CMT Research Themes

Research Themes

The Centre for Molecular Therapeutics brings together researchers from across James Cook University together with national and international collaborators on innovative cross-disciplinary research projects using state-of-the-art technologies to discover and develop novel therapeutics and diagnostics from the tropics and for the tropics. Advanced analytical and computational approaches, play a key role on our Centre's research. CMT amalgamates over 62 research and supporting staff and over 45 post-graduate students into one cohesive research group to move research from basic science through to translation, commercialisation and impact.

Biodiscovery

Theme Leaders

Prof Denise Doolan, Prof Alex Loukas

The Biodiscovery Program aims to isolate molecules of therapeutic potential produced by tropical flora and fauna, for the treatment of a range of infectious diseases and non-infectious human illnesses, including chronic disorders, allergies and autoimmune diseases as well as envenomations. Many currently utilised medicines are derived from plants and animals. The unparalleled diversity of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna in our tropical reefs and rainforests, including the many parasites and other microorganisms which are restricted to the tropical environment, present a unique opportunity for the discovery of new immunotherapeutics, vaccine targets or diagnostics. Researchers in the Biodiscovery Theme aim to identify these novel molecules using cutting-edge functional readouts in combination with advanced analytical approaches in protein/peptide purification, computational, structural and molecular biology.

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Molecular Characterisation and Design

Theme Leaders

Prof Norelle Daly & Prof Lionel Hebbard

The Molecular Characterisation and Design program aims to harness the therapeutic potential of molecules produced by tropical flora and fauna by designing and optimising synthetic versions of the naturally-derived molecules, for the treatment a range of chronic and acute illnesses and envenomations. The molecular development activities follow the biodiscovery phase and include the isolation of bioactive molecules from natural and synthetic sources and modification of those molecules to maximise their therapeutic efficacy. Design activities explore new approaches to drug design and delivery, including the synthesis of new classes of pharmacologically-active organic and inorganic compounds. Other design activities focus on the development and refinement of technologies for therapeutic delivery (e.g. vaccine platforms) or diagnostic application.

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Molecular Immunology

Theme Leaders

Prof Andreas Lopata & A/Prof John Miles

The Molecular Immunology program seeks to understand the intricate pathways involved in the regulation of immune responses during infectious diseases and non-infectious human illnesses, including chronic disorders, allergies and autoimmune diseases as well as envenomations, and use that understanding to develop new therapeutic compounds.

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Clinical Translation

Theme Leaders

Prof Jon Golledge & Dr Paul Giacomin

The Clinical Translation program seeks to move therapeutic molecules (immunotherapies, vaccines) or diagnostics discovered and developed in the Biodiscovery, Molecular Characterisation and Design, and Molecular Immunology programs through the R&D pipeline towards clinical studies in humans. The ultimate aim is to transition promising bioactive leads to commercial development with industry partners.

Meet the Team