Research highlights

Cone snails may lead to new diabetes therapy

Cone snails capture their prey by using a special form of insulin that induces hypoglycemic shock.

Professor Brian Smith and PhD student Nicholas Smith are part of an international team that have identified and modelled the structure of this insulin and its interaction with the insulin receptor. Their findings, published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, may aid in the design of a novel class of fast-acting insulin for diabetes therapy. Read more.

Frogs may help fight bacteria

Antimicrobial peptides are nature's "magic bullets" that hunt bacteria at sites of potential infection. These peptides may help fight drug resistant bacteria, if more was known about their mechanism of action.

Dr Adam Mechler leads a research team that has described the antimicrobial action of a peptide originating from the Australian golden bell frog. Their findings, published in Scientific Reports, may lead to the development of a peptide that can protect humans, not just frogs, from life threatening infections. Read more.

New method for preparing molecules containing two metals

Applied science relies on synthetic chemists to develop new ways of making molecules.

Dr Peter Barnard, Dr David Wilson and Dr Jason Dutton, together with scientists from the University of Western Australia, have developed a new synthetic method for preparing molecules that contain two different metals. The method allows the metals to be linked to a symmetrical ligand (which binds them together), where the bonding interaction can be studied.

This paper made the American Chemical Society Editors' Choice list and the cover of the Journal of Inorganic Chemistry. Read more.

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