<b>Dr Irina Vetter</b><br>
Group Leader, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division<br>
Deputy Director, Centre for Pain Research<p>
P: +61 7 3346 2660<br>
E: i.vetter@imb.uq.edu.au<p>
- chronic pain<br>
- toxins<br>
- ion channels <br>
- neuropathy<br>
- drug discovery<br>
- drug development<br>
- cancer<br>
- diabetes<br>
- irritable bowel syndrome<br>
Dr Irina Vetter
Group Leader, Chemistry and Structural Biology Division
Deputy Director, Centre for Pain Research

P: +61 7 3346 2660
E: i.vetter@imb.uq.edu.au

- chronic pain
- toxins
- ion channels
- neuropathy
- drug discovery
- drug development
- cancer
- diabetes
- irritable bowel syndrome

Understanding pain pathways

Pain is a major medical and socio-economic issue affecting one in five Australians. Our research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms behind pain. The current focus of the lab is to use toxins from plants and venomous animals to understand the molecular pharmacology of pain. These toxins are highly selective for ion channels and receptors found in the sensory neurons that detect pain and can potentially be developed into novel analgesics.

Our research also investigates the mechanisms contributing to chemotherapy-induced pain, cancer-associated pain, inflammatory and neuropathic pain, and the painful marine toxin disease known as ciguatera.

To investigate the neuropharmacology of pain we use a range of techniques including: in vivo pain pathway characterisation, high-content imaging of cultured sensory neurons, high-throughput screening using calcium and membrane potential assays, and traditional pharmacological assays.

While all pain has similar symptoms, it is becoming clear that the underlying mechanisms behind pain can vary. Our research has already challenged traditional understanding of pain pathways and sensory neuronal physiology.

We work in collaboration with other leading Australian and international researchers to identify novel therapeutic pain pathways and targets. By uncovering these new pain pathways, as well as identifying novel targets on peripheral sensory neurons, we aim to develop more effective pain therapies that treat the underlying cause of the pain, not just the symptoms. 

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Research in the news

21 November 2013 - Researchers bloom at Tall Poppy Awards

17 October 2012 - Scientist recognised for outstanding biomedical research

Research training opportunities

Please see IMB's postgraduate website for more information. 

Key publications

View more publications by Dr Vetter via Pubmed or via UQ Researchers.

Vetter I, Hein A, Sattler S, Hessler S, Touska F, Bressan E, Parra A, Hager U, Leffler A, Boukalova S, Nissen M, Lewis RJ, Belmonte C, Alzheimer C, Huth T, Vlachova V, Reeh PW, Zimmermann K. Amplified cold transduction in native nociceptors by M-channel inhibition. J Neurosci. 2013 Oct 16;33(42):16627-41.

Deuis JR, Zimmermann K, Romanovsky AA, Possani LD, Cabot PJ, Lewis RJ, Vetter I. An animal model of oxaliplatin-induced cold allodynia reveals a crucial role for Nav1.6 in peripheral pain pathways. Pain. 2013 Sep;154(9):1749-57.

Vetter I, Touska F, Hess A, Hinsbey R, Sattler S, Lampert A, Sergejeva M, Sharov A, Collins LS, Eberhardt M, Engel M, Cabot PJ, Wood JN, Vlachová V, Reeh PW, Lewis RJ, Zimmermann K. Ciguatoxins activate specific cold pain pathways to elicit burning pain from cooling. EMBO J. 2012 Oct 3;31(19):3795-808.

Zimmermann K, Deuis JR, Inserra MC, Collins LS, Namer B, Cabot PJ, Reeh PW, Lewis RJ, Vetter I. Analgesic treatment of ciguatoxin-induced cold allodynia. Pain. 2013 Oct;154(10):1999-2006.

Lewis RJ, Dutertre S, Vetter I, Christie MJ. Conus venom peptide pharmacology. Pharmacol Rev. 2012 Apr;64(2):259-98. 

Group contacts

Ms Jennifer Deuis
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62366
Mr Priyank Shenoy
Research staff
+61 7 334 62366
Ms Kathleen Yin
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62366
Mr James Dobson
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62366
Dr Irina Vetter
Group leader
+61 7 334 62660
Dr Marco Inserra
Research staff
+61 7 334 62361
Ms Ella Whately
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62366


Ms Mathilde Israel
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62366
Ms Kunsala Yapa
Research higher degree student
+61 7 334 62366



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