Molecule building

One of the key research elements of the Centre for Chemistry and Biotechnology (CCB) is the construction of new molecular entities. We focus on medicinal chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, catalysis and materials chemistry.


Research for real-world solutions

At CCB we're putting our efforts into a range of innovations. 

  • New agents to combat multi-drug resistant pathogens (including tuberculosis). 
  • Developing new therapeutic and diagnostic treatments for cancer. 
  • Understanding fundamental molecular interactions. 
  • Improving high performance materials by manipulating carbonaceous surfaces. 
  • Developing new catalysed transformations to access a new chemical space.

Research priorities

Medicinal chemistry

There's an urgent need for new antibacterial agents to combat MDR pathogens. We're currently targeting problematic pseudomonas and acinobacter strains as well as tackling the re-emergence of tuberculosis.

We're developing new anti-cancer agents including inhibitors of histone deacetylase (HDACis) and isosteric analogues (1,2,3-triazole-to-amide replacement) in established pharmaceuticals. This includes several novel compounds with anti-proliferative properties similar to, or better than, Casodex.

New potent and fluorescent analogues of the well-studied HDACi Scriptaid have also been used to demonstrate rapid cellular uptake and targeting of non-nuclear HDAC enzymes. As a result, we know these agents have great potential as cancer theranostic agents.

Supramolecular chemistry

Supramolecular chemistry furthers our understanding of how matter interacts at a molecular level. We use preorganised [n]polynorbornanes to study the interactions of biologically relevant dicarboxylates and phosphoanionic species.

Using similar molecular frameworks, we've recently constructed metallosupramolecular cages with customised endohedral functionality. These cages are at the forefront of supramolecular chemistry research and have great potential as both catalysts

Catalysis application

In addition to the metallosupramolecular cages, a range of C2-symmetric organocatalysts have been constructed to facilitate asymmetric aldol reactions on water using very low catalysts loadings (0.05-1 mol%). We're currently exploring the application of these catalysts to the cascade synthesis of complex organic molecules of biological interest.

Materials chemistry

While carbon fibre reinforced materials are now standard in aerospace and automotive industries, current materials reach only 7–10 per cent of their theoretical maximum strength. Under the banner of materials chemistry, we're engineering a reactive carbon fibre surface chemically bonds at the interface, boosting the strength of these composites by up to 78 per cent.

Contact us

Group Coordinator
Dr Fred Pfeffer
+61 3 5227 1439
Email Dr Pfeffer