Head of Laboratory

Dr Richard Clark


Macgregor, Room 307B


  • Dr Linda Haugaard-Kedstrom (Research Fellow)
  • Johannes van Dijk (Research Assistant)
  • Randy Aliyanto (Research assistant)
  • Han Siean Lee (Research assistant)


Bodil Carstens (PhD)


We are interested in studying the role of naturally occurring bioactive peptides in a broad range of human diseases. Peptides have a diverse range of functions in human biology including acting as hormones, neuro-regulators and in the protection against pathogens. Our work in this area is focused on understanding the molecular mechanism that these peptide use to elicit a biological response with the hope of using this knowledge to develop new drug leads.

The study of endogenous human peptides and proteins and the isolation and characterisation of bioactive peptides from natural sources has generated huge interest in the development of these molecules for the treatment of a broad range of human diseases. Although there are many advantages of using peptides as therapeutics, there are still a number of hurdles that need to be overcome before this source of promising drug leads fulfill their vast potential. Our goal is to create potent and selective drug leads based on naturally occurring peptides for the treatment of human diseases and to develop novel strategies to provide these molecules with the ability to resist the bodys natural degradation pathways so they are able to reach their biological target.

Recent publications

  1. Clark RJ and Craik DJ, Engineering cyclic peptide toxins. Methods Enzymol. (2012) 503, 57-74.
  2. Clark RJ, Tan C, Preza GC, Nemeth E, Ganz T, Craik DJ, Understanding the structure/activity relationships of the iron regulatory peptide hepcidin. Chem. Biol. (2011) 18, 336-343.
  3. Chan LY, Gunasekera S, Henriques ST, Worth NF, Le SJ, Clark RJ, Campbell JH, Craik DJ, Daly NL, Engineering pro-angiogenic peptides using stable, disulfide-rich cyclic scaffolds. Blood (2011) 118, 6709-6717.
  4. Henriques ST, Tan C, Craik DJ and Clark RJ#, Structural and functional analysis of human liver expressed antimicrobial peptide 2. ChemBioChem (2010) 11, 2148-2157.
  5. Clark RJ, Jensen J, Nevin ST, Callaghan BP, Adams DJ and Craik DJ, The engineering of an orally active conotoxin for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Angewandte Chemie (2010) 49, 6545-48.
  6. Halai R*, Clark RJ*, Nevin ST*, Jensen JE, Adams DJ, Craik DJ, Scanning mutagenesis of a-conotoxin Vc1.1 reveals residues crucial for activity at the a9a10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. J. Biol. Chem. (2009) 284, 20275-20284.

Student projects


  1. Understanding the function of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin
  2. Development of conotoxin-based peptides for the treatment of neuropathic pain
  3. Neuroprotective effects of conotoxins


  1. Discovery and development of novel immunomodulatory peptides from hookworms
  2. Novel conotoxins targeting GPCRs
  3. Functional role of novel antimicrobial peptides

Research support

2012 2014 NHMRC Project Grant, Elucidating the mechanisms of alpha-conotoxin-induced calcium channel inhibition via G-protein coupled receptors CIs Berecki G, Clark RJ and Thomas E

2011 2015 ARC Future Fellowship, The development of effective peptide-based drugs CI Clark RJ

2011 2013 NHMRC Project grant, Understanding the structure/function relationships of the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin CIs Clark RJ and Craik DJ