JCSMR School Seminar Series - Discovery and applications of naturally occurring cyclic peptides in anticancer drug design

Professor David Craik, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division, Centre for Pain Research, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD

Naturally occurring cyclic peptides offer great potential as leads for drug design. This talk will focus on a class of cyclic peptides known as cyclotides, which are topologically unique in that they have a head-to-tail cyclised peptide backbone and a cystine knotted arrangement of disulfide bonds.  This makes them exceptionally stable to chemical, thermal or enzymatic treatments and, indeed, they are amongst nature’s most stable proteins.  Because of their exceptional stability and well-defined structures cyclotides make excellent templates for drug design applications. This presentation will describe the discovery of cyclotides in plants, their structural characterization, and applications in drug design with a particular focus on the treatment of cancer, metabolic disease and pain.

David Craik is a Professor of Chemistry at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at The University of Queensland.  He obtained his PhD in organic chemistry from La Trobe University and undertook postdoctoral studies at Florida State and Syracuse Universities before taking up a lectureship at the Victorian College of Pharmacy in 1983. He was appointed Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Head of School in 1988. He moved to University of Queensland in 1995 to set up a new biomolecular NMR laboratory and is currently an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow. His research focuses on applications of circular proteins and toxins in drug design. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and has received numerous awards for his research, including the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award from the American Chemical Society. He is author of 600 scientific papers (h-index 75, citations 20,000) and has trained 60 PhD students.

Date & time

12–1pm 17 June 2016


The Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Building 131 Garran Road, ANU


Host: Professor Ross Hannan


 Emma Dowling
 +61 2 6125 2572

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