Molecular endocrinology and pharmacology

Student project opportunities

Investigation of G Protein-Coupled Receptor Molecular Pharmacology

Research area: Molecular Pharmacology
Chief supervisor:  Professor Kevin Pfleger
Other supervisors:  Dr Elizabeth Johnstone
Project suitable for: Honours, Masters, PhD 
Essential qualifications: as required for the respective degree program
Start date:  flexible

Project outline
G protein-coupled receptors are critically important targets for pharmaceuticals due to their crucial role in responding to hormonal, neurotransmitter and environmental stimuli. Indeed, between 30 and 50% of medicines target GPCR signalling pathways, as they have crucial roles in all aspects of physiology and pathology. We are looking to develop the next generation of drugs targeting these receptors that are not only more effective, but also have fewer side effects. This requires a far better understanding of how GPCRs function at the molecular and cellular level, in terms of ligand binding, G protein-coupling, arrestin recruitment, internalisation, trafficking and recycling. We need to understand how all of these aspects of receptor function change depending upon the compound or peptide binding to the receptor, and depending upon how receptors interact with each other to change their pharmacology.

The Laboratory for Molecular Endocrinology and Pharmacology currently has programs targeting kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer in particular. In order to stay on the cutting edge, we have become world leaders in technology development and adoption, especially with respect to the bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) technology. We apply these approaches to gain important novel insights into receptor function, in live cells and in real time.

Opportunities are available for highly motivated honours, masters and PhD candidates to be part of a leading research team, in a highly supportive and productive environment. Specific projects can be tailored to individual research interests with guidance from your supervisors. Further details are available on the Perkins website and upon request from Professor Pfleger.

Professor Kevin Pfleger -

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