Peptide science pioneer wins prestigious medal

23 Oct 2014

Research seeking better treatments for heart disease, cancer and chronic pain has led to a major award and a $50,000 grant for the University of Queensland’s Professor David Craik.

Professor Craik, of UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, has won the 2014 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research for his discoveries in the field of circular proteins.

Circular proteins have been found in bacteria, plants and animals. Their exceptional stability means they can be ideal for use in drug treatments.

Professor Craik is internationally renowned for his discovery of circular proteins almost 20 years ago, and in particular for a family of plant proteins called cyclotides.

He has replicated these natural proteins for new drugs, diagnostic agents and neuroscience tools.

His lab is now making chemically re-engineered cyclotides with the potential to treat multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic pain.

The Perpetual Trustee Services group manages the Ramaciotti Foundations and was advised by a Scientific Advisory Committee led by the University of Sydney’s Professor Derek Hart.

“It was a unanimous decision by the committee to award Professor Craik the Ramaciotti Medal as his work is highly original and has direct translation into novel drug therapies,” Professor Hart said.

Professor Craik said he was honoured to receive the award.

“This award is the result of a team effort,” he said.

“It’s great for the team, which includes PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, to see their work recognised in the public domain.”

The new classes of protein-based drug leads and agricultural pest control agents designed by Professor Craik have great potential to improve human health and benefit society.

Professor Craik this month received two project grants totalling $2.8 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council to continue to develop circular protein-based drugs for a range of diseases, including cancer.

Visit to support Professor Craik’s vital research.

Media: IMB Communications Manager Gemma Ward, +61 7 3346 2134 or 0439 651 107.

About the Ramaciotti Foundations

Managed by Perpetual, the Ramaciotti Foundations have donated almost $55 million to biomedical research since 1970, and are one of the largest contributors to the field. Each year the Ramaciotti Foundations make significant distributions via the Ramaciotti Awards, providing funding support to areas such as molecular biology, genetics and immunology, and assisting young investigators taking up new challenges in biomedical research. In 2014 Ramaciotti, the Ramaciotti Foundations granted over $1 million to biomedical research in Australia.