Technology-driven drug discovery

Discovering new ways to make better drugs

The key to solving some of our world's biggest challenges, whether that be in medicine or agriculture, relies on the ability to precision engineer molecules at will. These could be new cancer drugs that harness the body's immune system or new antibiotics that are resistant resilient. 

We aspire to harness three technological pillars in computational biology, molecular libraries, and nanotechnology to design better drugs.


Computational Biology

We use computational algorithms to predict drug properties with unprecedented accuracy


Molecular Biology

We use molecular libraries capable of screening through billions of drug leads to design drugs efficiently



Nano-sized reaction droplets to capture drug activity to make drugs that actually work



We will apply technological developments to peptides and proteins, molecules that are naturally able to bind targets with exquisite specificity.

Example illustrations of peptide structures.

Wang Group Team


Group leader

Dr Conan Wang

 Dr Conan Wang

Group Leader, Technology-driven drug discovery

+61 7 334 62014
UQ Researcher Profile

Computational design of targeted cancer therapeutics guided by machine learning

Principal advisor: Dr Conan Wang

Opportunities are available to develop skills in drug discovery in computational biology and molecular biology. The aim is to accurately predict and quickly design new protein drugs to accelerate translation of new medicines. Please reach out if you would like to know more about drug design or potential projects.

Efficient design of drugs using new nanoscale technologies

Principal advisor: Dr Conan Wang

Powerful technologies have emerged to perform millions of experiments quickly in tiny nanolitre droplets, and have attracted wide interest from major pharmaceutical companies because of the potential to accelerate drug discovery. Honours project opportunities are available to investigate these next-generation tools for drug design and learn new skills in one or more areas of nanotechnology and molecular biology. 

Designing protein drugs for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases

Principal advisor: Dr Conan Wang

Cytokines are signalling proteins that play essential roles in immune responses and have garnered clinical interest in the context of cancer, autoimmunity, and infectious disease. This project aims to overcome their limitations of poor stability, activity, and specificity to develop new therapeutics. Candidates will learn new skills in drug design and characterisation using tools in molecular biology, biochemistry, and structural biology. 

  • Rational Design of Potent Peptide Inhibitors of the PD-1:PD-L1 Interaction for Cancer Immunotherapy.

    Yin H, Zhou X, Huang YH, King GJ, Collins BM, Gao Y, Craik DJ, Wang CK.

    J Am Chem Soc. 2021 Nov 10;143(44):18536-18547. doi: 10.1021/jacs.1c08132. Epub 2021 Oct 18.

    PMID: 34661406

  • Improving Stability Enhances In Vivo Efficacy of a PCSK9 Inhibitory Peptide.

    Zhang Y, Wang L, Tombling BJ, Lammi C, Huang YH, Li Y, Bartolomei M, Hong B, Craik DJ, Wang CK.

    J Am Chem Soc. 2022 Oct 26;144(42):19485-19498. doi: 10.1021/jacs.2c08029. Epub 2022 Oct 12.

    PMID: 36222719

  • Bioactive Cyclization Optimizes the Affinity of a Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin Type 9 (PCSK9) Peptide Inhibitor.

    Tombling BJ, Lammi C, Lawrence N, Gilding EK, Grazioso G, Craik DJ, Wang CK.

    J Med Chem. 2021 Mar 11;64(5):2523-2533. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c01766. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

    PMID: 33356222

  • Anchor Residues Guide Form and Function in Grafted Peptides.

    Yin H, Craik DJ, Wang CK.

    Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2019 Jun 3;58(23):7652-7656. doi: 10.1002/anie.201901572. Epub 2019 May 2.

    PMID: 30916847

  • EGF-like and Other Disulfide-rich Microdomains as Therapeutic Scaffolds.

    Tombling BJ, Wang CK, Craik DJ.

    Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2020 Jul 6;59(28):11218-11232. doi: 10.1002/anie.201913809. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

    PMID: 31867866

  • Designing macrocyclic disulfide-rich peptides for biotechnological applications.

    Wang CK, Craik DJ.

    Nat Chem Biol. 2018 May;14(5):417-427. doi: 10.1038/s41589-018-0039-y. Epub 2018 Apr 16.

    PMID: 29662187

Our approach

We use computational biology, molecular libraries, and nanotechnology to design better drugs for human benefit.

Research areas

  • cancer diagnostics and therapeutics
  • immunology and inflammation
  • antimicrobial agents

Group Leader

  • Dr Conan Wang

    ARC Future Fellow and Group Leader
    Institute for Molecular Bioscience


General enquiries

  +61 7 3346 2222

Media enquiries

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