Associate Professor Lenka Munoz

Discipline of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences
Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellow

Telephone +61 2 9351 2315
Fax +61 2 8627 1606

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Biographical details

  • A/Professor Lenka Munoz received her PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) in 2001 from Comenius University, Slovakia and her PhD in Medicinal Chemistry in November 2005 from the University of Bonn, Germany. Her post-doctoral training in molecular pharmacology was at the Northwestern University, USA (2006-2007). Following a career disruption, she initiated her independent academic career at The University of Sydney in 2011. A/Professor Munoz is Head of the Cell Signalling Laboratory at the Charles Perkins Centre.

Research interests

A/Prof Munoz research focuses on understanding signalling pathways driving cancer, delineating the molecular mechanism of action of cancer drugs and developing effective therapies against glioblastoma.

Current research students

Project title Research student
Developing methods to access isoform-selective inhibitors of histone deacetylases. Lydia DANIEL
Modulation of Neuroglia Function by Glioblastoma Stem Cell-derived Extracellular Vesicles Susannah HALLAL

Current projects

Undergraduate, Honours and postgraduate research projects are available and would focus on one of major research programs in our laboratory.

1. Targeting drug-tolerant persister cancer cells.

2. Function of DYRK1A in brain cancer.

3. Off-kinase targets and novel molecular mechanisms of kinase inhibitors.

Please contact me directly for more details.

Awards and honours

2018 Peter Andrews Award for Innovation in Medicinal Chemistry/Chemical Biology

2016 - 2018 Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellowship

2015 Sydney Medical School Foundation Fellow

2013 The University of Sydney Brown Fellow

In the media

Selected grants

2019

  • Development of brain permeable microtubule-targeting agents to treat glioblastoma; Munoz L, Kassiou M, Johns T; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Development Grants.

2018

  • Mechanism of chemo resistance in glioblastoma; Munoz L; DVC Research/Bridging Support Grant.

2016

  • Novel combination therapy for brain tumours; Munoz L, Johns T; Brain Foundation of Australia/Research Grants.
  • Dual targeting of EGFR for efficacious glioblastoma therapy; Munoz L; Cancer Institute New South Wales/Career Development Fellowship.
  • DYRK1A as a novel target for glioblastoma therapies; Munoz L, Johns T, Kassiou M; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.

2015

  • Improving chemotherapy response rates in brain cancer with kinase inhibitors; Munoz L; University of Sydney/Internal Scheme.
  • Preparative High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph (Preparative-HPLC) for Expediting Drug Translation; Codd R, Payne R, Kassiou M, Groundwater P, Munoz L; DVC Research/Equipment Grant.
  • SMSF Grant 2015 Munoz; Munoz L; Sydney Medical School/Research Support.

2013

  • Development of small molecule inhibitors of LRRK2 for treatment of Parkinsons disease; Kassiou M, Munoz L; Parkinsons New South Wales Incorporated/Research Support.
  • Improving chemotherapy response rates in brain cancer; Munoz L; Sydney Foundation for Medical Research/Research Support.
  • A novel approach to overcome chemotherapy resistance in glioblastoma; Munoz L; DVC Research/Brown Fellowships.

2009

  • Integrating Chemistry and Biology in the Search for New Therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease; Munoz L, Ammit A, Guillemin G, Guillemin G; Dementia Australia Research Foundation Ltd/Dementia Grants Program.
  • Integrating chemistry and biology in the search for new therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease; Munoz L; The Judith Jane Mason and Harold Stannett Williams Memorial Foundation/Medical and Scientific Research Grants.

2008

  • Will Selective p38 MAPK Inhibitor Prevent Brain Tumour Progression and Metastasis; Munoz L; Cure for Life Foundation/Research Grants.
  • Targeting inactive p38a MAPK as a novel strategy to treat neurodegenerative disorders; Munoz L, Peifer C; Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD)/Travelling Fellowship.
  • Targeting inactive p38alpha kinase as a strategy to treat rheumatoid arthritis; Munoz L; Arthritis Foundation of Australia/Research Support.
  • Discovery of novel drugs to treat alzheimers disease; Munoz L; Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation/Research Support.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Hoque, M., Abbassi, R., Froio, D., Man, J., Johns, T., Stringer, B., Day, B., Pajic, M., Kassiou, M., Munoz, L. (2018). Changes in cell morphology guide identification of tubulin as the off-target for protein kinase inhibitors. Pharmacological Research, 134, 166-178. [More Information]
  • Sokias, R., Werry, E., Chua, S., Reekie, T., Munoz, L., Wong, E., Ittner, L., Kassiou, M. (2017). Determination and reduction of translocator protein (TSPO) ligand rs6971 discrimination. MedChemComm (Medicinal Chemistry Communications), 8(1), 202-210. [More Information]
  • Dobber, A., Phoa, A., Abbassi, R., Stringer, B., Day, B., Johns, T., Abadleh, M., Peifer, C., Munoz, L. (2017). Development and Biological Evaluation of a Photoactivatable Small Molecule Microtubule-Targeting Agent. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 8(4), 395-400. [More Information]
  • O'Brien-Brown, J., Jackson, A., Reekie, T., Barron, M., Werry, E., Schiavini, P., McDonnell, M., Munoz, L., Wilkinson, S., Noll, B., Kassiou, M., et al (2017). Discovery and pharmacological evaluation of a novel series of adamantyl cyanoguanidines as P2X7 receptor antagonists. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 130, 433-439. [More Information]
  • Gunosewoyo, H., Yu, L., Munoz, L., Kassiou, M. (2017). Kinase targets in CNS drug discovery. Future Medicinal Chemistry, 9(3), 303-314. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L. (2017). Non-kinase targets of protein kinase inhibitors. Nature Reviews. Drug Discovery, 16, 424-440. [More Information]
  • Zhou, Q., Phoa, A., Abbassi, R., Hoque, M., Reekie, T., Font Sadurni, J., Ryan, R., Stringer, B., Day, B., Johns, T., Munoz, L., Kassiou, M. (2017). Structural optimization and pharmacological evaluation of inhibitors targeting dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinases (DYRK) and CDC-like kinases (CLK) inglioblastoma. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 60(5), 2052-2070. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Yeung, Y., Grewal, T. (2016). Oncogenic Ras modulates p38 MAPK-mediated inflammatory cytokine production in glioblastoma cells. Cancer Biology and Therapy, 17(4), 355-363. [More Information]
  • Lalaoui, N., Hanggi, K., Brumatti, G., Chau, D., Nguyen, N., Vasilikos, L., Spilgies, L., Heckmann, D., Ma, C., Munoz, L., et al (2016). Targeting p38 or MK2 Enhances the Anti-Leukemic Activity of Smac-Mimetics. Cancer Cell, 29(2), 145-158. [More Information]
  • Gurgis, F., Akerfeldt, M., Heng, B., Wong, C., Adams, S., Guillemin, G., Johns, T., Chircop, M., Munoz, L. (2015). Cytotoxic activity of the MK2 inhibitor CMPD1 in glioblastoma cells is independent of MK2. Cell Death Discovery, 1, 1-11. [More Information]
  • Vinh, N., Devine, S., Munoz, L., Ryan, R., Wang, B., Krum, H., Chalmers, D., Simpson, J., Scammells, P. (2015). Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Tetra-Substituted Thiophenes as Inhibitors of p38α MAPK. ChemistryOpen, 4(1), 56-64. [More Information]
  • Abbassi, R., Johns, T., Kassiou, M., Munoz, L. (2015). DYRK1A in neurodegeneration and cancer: Molecular basis and clinical implications. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 151, 87-98. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Kavanagh, M., Phoa, A., Heng, B., Dzamko, N., Chen, E., Doddareddy, M., Guillemin, G., Kassiou, M. (2015). Optimisation of LRRK2 inhibitors and assessment of functional efficacy in cell-based models of neuroinflammation. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 95, 29-34. [More Information]
  • Phoa, A., Brown, S., Gurgis, F., Akerfeldt, M., Döbber, A., Renn, C., Peifer, C., Stringer, B., Day, B., Wong, C., Chircop (nee Fabbro), M., Kassiou, M., Munoz, L., et al (2015). Pharmacology of novel small-molecule tubulin inhibitors in glioblastoma cells with enhanced EGFR signalling. Biochemical Pharmacology, 98(4), 587-601. [More Information]
  • Gurgis, F., Yeung, Y., Tang, M., Heng, B., Buckland, M., Ammit, A., Haapasalo, J., Haapasalo, H., Guillemin, G., Grewal, T., Munoz, L. (2015). The p38-MK2-HuR pathway potentiates EGFRvIII-IL-1β-driven IL-6 secretion in glioblastoma cells. Oncogene, 34(22), 2934-2942. [More Information]
  • Gurgis, F., Ziaziaris, W., Munoz, L. (2014). Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase-Activated Protein Kinase 2 in Neuroinflammation, Heat Shock Protein 27 Phosphorylation and Cell Cycle: Role and Targeting. Molecular Pharmacology, 85(2), 345-356. [More Information]
  • Yeung, Y., McDonald, K., Grewal, T., Munoz, L. (2013). Interleukins in glioblastoma pathophysiology: implications for therapy. British Journal of Pharmacology, 168(3), 591-606. [More Information]
  • Eibl, C., Tomassoli, I., Munoz, L., Stokes, C., Papke, R., Gundisch, D. (2013). The 3,7-diazabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane scaffold for subtype selective nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) ligands. Part 1: the influence of different hydrogen bond acceptor systems on alkyl and (hetero)aryl substituents. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 21(23), 7283-7308. [More Information]
  • Eibl, C., Munoz, L., Tomassoli, I., Stokes, C., Papke, R., Gundisch, D. (2013). The 3,7-diazabicylo[3.3.1]nonane scaffold for subtype selective nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ligands. Part 2: Carboxamide derivatives with different spacer motifs. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 21(23), 7309-7329. [More Information]
  • Yeung, Y., Bryce, N., Adams, S., Braidy, N., Konayagi, M., McDonald, K., Teo, C., Guillemin, G., Grewal, T., Munoz, L. (2012). p38 MAPK inhibitors attenuate pro-inflammatory cytokine production and the invasiveness of human U251 glioblastoma cells. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 109(1), 35-44. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Selig, R., Yeung, Y., Peifer, C., Hauser, D., Laufer, S. (2010). Fluorescence polarization binding assay to develop inhibitors of inactive p38alpha mitogen-activated protein kinase. Analytical Biochemistry, 401(1), 125-133. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Ramsay, E., Manetsch, M., Ge, Q., Peifer, C., Laufer, S., Ammit, A. (2010). Novel p38 MAPK inhibitor ML3403 has potent anti-inflammatory activity in airway smooth muscle. European Journal of Pharmacology, 635, 212-218. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Ammit, A. (2010). Targeting p38 MAPK pathway for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Neuropharmacology, 58(3), 561-568. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Ranaivo, H., Roy, S., Hu, W., Craft, J., McNamara, L., Chico, L., Van Eldik, L., Watterson, D. (2007). A novel p38α MAPK inhibitor suppresses brain proinflammatory cytokine up-regulation and attenuates synaptic dysfunction and behavioral deficits in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 4(21), Published online 2007 September 4. doi: 10.1186/17. [More Information]
  • Hu, W., Ranaivo, H., Roy, S., Behanna, H., Wing, L., Munoz, L., Guo, L., Van Eldik, L., Watterson, D. (2007). Development of a novel therapeutic suppressor of brain proinflammatory cytokine up-regulation that attenuates synaptic dysfunction and behavioral deficits. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 17(2), 414-418. [More Information]
  • Gundisch, D., Andra, M., Munoz, L., Tilotta, M. (2004). Synthesis and evaluation of phenylcarbamate derivatives as ligands for nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 12, 4953-4962. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Laitinen, L., Raiman, J., Cizmarik, J., Sedlárová, E., Hirvonen, J. (2002). Permeability Profiles of M-Alkoxysubstituted Pyrrolidinoethylesters of Phenylcarbamic Acid across Caco-2 Monolayers and Human Skin. Pharmaceutical Research, 19(2), 162-168.
  • Munoz, L., Sedlárová, E., Cizmarik, J. (2002). Study of Local Anaesthetics, Part 156: Some Physicochemical and Lipophilic Properties of Pyrrolidinoethyl Esters of o-, m-, p-Alkoxy-Substituted Phenylcarbamic Acid. Chemical Papers, 56(5), 340-344.

2018

  • Hoque, M., Abbassi, R., Froio, D., Man, J., Johns, T., Stringer, B., Day, B., Pajic, M., Kassiou, M., Munoz, L. (2018). Changes in cell morphology guide identification of tubulin as the off-target for protein kinase inhibitors. Pharmacological Research, 134, 166-178. [More Information]

2017

  • Sokias, R., Werry, E., Chua, S., Reekie, T., Munoz, L., Wong, E., Ittner, L., Kassiou, M. (2017). Determination and reduction of translocator protein (TSPO) ligand rs6971 discrimination. MedChemComm (Medicinal Chemistry Communications), 8(1), 202-210. [More Information]
  • Dobber, A., Phoa, A., Abbassi, R., Stringer, B., Day, B., Johns, T., Abadleh, M., Peifer, C., Munoz, L. (2017). Development and Biological Evaluation of a Photoactivatable Small Molecule Microtubule-Targeting Agent. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 8(4), 395-400. [More Information]
  • O'Brien-Brown, J., Jackson, A., Reekie, T., Barron, M., Werry, E., Schiavini, P., McDonnell, M., Munoz, L., Wilkinson, S., Noll, B., Kassiou, M., et al (2017). Discovery and pharmacological evaluation of a novel series of adamantyl cyanoguanidines as P2X7 receptor antagonists. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 130, 433-439. [More Information]
  • Gunosewoyo, H., Yu, L., Munoz, L., Kassiou, M. (2017). Kinase targets in CNS drug discovery. Future Medicinal Chemistry, 9(3), 303-314. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L. (2017). Non-kinase targets of protein kinase inhibitors. Nature Reviews. Drug Discovery, 16, 424-440. [More Information]
  • Zhou, Q., Phoa, A., Abbassi, R., Hoque, M., Reekie, T., Font Sadurni, J., Ryan, R., Stringer, B., Day, B., Johns, T., Munoz, L., Kassiou, M. (2017). Structural optimization and pharmacological evaluation of inhibitors targeting dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinases (DYRK) and CDC-like kinases (CLK) inglioblastoma. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 60(5), 2052-2070. [More Information]

2016

  • Munoz, L., Yeung, Y., Grewal, T. (2016). Oncogenic Ras modulates p38 MAPK-mediated inflammatory cytokine production in glioblastoma cells. Cancer Biology and Therapy, 17(4), 355-363. [More Information]
  • Lalaoui, N., Hanggi, K., Brumatti, G., Chau, D., Nguyen, N., Vasilikos, L., Spilgies, L., Heckmann, D., Ma, C., Munoz, L., et al (2016). Targeting p38 or MK2 Enhances the Anti-Leukemic Activity of Smac-Mimetics. Cancer Cell, 29(2), 145-158. [More Information]

2015

  • Gurgis, F., Akerfeldt, M., Heng, B., Wong, C., Adams, S., Guillemin, G., Johns, T., Chircop, M., Munoz, L. (2015). Cytotoxic activity of the MK2 inhibitor CMPD1 in glioblastoma cells is independent of MK2. Cell Death Discovery, 1, 1-11. [More Information]
  • Vinh, N., Devine, S., Munoz, L., Ryan, R., Wang, B., Krum, H., Chalmers, D., Simpson, J., Scammells, P. (2015). Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Tetra-Substituted Thiophenes as Inhibitors of p38α MAPK. ChemistryOpen, 4(1), 56-64. [More Information]
  • Abbassi, R., Johns, T., Kassiou, M., Munoz, L. (2015). DYRK1A in neurodegeneration and cancer: Molecular basis and clinical implications. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 151, 87-98. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Kavanagh, M., Phoa, A., Heng, B., Dzamko, N., Chen, E., Doddareddy, M., Guillemin, G., Kassiou, M. (2015). Optimisation of LRRK2 inhibitors and assessment of functional efficacy in cell-based models of neuroinflammation. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 95, 29-34. [More Information]
  • Phoa, A., Brown, S., Gurgis, F., Akerfeldt, M., Döbber, A., Renn, C., Peifer, C., Stringer, B., Day, B., Wong, C., Chircop (nee Fabbro), M., Kassiou, M., Munoz, L., et al (2015). Pharmacology of novel small-molecule tubulin inhibitors in glioblastoma cells with enhanced EGFR signalling. Biochemical Pharmacology, 98(4), 587-601. [More Information]
  • Gurgis, F., Yeung, Y., Tang, M., Heng, B., Buckland, M., Ammit, A., Haapasalo, J., Haapasalo, H., Guillemin, G., Grewal, T., Munoz, L. (2015). The p38-MK2-HuR pathway potentiates EGFRvIII-IL-1β-driven IL-6 secretion in glioblastoma cells. Oncogene, 34(22), 2934-2942. [More Information]

2014

  • Gurgis, F., Ziaziaris, W., Munoz, L. (2014). Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase-Activated Protein Kinase 2 in Neuroinflammation, Heat Shock Protein 27 Phosphorylation and Cell Cycle: Role and Targeting. Molecular Pharmacology, 85(2), 345-356. [More Information]

2013

  • Yeung, Y., McDonald, K., Grewal, T., Munoz, L. (2013). Interleukins in glioblastoma pathophysiology: implications for therapy. British Journal of Pharmacology, 168(3), 591-606. [More Information]
  • Eibl, C., Tomassoli, I., Munoz, L., Stokes, C., Papke, R., Gundisch, D. (2013). The 3,7-diazabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane scaffold for subtype selective nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) ligands. Part 1: the influence of different hydrogen bond acceptor systems on alkyl and (hetero)aryl substituents. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 21(23), 7283-7308. [More Information]
  • Eibl, C., Munoz, L., Tomassoli, I., Stokes, C., Papke, R., Gundisch, D. (2013). The 3,7-diazabicylo[3.3.1]nonane scaffold for subtype selective nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ligands. Part 2: Carboxamide derivatives with different spacer motifs. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 21(23), 7309-7329. [More Information]

2012

  • Yeung, Y., Bryce, N., Adams, S., Braidy, N., Konayagi, M., McDonald, K., Teo, C., Guillemin, G., Grewal, T., Munoz, L. (2012). p38 MAPK inhibitors attenuate pro-inflammatory cytokine production and the invasiveness of human U251 glioblastoma cells. Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 109(1), 35-44. [More Information]

2010

  • Munoz, L., Selig, R., Yeung, Y., Peifer, C., Hauser, D., Laufer, S. (2010). Fluorescence polarization binding assay to develop inhibitors of inactive p38alpha mitogen-activated protein kinase. Analytical Biochemistry, 401(1), 125-133. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Ramsay, E., Manetsch, M., Ge, Q., Peifer, C., Laufer, S., Ammit, A. (2010). Novel p38 MAPK inhibitor ML3403 has potent anti-inflammatory activity in airway smooth muscle. European Journal of Pharmacology, 635, 212-218. [More Information]
  • Munoz, L., Ammit, A. (2010). Targeting p38 MAPK pathway for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Neuropharmacology, 58(3), 561-568. [More Information]

2007

  • Munoz, L., Ranaivo, H., Roy, S., Hu, W., Craft, J., McNamara, L., Chico, L., Van Eldik, L., Watterson, D. (2007). A novel p38α MAPK inhibitor suppresses brain proinflammatory cytokine up-regulation and attenuates synaptic dysfunction and behavioral deficits in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 4(21), Published online 2007 September 4. doi: 10.1186/17. [More Information]
  • Hu, W., Ranaivo, H., Roy, S., Behanna, H., Wing, L., Munoz, L., Guo, L., Van Eldik, L., Watterson, D. (2007). Development of a novel therapeutic suppressor of brain proinflammatory cytokine up-regulation that attenuates synaptic dysfunction and behavioral deficits. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 17(2), 414-418. [More Information]

2004

  • Gundisch, D., Andra, M., Munoz, L., Tilotta, M. (2004). Synthesis and evaluation of phenylcarbamate derivatives as ligands for nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 12, 4953-4962. [More Information]

2002

  • Munoz, L., Laitinen, L., Raiman, J., Cizmarik, J., Sedlárová, E., Hirvonen, J. (2002). Permeability Profiles of M-Alkoxysubstituted Pyrrolidinoethylesters of Phenylcarbamic Acid across Caco-2 Monolayers and Human Skin. Pharmaceutical Research, 19(2), 162-168.
  • Munoz, L., Sedlárová, E., Cizmarik, J. (2002). Study of Local Anaesthetics, Part 156: Some Physicochemical and Lipophilic Properties of Pyrrolidinoethyl Esters of o-, m-, p-Alkoxy-Substituted Phenylcarbamic Acid. Chemical Papers, 56(5), 340-344.

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