Paul Alewood graduated from the University of NSW before moving to the University of Calgary for his PhD. His early research interest was in classical organic chemistry, but the discovery in the mid 1970s of encephalins – short-chain amino acids produced in the body that have a similar effect to morphine – triggered an interest in protein and peptide chemistry.

He held a position with the Victorian College of Pharmacy before moving to Queensland, attracted by the state’s healthy populations of dangerous marine animals – cone snails, sea snakes and stone fish, to name a few. Such animals offer vast potential in the treatment of chronic pain, as their venom contains thousands of small peptides that target sensory nerve receptors.

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Venom peptides that target chronic pain