Pharmaceutical Chemistry Research
Research in Pharmaceutical Chemistry currently encompasses a range of projects from the analytical to the biological in the broad areas of photobiology, drug design, molecular neuropharmacology, biomolecular action of drugs and identification of potential future drug targets. The use of plants and other naturally occurring materials as sources of safe and effective therapeutic agents is a major objective of research carried out in the Herbal Medicines Research and Education Centre.
Molecular mechanisms in asthma, inflammation and airway remodelling
Dr Alaina Ammit
The overall theme of my research concerns molecular mechanisms underlying inflammatory diseases, such as asthma.
Current areas of research focus include:
- Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of cytokine and cell cycle protein gene expression
- Mast cell and airway smooth muscle cell interactions in asthma
- Herbal medicines as modulators of inflammation
- Modulation of T-cell responses
- Mechanisms of action of sphingosine 1-phosphate, a biologically active sphingolipid, on cell migration, growth and synthetic function
Cancer and Anti-cancer Agents
Prof BD Roufogalis
- The role of calcium translocating ATPases responsible for regulating calcium levels in cells.
- The distribution and physiological function of a novel Ras-related G-protein in plasma membranes.
- Regulation of the VR1 vanilloid receptor in neuronal cells: effects of vanilloids.
- Investigation of the effects of calcium and drugs and, in particular, the role of magnesium-dependent ATPase in the control of phospholipid distribution
- Investigation of the mechanism of transport of chemotherapeutic agents and the search for agents which can reverse multidrug resistance in cancer
- Role of P-glycoprotein in regulation of drug levels
- Development of agents which are to be released as the active anticancer drug by enzymes chemically linked to antibodies targeted to tumour cells
- Purinergic receptors as potential targets for the treatment of leukemias and for inducing normal blood-cell maturation in the bone marrow
Rational Drug Design and Structural Bioinformatics
Dr Bret Church
- Targets of the inflammatory cascade
- Membrane bound targets
- G-protein coupled receptors
- Schizophrenia targets
For further information see For further information see
Molecular Neuropharmacology / Neurochemistry
Dr Mary Collins
- Studies towards the development of new therapeutic agents that act on GABA receptors and transporters for the treatment of brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.
- Investigating the effects of natural and synthetic neurologically active agents on nicotinic receptors.
- Complementary structure-activity relationship studies of GABA and nicotinic receptors in order to understand the mechanisms of function as part of drug design & development.
Plants as Sources of Medicinal Products
Dr CC Duke
- Isolation, identification and evaluation of bioactive natural products.
- Structure-activity relationship studies of natural products and synthetic analogues as part of the development of new medicinal agents.
Analysis of Medicinal Plant Extracts
Characterisation and quantitative analysis of selected medicinal plant extracts by:
- Liquid chromatography
- Mass spectrometry
- Instrumental thin-layer chromatography.
Dr George Li
- Mechanism of action and active components of popular herbal medicines for management of diabetics.
- Immunomodulation and active components pf popular herbal medicines for cancer management,
- Pharmacognosy standardization, characterization, quantitative analysis of herbal medicines such as Echinacea, and propolis with HPTLC and HPLC.
Dr Jane Hanrahan
Research directed towards the design, synthesis and development of drugs selectively active at different sub-types of GABA receptors using structure-activity studies and computer-assisted modelling. Activity studies are carried out on specific receptors expressed in oocytes and in other test systems.
Such studies suggest new compounds to be investigated as neuroactive substances, possibly as agonists, antagonists or modulators at these receptors and transporters. Alzheimer's Disease, Anxiety, Diabetes, Epilepsy, and Schizophrenia are the main targets of our drug discovery program.
Major projects include:
- The development of drugs to treat memory deficits in disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease and Schizophrenia
- Design and development of GABA-C selective ligands
- Assessment of the effects of chemicals in the diet and herbal medicines e.g. flavonoids on GABA receptors
For further information see http://www.pharm.usyd.edu.au/about/people/jhanrahan.shtml
Evaluation of Herbal Products
Dr Laleh Vahdat
- Factors influencing the stability of the antibiotics in the liquid and frozen states.
- Kinetics of rate of reactions of β lactam penicillins that undergo autocatalytic degradation
- Analysis of herbal products and evaluation of their therapeutic values.