Dr Wallace Bridge

Position: 
Senior Lecturer
Room: 
s108, Level 1 Samuels Building
Telephone: 
(+612) 9385 1297
Fax: 
(+612) 9385 1483


Professional Experience

  • 2008-current: Senior Lecturer, School of BABS
  • 2001-2008: Director, UNSW Entrepreneurs in Science Unit (Faculty of Science)
  • 1998-2001: Program Leader and Commercial Project Manager, CRC FII
  • 1994-1997: Group Leader (BPC), Program Leader CRC for Food Industry Innovation
  • 1992-1994: Senior Research Scientist, Roferm SpA, Italy
  • 1989-1992: Research Scientist, UNSW Department of Biotechnology
  • 1988-1989: Research Scientist, Aplin & Barrett UK
  • 1986-1997: Burns Philp & Co. Ltd (BPC)
  • 1984-1986: Research Scientist, CSR Ltd
  • 1986-1988: Research Scientist, CSIRO Division Food Research

Research Contribution

I have 30 years academic and industrial experience in bioprocessing-based R&D in Australia and overseas (Italy and UK). My major research areas have included: ethanol; cephalosporin C, nisin, thiol antioxidants; isoprenoids; glycosidic enzymes; lactic acid bacteria (dairy starter cultures and probiotics), bakers yeast; yeast extract manufacture; microbial biotransformations and biocatalysis; and, more recently, immunology. Current research activities are in the fields of biocatalysis and immunology.

Biocatalysis: My research group has developed a patent-protected biocatalytic-based process for the manufacture of gamma linked peptides, which has been licensed to Biospecialties International Pty Ltd (BSI) by UNSW’s commercialisation company, New South Innovations Ltd (NSi) for the manufacture of the natural thiol antioxidant, gamma-glutamyl cysteine (GGC). The GGC dipeptide is the immediate precursor to the tripeptide glutathione, which is commonly referred to as the master antioxidant as it is produced and used by almost all aerobic cells from bacteria through to human. Many diseases and disorders and even ageing itself are associated with lowered cellular glutathione levels, which may be insufficient to protect against oxidative stress that results from a related increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS). As GGC can elevate cellular glutathione content, it may have a broad range of potential applications as an active ingredient in dietary supplement, cosmetics and functional foods, and possibly as a therapeutic for a large range of clinical disorders and diseases.

My former PhD student Dr Martin Zarka, who worked on the process development and is co-inventor on the triadic granted (US8236533 B2) patent, is BSI's Research Manager and an adjunct academic in BABS. Since the licence was agreed, BSI has constructed a pilot plant at its Mayfield (Newcastle) factory that was used to validate and optimise the technology for industrial scale-up. The construction of the plant and the pilot studies were supported by AusIndustry and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) grants.

Following the completion and publication of OECD guideline toxicity safety studies, GGC was recommended by an FDA-accredited expert panel to be given GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) status in the US regulatory system, which enables its sale in the US as an active food ingredient. A current UNSW-sponsored clinical trial is providing evidence that orally administered GGC can significantly systemically increase cellular glutathione levels. A manufacturing plant has recently (December 2014) been built at the Mayfield site and is currently being commissioned.  By mid-2015, it is planned to commence the marketing and retail sale of GGC-based products in the US. Ongoing research at UNSW will continue to use various in vitro and in vivo models to investigate and define the therapeutic potential of GGC.

Immunology: Our immunology-based work is exploring hypotheses on how some antigenic cancers are able to escape detection (and/or attack) by the immune system. Successful outcomes of this project could lead to new targets for cancer treatment, and new methods of diagnosis and monitoring the progress of the disease and the efficacy of treatments.

Honours & Awards

  • 2013: BABS Outstanding Contributor Award
  • 2008: Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation
  • 2007 UNSW Australian School of Business Faculty Entrepreneur Award

Active Research Projects

Publications

Click here for Dr Bridge's publications list