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)

Desferrioxamine B capture: A new technology

Primary supervisor: Rachel Codd

We have discovered a streamlined method for selectively capturing the natural metabolite, desferrioxamine B, direct from culture supernatant of Streptomyces pilosus. Desferrioxamine B is a high-value trihydroxamic acid-based siderophore that binds Fe(III) with high affinity and is used in the treatment of β-thalassemia. In this project, you will compare the costly, multi-step method of isolating desferrioxamine B from bacterial culture currently used by industry with our single-step affinity technology.

Discipline: Pharmacology