? - specific separation technologies and informatics for the improved analysis of glycoproteins.