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Our research

Dr Andrea Vernall

Dr Vernall's research focuses on the design, synthesis and biological analysis of molecules that target receptors in the human body that are implicated in various diseases and conditions. In particular development of heterocyclic small molecules, peptidomimetics and chemical tools for interrogating G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) structure and function.

Research projects typically involve organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, molecular modelling, and pharmacology. Current projects in the group include development of -

  • Fluorescent tools for cannabinoid receptors
  • Small molecule probes to study cannabinoid receptor trafficking
  • Fluorescent tools for adenosine receptors
  • Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cell activators
  • Peptidomimetics as neuropeptide receptor antagonists
  • Vaccines for small molecule drugs of abuse

Collaborators:

  • Michelle Glass, University of Auckland
  • Natasha Grimse,y University of Auckland
  • Greg Anderson, University of Otago
  • James Ussher, University of Otago
  • Stephen Hill, University of Nottingham
  • Sarah Hook, University of Otago

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Dr Allan Gamble

Dr Gamble's research uses synthetic chemistry to solve complex biological problems, with his team working in three main areas:

  • Bioorthogonal chemistry
  • Design and synthesis of biologically active molecules for treatment of chronic and infectious disease
  • Synthetic nanoparticles for drug delivery and diagnostics

Current projects in the group include:

  • Prodrug activation with bioorthogonal chemical reactions
  • Synthesis of nano-vesicles for drug delivery
  • Design and synthesis of bacterial protease inhibitors
  • Design and synthesis of inhibitors targeting multidrug resistant TB

Collaborators:

  • Sarah Hook University of Otago
  • Gregory Cook University of Otago
  • Greg Giles University of Otago
  • Khaled Gresh University of Otago
  • Bill Hawkins University of Otago

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Dr Joel Tyndall

Dr Tyndall's research is centred around drug discovery and uses structural biology, molecular modelling and structural analysis to guide synthetic programmes developing lead compounds focused on key targets in disease.

Current projects include:

  • Structural biology and antifungal drug discovery targeting CYP51
  • Development of covalent inhibitors targeting macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF)
  • Design and synthesis of protease inhibitors against Chlamydia

Collaborators:

  • Brian Monk University of Otago
  • Sigurd Wilbanks University of Otago
  • Mark Hampton University of Otago, Christchurch
  • Greg Cook University of Otago
  • Michael Kelso University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Willa Huston Queensland University of Technology, Australia

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