IMB links with industry to develop new insecticides and pain treatments

28 Jun 2013

Researchers at UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience have been awarded five grants worth $2.4 million to work with industry on projects such as developing eco-friendly insesticides for crops and treatments for pain from spider venom.

The successful projects are:

  • Antiparasitic agents to safeguard Australian livestock - $469,249 for Professor Rob Capon, IMB; and Dr Aleta Knowles, Eli Lilly Australia
  • Development of eco-friendly alternatives for crop pest management - $464,982 for Professor David Craik and Dr Aaron Poth, IMB; and Nicolas and Kerry Watts, Innovate Ag Pty Ltd
  • A microfluidic array of phylomers for rapid discovery of peptide probes and biomarkers - $402,614 for Dr Yann Gambin and Professor Kirill Alexandrov, IMB; Dr Richard Hopkins, Phylogica Limited; and Adjunct Professor Paul Watt, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research
  • Discovery and characterisation of novel spider-venom peptides targeting the human sodium ion chanel Nav1.7 - $450,000 for Professor Glenn King, Professor Richard Lewis and Professor Paul Alewood, IMB; Dr Alan Wickenden, Janssen Research and Development LLC; and Katherine Connell, Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd
  • A VAST potential for ion channel drug discovery - $575,000 for Professor Richard Lewis and Dr Irina Vetter, IMB; Dr Wim Meutermans, Audeo Discovery Pty Ltd

IMB Director Professor Brandon Wainwright said the five grants mean the IMB continues its 100 per cent success rate for the Australian Research Council (ARC) Industry Linkage program.

"The fact that the IMB has been so successful in receiving Linkage grants is testament to our commitment to fostering relationships with industry in order to achieve outcomes that will improve the health and wealth of Australians," Professor Wainwright said.

"I thank our industry partners for their investment in these projects, which include developing drugs to target pain and using biotechnology to advance pest management solutions for Australian crops and livestock."

The five grants to IMB are part of 30 ARC Linkage Projects awarded to The University of Queensland, collectively worth $12 million.

UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj congratulated the successful researchers, whose strong relationships with industry are helping ensure that Australia benefits from UQ's high-quality discovery across a multitude of disciplines. 

“This result reaffirms that Australian industry, businesses and not-for-profit organisations recognise UQ's incredible research quality and breadth and the benefits this can bring to their stakeholders,” Professor Høj said. 

“This is partnership and knowledge translation in action – Excellence to Excellence-plus. 

“UQ is determined to form more strong partnerships, underpinned by the fact that Excellence in Research for Australia rates UQ as well above world standard in more specialised fields than any other Australian university.”

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The Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) is a research institute of The University of Queensland that aims to improve quality of life by advancing personalised medicine, drug discovery and biotechnology.

Media: Bronwyn Adams, IMB Communications, 07 3346 2134, 0418 575 247,

Carolyn Varley, UQ Corporate Relations Manager, 07 3365 1120,