Neuropeptides are key mediators in many biological functions and understanding their interaction with target proteins is fundamental to unravel the underlying mechanism of diseases. Over the years, an increasing number of bioactive peptides from animals, plants, and bacteria have been characterised, with the overwhelming realisation that these molecules often show better therapeutic performance than their human counterparts, particularly in terms of in vivo stability.
Our main research efforts situated in this area of Chemical Biology focus on the exploration and translation of these vast and untapped natural libraries towards the development of useful research tools and therapeutics. Solid phase peptide synthesis, the main tool to access these compounds, is a powerful technology for the assembly and chemical modification of these highly chiral and structurally complex peptides. We then use these ligands to develop advanced molecular probes and therapeutic leads to address important questions of unmet medical need. A typical project combines bioinformatics, peptide chemistry, medicinal chemistry, structure-activity relationship studies, and molecular pharmacology to discover, design and synthesise advanced molecular probes that will facilitate the study of these intriguing neuropeptide signalling systems, with applications in long-term memory formation, gastrointestinal disorders, pain, diabetes and cancer.
INSTITUTE FOR MOLECULAR BIOSCIENCE
The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, located on the main University campus, is Australia’s leading biosciences research institute. Established in 2000, the Institute is home to over 420 staff and is located in thriving Brisbane, a city consistently ranked as one of the world’s most vibrant and liveable cities.
The Institute, ranked in the Top 20 globally for life sciences research, pursues a multidisciplinary approach to solving some of the world’s most serious challenges in the fields of health, disease and sustainable solutions for our cities, fuels and foods. The Institute is housed in a single building and is organised into technological platforms (Divisions) and research themes (Centres). The Divisions support state-of-the art facilities including the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, which houses new cryo-electron microscopes; the NMR facility containing 500, 600 and 900 MHz machines; the Mass Spectrometry Facility accommodating a wide array of instrumentation; suites for work with a variety of model organisms; a plethora of next generation DNA sequencing technologies and the southern hemispheres leading program in complex genetic traits. The Research Centres accommodate 36 groups using a combination of genomics, chemistry and cell biology to take life science discoveries from the genome to drug design and application in the areas of antimicrobial resistance, inflammation, pain, cardiovascular disease and rare and developmental diseases.
Details of the research interests of the Institute can be accessed at: https://imb.uq.edu.au/
- Strong chemistry or pharmacology background
- First Class Honours or Masters Degree in related field
- Good hands-on laboratory skills
- Strong ambition and work ethics
TECHNIQUES THAT WILL BE ACQUIRED THROUGHOUT PHD
Solid phase peptide synthesis; organic and medicinal chemistry; mass spectrometry, peptide and protein purification techniques; nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, circular dichroism; recombinant protein expression, cell culture and pharmacological assays; various bioassays, proteomics and transcriptomics, peptide drug development; bioinformatics;
If interested, please send your CV, academic record/grade transcripts and a short cover letter to [Email Address Removed] with ‘PhD Application’ in the subject line. Applications will be accepted until all positions have been filled.
FULL APPLICATION CAN BE FOUND HERE
A/Prof. Markus Muttenthaler