Our research focuses on identifying bioactive molecules from Australia’s venomous animals, which have the potential to create drugs that will play important roles in finding treatments for chronic pain, heart disease, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, and breast cancer.

Although venom peptides (also called toxins), when delivered by an animal sting or bite, can have a devastating effect, many are useful in treating human disease and the potential to expand this class of new drugs is huge.

Specifically, we are interested in the discovery and total synthesis of potent and selective venom peptides from Australia’s venomous animals; the chemical synthesis of proteins and bioactive peptides; the development of new synthetic and analytical chemistry; and protein structure and function.

Traineeships, honours and PhD projects include

  • Discovery and characterisation of new conotoxins that are likely to target human receptors involved in chronic pain
  • Determination of the structure-function relationships of natural and designed bioactive molecules including the discovery, isolation and characterisation of venom peptides from snakes, spiders, cone snails, platypus, ticks and scorpions, their role in human health and uncovering new pain pathways in chronic pain.

Project members

Group Leader

Professor Paul Alewood

Group Leader, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division
Professorial Research Fellow
Institute for Molecular Bioscience