DR Ken Ng

DR Ken Ng


  • Functional foods & health (Antioxidants, flavonoids, food bioactives)



  • Dr Ken Ng is a Lecturer in Food Chemistry in the Faculty of Veterinary & Agricultural Sciences. He has a PhD in biochemistry and conducts research on the chemistry and biochemistry of plant antioxidants and on the anti-cancer properties of organic Se. He has also conducted research on formulation approaches to pharmaceutical delivery of chemically labile antioxidants (Monash Uni), biosynthesis of lipophosphoglycans from the protozoan parasite of human, Leishmania, biosynthesis of plant beta(1-3)glucan (LaTrobe Uni) and biosynthesis of hyaluronic acid (Uni Chicago). He is Coordinator of the Master of Food Science course. He also coordinates the undergraduate subjects FOOD20003 Food Chemistry, Biology & Nutrition (jointly with Dr Kate Howell) and FOOD30010 Functional Foods, and the Masters subjects FOOD90022 Food Chemistry and FOOD90025 Health Aspect in Functional Foods. PROFESSIONAL HISTORY > 2010-Present: Lecturer in Food Chemistry, Faculty of Veterinary & Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne. RESEARCH: Plant antioxidants chemistry and biochemistry. > 2006-09: Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Science and 2001-05: Assistant lecturer in Pharmaceutical Science, Faculty of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University. RESEARCH: Antioxidant chemistry and formulation approaches to pharmaceutical delivery of chemically labile antioxidants. > 1995-99: ARC Research Fellow and 1993-94: Research Fellow, Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, School of Botany, University of Melbourne & the Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (joint appointment). RESEARCH: Biosynthesis of lipophosphoglycans from the protozoan parasite of human, Leishmania. > 1989-93: Research Fellow, School of Biochemistry, LaTrobe University. RESEARCH: Biosynthesis of plant beta(1-3)glucan. > 1986-89: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Pediatrics & Biochemistry, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA. RESEARCH: Biosynthesis of hyaluronic acid.    


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • Professional award

    • 1995-99: Australian Research Council Research Fellow (Level B)


    Past Research Grants

    • 1977-99: Australian Research Council Large Grant (Sole Chief Investigator )

      “Isolation and characterisation of glycosyl transferases involved in the assembly of lipophosphoglycans from the human parasite, Leishmania”
    • 1996: Australian Research Council Small Grant (Sole Chief Investigator)

      “Isolation and characterisation of enzymes in the biosynthesis of lipophosphoglycans from the protozoan parasite of man, Leishmania”
    • 1996: University of Melbourne Collaborative Research Program (Joint Chief Investigator, with Dr. Emanuela Handman (Walter & Eliza HalI Institute of Medical Reseach)

      “Isolation and characterisation of enzymes in the biosynthesis of lipophosphoglycans from the protozoan parasite of man, Leishmania”
    • 1992: CSIRO Industrial Technologies & Tertiary Collaboration Schemes (Joint Chief Investigator, with Dr. Don Rivett (CSIRO) & Professor Bruce Stone (LaTrobe)

      “Photoaffinity and other ligands for the identification of sugar-binding proteins”


Education and training

  • RSA (UniMelb), University of Melbourne 2013
  • RSA (Monash), Monash University 2007
  • GCertHE, Monash University 2005
  • PhD, Monash University 1986
  • BSc (Hons), Monash University 1982


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

    Type II Diabetes (T2D) affects approximately 200 million people and the number is expected to double during the next 20 years. Postprandial hyperglycaemia is a primary risk factor in the development of T2D. Control of starch digestion with α-glucosidase inhibitors has been demonstrated to delay and attenuate postprandial hyperglycaemia. In the past two decades, synthetic α-glucosidase inhibitors have been clinically prescribed for T2D. However, these drugs have side effects that included excessive flatulence and abdominal cramping and links to liver disorders. Naturally occurring, and more tolerable α-glucosidase inhibitors from plants, especially from herbs, offer an alternative strategy to control postprandial hyperglycemia. This research project will perform a study on a selected herb, with the aim of identifying, characterising and isolating potent α-glucosidase inhibitor(s) from the herb. 

    Oxidative stress has been linked to a number of diseases and conditions such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, Type II diabetes and inflammatory ailments. Nutritional antioxidants are exogenous antioxidants provided by our diet that might play a role in countering oxidative stress in the body, thus prevents oxidative stress diseases. This project aims to identify the chemical nature and quantify the amount of antioxidants in a food and to relate the antioxidants activities to total phenolic and flavonoids content in order to provide nutritional and health information. This involved preparing a suitable extract of the food for the study, and using chemical reactions to measure total phenolic acids and iron reducing, free radical scavenging and metal ions chelating antioxidant activities. Of particular interest are traditional aborigine foods as little nutritional information is known about them.