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Open Access Understanding how toxins interact with lipid membranes and ion channels, NHMRC

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Dr Schroeder's research focuses on bioactive molecules isolated from plants and the venom of snakes, spiders and cone snails and she actively pursue these molecules in a quest for identifying new drug leads for the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, obesity and cancer. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how to harness the natural drug-like properties of these bioactive molecules and use them as neuroscience tools to explore the interactions between the bioactive molecules and their targets in the human body. She investigate these interactions using sophisticated peptide engineering, a range biophysical techniques including NMR spectroscopy and activity assays. By understanding these interactions in detail she believes we will be able to create new and improved drugs with fewer side effects. During the past 12 months, her research has discovered that certain spider toxins, interesting as drug leads for the development of treatment of chronic pain, not only interact with a particular target receptor in humans, but also interact strongly with the surrounding lipid membrane. This discovery may alter the way we rationally design novel sodium channel inhibitors in the future and has lead to a collaboration with a major pharmaceutical company.
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Keywords: BIOACTIVE MOLECULES; LIPIDS; NHMRC; SPIDERTOXINS; TOXINS; VENOM

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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