Associate Professor Christina Schroeder is a bioactive peptide engineer who uses venom-derived peptides from spiders, cone snails and snakes to develop novel treatments for chronic and neuropathic pain.

Assoc Prof Schroeder is particularly fascinated by the possibility of harnessing the venom from an animal that has evolved to kill its prey to develop something that could benefit human kind.

The ultimate result of Assoc Prof Schroeder's research is to develop a treatment that allows people to manage chronic pain, a condition that one out of five Australians suffers from, and which currently has inadequate treatments.

To that end, she is exploring the relationship between drugs and receptors, focusing on expanding on the traditional lock and key mechanism to include the membrane surrounding the receptors.

Assoc Prof Schroeder aims to unlock a detailed understanding of how these venom-derived peptides engage with receptors in the body and how we can use this knowledge to design more potent drugs with fewer side effects.

Celebrating women in science

Associate Professor Christina Schroeder

Associate Professor Christina Schroeder

IMB Industry Fellow

Adjunct Research Fellow

  +61 7 334 62021

Assoc Prof Schroeder is well known in the peptide toxins research community and is regularly invited to present at national and international conferences in her field. She is actively involved in the Australian peptide community and has been the treasurer for the Australian Peptide Association since 2014, Australia’s peak peptide organisation. She has also been an active committee member of the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) on a state level. She was the treasurer for the NSW branch of ASMR (2009-2011), and treasurer (2013-2014), deputy convener (2014-2015) and membership coordinator (2015-2017) for the Qld branch of ASMR.

Assoc Prof Schroeder has been the treasurer for the 11th and 12th Australian Peptide Conferences held in 2015 and 2017, respectively, and the treasurer and the main conference coordinator for the 2nd International Conference on Circular Proteins (ICCP), 2012 and co-chair and main conference coordinator for the 3rd ICCP in 2015. She reviews grants for the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and is regularly invited to review PhD and honours  theses and peer-review research articles for journals in her field including Angewandte Chemie, Chemistry & Biology, BBA Biomembranes, Scientific Reports, Toxins, Toxicon, Marine Drugs, Peptide and Protein Letter, Bioconjugate, Current organic chemistry and Chemical Communications to name a few.

Assoc Prof Schroeder was a Science Ambassador for the IMB (2013–2020), showcasing the institute, its facilities and its research to visitors including politicians, dignitaries and the general public and participating in outreach events to students of all levels discussing her research and various scientific career paths. She is also an active advocate for Women in Science and participated in the inaugural Homeward Bound, the largest female expedition to Antarctica in Dec 2016 with the goal of connecting 1000 women in science across the globe over the next 10 years. She has been invited to panels for STEAM residential workshops, participated in career discussions at early career research (ECR) workshops and has presented her research at “A Pint of Science” in Brisbane.

Assoc Prof Schroeder collaborates internationally and extensively within IMB. Collaborations include:

  • Assoc/Prof Irina Vetter (IMB, UQ)
  • Prof Glenn King (IMB, UQ)
  • Dr Thomas Reiner (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, USA)
  • Dr Barry O’Keefe (National Cancer Institute, USA)
  • Prof Jan Tytgat (Katholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
  • Prof Richard Lewis (IMB, UQ)
  • Assoc/Prof Jennifer Stockdill (Wayne State University, USA)
  • Assoc/Prof Ratmir Derda (University of Alberta, Canada)