Chemical Biology Group
About the Chemical Biology group
The primary objective of the Chemical Biology Group is to use small molecules to provide novel insights into the aetiology and possible future therapy of disorders of the human central nervous system. A focus of the group is on small molecules of natural origin, as secondary metabolites have evolved over hundreds of millions of years to functionally interact with biological macromolecules, and occupy a uniquely three-dimensional niche in chemical space.
The group’s research platform is centred around the use of zebrafish as an in vivo disease model. Zebrafish embryos and larvae are microscopically small, optically translucent vertebrates with high genetic, physiologic, and pharmacologic homology to humans. Zebrafish are uniquely suited to perform high-throughput, in vivo screens of drug-like, structurally diverse small molecules to identify compounds capable of modulating pathophysiological parameters associated with disease – particularly through the use of novel zebrafish models of human CNS disorders. By elucidating the mechanism of action of such bioactive small molecules, new disease-relevant signalling pathways and biomolecular targets for drug discovery can be discovered.