<b>Professor Glenn King</b><br>
Laboratory Head, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division<br><p>
P: +61 7 3346 2025<br>
E: glenn.king@imb.uq.edu.au<p>
<b>Keywords</b><br>
- chronic pain<br>
- stroke<br>
- biotechnology<br>
- insect venom<br>
- insecticides<br>
- agriculture
Professor Glenn King
Laboratory Head, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division

P: +61 7 3346 2025
E: glenn.king@imb.uq.edu.au

Keywords
- chronic pain
- stroke
- biotechnology
- insect venom
- insecticides
- agriculture

Bugs and drugs

Our research harnesses the chemistry of venoms from arthropod predators, such as spiders, scorpions and centipedes, to develop novel pharmaceuticals to treat chronic pain and stroke. Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide. In addition, it causes an extremely high incidence of disability in surviving victims due to the brain damage suffered during stroke. Likewise, chronic pain is a huge medical problem that affects one in five adults. There are few drugs available for treating chronic pain, and many of these have limited efficacy and dose-limiting side effects.

Animal venoms are a rich source of stable natural peptides that potently modulate the activity of a wide range of neuronal ion channels and receptors. We have the largest collection of arthropod venoms in the world, a high-throughput pipeline for venoms-based drug discovery, protocols for rapid protein expression and structure determination, and links to key laboratories for testing the efficacy of lead molecules in rodent models of pain and stroke. We are using these world-class resources to move us closer to achieving our aim of developing novel analgesics for pain relief and novel neuroprotective agents for treating stroke victims.

An equally important focus of our research is on helping to safeguard Australia’s agricultural crops and reduce the spread of disease from insect pests by discovering new environmentally friendly insecticides. Currently, arthropod pests destroy one-third of the world’s food supply and spread pernicious diseases such and dengue and malaria. Our work is finding better, safer ways to control disease-spreading pests and protect crops.

Next steps

We have discovered a number of small peptides that potently and selectively modulate the activity of neuronal ion channels that play key roles in pain and stroke. Our next steps are to test the therapeutic potential of these peptides in rodent models of pain and stroke. It is hoped that some of these peptides will progress to clinical trials against a variety of human conditions such as cancer pain, postoperative pain, neuropathic pain, and stroke.

Make a difference to Professor King's research by donating today.

Research in the news

1 October - No sting in centipede painkiller, The Australian

1 October - Centipede venom may fight chronic pain, ABC Science

12 SeptemberTarantula toxin could save farmers billions, The Australian

Student projects and opportunities

View current King Lab honours projects.

Key publications

View more publications by Professor King via PubMed.

King, G.F., and Hardy, M.C. (2012). Spider-venom peptides: structure, pharmacology, and potential for control of insect pests. Annual Review of Entomology 58: 475-496.

King, G.F. (2011). Venoms as a platform for human drugs: translating toxins into therapeutics. Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy 11: 1469–1484.

Saez, N.J., Mobli, M., Bieri, M., Malde, A.K., Gamsjaeger, R., Mark, A.E., Gooley, P.R., Rash, L.D., and King, G.F. (2011). A dynamic pharmacophore drives the interaction between psalmotoxin-1 and the putative drug target acid-sensing ion channel 1a. Molecular Pharmacology 80: 796–808.

Smith, J.J., Hill, J.M., Little, M.J., Nicholson, G.M., King, G.F. and Alewood, P.F. (2011) Unique scorpion toxin with a putative ancestral fold provides insight into evolution of the inhibitor cystine knot motif. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108: 10478–10483.

Pang, S.S., Berry, B., Chen, Z., Kjer-Nielsen, L., Perugini, M.A., King, G.F., Wang, C., Chew, S.H., La Gruta, N.L., Williams, N.K., Beddoe, T., Tiganis, T., Cowieson, N.P., Godfrey, D.I., Purcell, A.W., Wilce, M.C.J., McCluskey, J. and Rossjohn, J. (2010) The structural basis for autonomous dimerization by the pre T-cell antigen receptor. Nature 467: 844–848.

Lab contacts

Mr Shohidul Alam
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62326
s.alam@imb.uq.edu.au

Ms Andelain Erickson
Honours student
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62325
andelain.erickson@uq.net.au
Dr Sandy Pineda Gonzalez
Research staff
+61 7 334 62011
+61 7 334 62322
s.gonzalez@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Raveendra Anangi
Research staff
+61 7 334 62018
+61 7 334 62322
r.anangi@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Solène Ferreira
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62325
s.ferreira@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Sassan Rahnama
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62015
+61 7 334 62322
s.rahnama@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Niraj Bende
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62326
n.bende@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Margaret Hardy
Research staff
+61 7 334 62018
+61 7 334 62322
m.hardy@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Lachlan Rash
Research staff
+61 7 334 62985
l.rash@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Fernanda Cardoso
Research staff
+61 7 334 62986
f.caldascardoso@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Volker Herzig
Research staff
+61 7 334 62018
+61 7 334 62322
v.herzig@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Darshani Rupasinghe
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62322
d.rupasinghe@imb.uq.edu.au
Ms Irene Chassagnon
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62325
irene.chassagnon@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Maria Ikonomopoulou
Research staff
+61 7 334 62018
+61 7 334 62322
m.ikonomopoulou@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Sebastian Senff
Research staff
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62326
s.senff@imb.uq.edu.au
Dr Yanni Chin
Research staff
+61 7 334 62015
+61 7 334 62322
y.chin@uq.edu.au

Ms Julie Klint
Research staff
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62326
j.klint@imb.uq.edu.au

Dr Jennifer Smith
Research staff
+61 7 334 62018
+61 7 334 62322
jennifer.smith@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Jonathan Chow
Honours student
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62325
chun.chow@uqconnect.edu.au

Mr Carus Lau
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62011
+61 7 334 62322
h.y.lau@uqconnect.edu.au

Mr Eivind Undheim
Research staff
+61 7 334 62322
e.undheim@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Ben Cristofori-Armstrong
Research staff
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62325
ben.cristoforiarmstrong@uqconnect.edu.au
Dr Linlin Ma
Research staff
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62325
linlin.ma@imb.uq.edu.au
 
Dr Evelyne Deplazes
Research staff
+61 7 334 62100
e.deplazes@imb.uq.edu.au
Mr Bruno Madio
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62326
+61 7 334 62322
b.madio@imb.uq.edu.au
 
Ms Jessie Er
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62325
s.er@imb.uq.edu.au

Ms Rosa Martinez
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62322
+61 7 334 62326
r.martinez@imb.uq.edu.au