Sensory neurons are fundamental for our interaction with the external world by detecting stimuli including cold, heat, touch, pressure, vibration and tissue injury. These external stimuli are then transformed to electrical signals through specialised molecules, which detect temperature, mechanical stimulation and various chemicals. Although significant progress has been made towards determining the molecular identity of selected receptors and ion channels involved in sensory perception, our understanding of how these contribute to sensory perception, and in particular pain, is limited. Toxins from plants and animal venoms have provided highly specific tools, which allow dissection of the mechanisms of sensory perception and pain and may provide novel molecules with analgesic potential.

Traineeships, honours and PhD projects include

  • Fundamental basis of peripheral sensory perception
  • Identifying and characterising the effect of venoms and toxins on peripheral sensory neurons
  • Identifying, characterising and optimising molecules with therapeutic potential from natural sources
  • Understanding the pathophysiology of pain and optimising analgesic treatment approaches.

Project members

Group Leader

Professor Irina Vetter

NHMRC Leadership Fellow - Group Leader
Institute for Molecular Bioscience