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Electric caterpillar sparks new venom discoveries

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  • University of Queensland pain treatment researchers have discovered thousands of new peptide toxins hidden deep within the venom of just one type of Queensland cone snail.
  • The Australian Research Council named 15 new Australian Laureate Fellows, including three UQ researchers – the Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Professor David Craik, the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences’s Professor Philip Hugenholtz and the TC Beirne School of Law’s Professor Brad Sherman.
  • University of Queensland researchers have launched a global search to discover antibiotics capable of combating superbug bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics. The Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery (CO-ADD) is a not-for-profit initiative funded by $3.1 million from the Wellcome Trust, and led by researchers at IMB.
  • UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) invites Australia’s most promising young scientists to apply for a $30,000 top-up scholarship to help kick-start their research career.
  • Funnel-web spider venom contains powerful neurotoxins that instantly paralyze prey (usually insects). Millions of years ago, however, this potent poison was just a hormone that helped ancestors of these spiders regulate sugar metabolism, similar to the role of insulin in humans. Surprisingly, this hormone's weaponization--described on June 11 in the journal Structure--occurred in arachnids as well as centipedes, but in different ways.
  • More effective and less traumatic treatments may become a reality for children with brain and spinal cord tumours thanks to an $80,000 donation from the Brainchild Foundation.
  • IMB Group Leader Professor David Craik has received the American Peptide Society’s 2015 Vincent du Vigneaud Award.
  • IMB researcher Professor Mike Waters has today been elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in recognition of his outstanding contributions to science during his career spanning more than 45 years.
  • Ovarian cancer cells can lock into survival mode and avoid being destroyed by chemotherapy, an international study reports. Professor Sean Grimmond, from IMB, said ovarian cancer cells had at least four different ways to avoid being destroyed by platinum-based chemotherapy treatments.

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