Developing mucolytics to treat chronic respiratory diseases

Developing mucolytics to treat chronic respiratory diseases

Project details

One in three Australians have a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma (2.5 million), COPD (0.6 million), allergic rhinitis (4.5 million) or chronic sinusitis (1.9 million). Mucus overproduction and obstruction of the airways is a common feature of these conditions. Thinning this mucus to aid in its clearance from the patient’s lungs, without disrupting protection of the epithelium, remains a challenging problem. 

The goal of this project is to develop small molecules that reduce mucus viscosity by engaging novel targets discovered in our laboratory. The project will provide an Honours or PhD student with skills in chemical synthesis and rheology while exposing them to the fields of glycobiology and structural biology. 

Protein structure
Structural representation of a drug molecule (blue) bound to its target protein (silver).


About our research group

Our lab studies the glycobiology of human diseases to discover and develop new therapeutic targets. We take an interdisciplinary approach to this research, using techniques in cell biology, protein science and medicinal chemistry. Our research is bolstered by close collaborations with leading scientists at the Institute, across Australia and abroad. Our lab is an excellent interdisciplinary training environment for students and postdoctoral researchers alike, allowing one to become proficient at: 

  • expression and characterisation of target proteins 

  • biochemical assay development 

  • genetic manipulation of cell lines for target validation 

  • chemical synthesis of probe and drug-like molecules 


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