The search for bioactive natural products is targeted at compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal and/or anti-tumour activity.
Established over 25 years ago by Associate Professor Theo Macrides, we investigate naturally derived compounds from marine, plant and animal life for potential bioactivity. Our core skills include:
- extraction, isolation, structural characterisation
- in vitro assays as a tool for bioassay-guided fractionation
- toxicological evaluation
- organic chemical synthesis
- chromatographic separations: low pressure CC, TLC, Analytical and Preparative scale HPLC
Our collaborative R&D projects with industry partner McFarlane Marketing Aust. Pty Ltd (MacLab) have resulted in the commercial development of two naturally derived products: the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory marine oil Lyprinol®, and the dermaceutical Isolutrol® from shark bile.
- Associate Professor Theo Macrides, Leader
- Associate Professor Paul Wright, Principal Toxicologist
- Ms Nicolette Kalafatis, Separations Chemist / Financial Controller
- Dr Lynn Hodges, Postdoctoral Scientist
- Mr Donald Harney, Research Scientist/Synthetic Organic Chemist
- Mr Glen Marrow, PhD student
- Mr Christian Aloe, PhD student
- Mr Christopher Halkias, PhD student
- Dr Paul M Wynne, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (Oceania) Pty Ltd, LCMS and GCMS consultant
Prof. A.J. Sinclair (Deakin Univ., VIC), Prof. M.W. Whitehouse (Griffith Univ., QLD Assoc. Prof D.R. Haynes and Dr H.W. Betts (Univ. of Adelaide, SA), Dr G. Simpson (CSIRO, VIC). Prof. K. Tsuji (Shizuoka Univ., Japan), Prof. S.D. Cohen (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy USA). Dr G. Kweifio-Okai (Southern School of Natural Therapy, VIC). Dr R Trengove (Murdoch Univ., WA)
We are an exemplar of a “home-grown“ research success story at RMIT, maintaining continuous industry funding support since 1984 from its Industry Partner, McFarlane Marketing (Aust) Pty Ltd, which is an Australian company wholly-owned by the Broadbent Family Trust (Directors: J.M., W.R. and A.C. Broadbent). This company had also provided financial support in 1981-84 for two MSc projects in the RMIT Dept of Applied Biology. In a new research phase in 2009, we collaborated with the RMIT Nanosafety research team (lead by Paul Wright and funded by an Advanced Manufacturing CRC research grant for $1.5M, as well as NHMRC grant funding) to investigate the potential of its natural marine antioxidants as functional nanomaterial coatings and for skin protection against UV damage.
We are in the discipline of Laboratory Medicine, School of Medical Sciences. We investigate the physico-chemical characteristics and potential bioactivities of naturally-derived compounds and secondary metabolites from plants (both Australian and African species) and marine animals, including New Zealand mussels and Australian sharks, rays, sea stars, sea urchins and introduced species. This research has produced several novel findings, including the liver-protective andantioxidant properties of shark bile compounds (5Î²-scymnol and its sulfate and related synthetic analogues), and the novel family of potent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compounds in NZ green-lipped mussels (Perna canaliculus) – both are bioactive components in natural products on the market.
Why not join us?
All enquiries about joining us as honours and postgraduate students or as postdoctoral Fellows should be directed to the Natural Products Leader, Associate Professor Theo Macrides.