Chemical Biology in Drug Discovery Laboratory

Lab head: Rachel Codd
Location: Blackburn Building, Camperdown

Our laboratory applies techniques in chemical biology to drug design, discovery, and pharmaceutics processing. Our chief interests lie in better understanding the mechanisms used by bacteria to acquire iron, from the level of siderophores, which are small-molecular-weight compounds produced by bacteria to sequester Fe(III), through to the cognate Fe(III)-siderophore recognition proteins, which are expressed at the bacterial cell surface. Bacterial iron uptake is significant in biomedicine, since:


  1. natural siderophores or siderophore mimics can be used to treat iron-overload disease and cancer; and

  2. molecules that antagonise iron uptake in both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria are potential antibiotics.


To access these target molecules, and to discover new bacterial metabolites of biomedical interest, our laboratory uses approaches that traverse chemical proteomics, affinity chromatography using designer resins, metal-templated synthesis, semisynthesis and precursor directed biosynthesis.

Lab members: R Codd (head)

Novel histone deacetylase inhibitors

Primary supervisor: Rachel Codd

Histone deacetylases (HDACs) play a role, together with histone acetyltransferases, in the regulation of the level of acetylation of lysine residues of nucleosomal histones in chromatin, which is an important determinant of transcriptional activity. Inhibition of HDACs yields hyperacetylated histones, which results in a more relaxed chromatin structure that is more readily accessed by the transcriptional machinery, thereby increasing transcriptional activity. Hydroxamic acid-based compounds have been found to inhibit HDACs and to induce cell differentiation in selected leukemia cell lines - as a result, compounds of this class are at the forefront of oncology research.

Discipline: Pharmacology
Keywords: Medicinal chemistry, Biochemistry, Cancer