Dr Markus Muttenthaler

Senior Research Fellow

Institute for Molecular Bioscience


Dr Markus Muttenthaler is a medicinal chemist working at the interface of chemistry and biology with a strong passion for translational research. His research focus is on neuropeptides and the exploration of nature's diversity (i.e. venom peptides) to develop molecular tools, diagnostics and therapeutics. His background in drug discovery, design and development, as well as his interdisciplinary training in the fields of chemistry, molecular biology and pharmacology assist him in the characterisation of these highly potent and selective compounds and allow him to study their interactions with human physiology for medical innovations neuropathic pain, cancer, autism, gastrointestinal disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

Research Interests

  • Neuropeptide Chemistry and Biology
  • Biological and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Peptide Drug Discovery and Development
  • Oxytocin and Vasopressin Research
  • Venom Peptide Drug Discovery
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Molecular Probe Development
  • Intranasal Peptide Delivery
  • Peptide Chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal wound healing
  • Breast Cancer
  • Multivalent Peptide Dendrimers
  • Selenochemistry

Research Impacts

Peptides are key mediators in many biological functions and understanding of their interaction with target proteins is fundamental to unravel the underlying mechanism of diseases. Over the years, an increasing number of bioactive peptides from animals, plants, and bacteria have been characterised, with the overwhelming realisation that these molecules often show better therapeutic performance than their human counterparts, particularly in terms of in vivo stability. The main research efforts situated in this field of Chemical Biology focus on the exploration and translation of these vast and untapped natural libraries towards the development of useful research tools and therapeutics. Solid-phase peptide synthesis, the main tool to access these compounds, is a powerful technology for the assembly and chemical modification of these highly chiral and structurally complex peptides. This complexity is also responsible for their remarkable selectivity and potency as well as for their low side effect profile observed in the clinic.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Masters of Science, TU Wien
  • Bachelor of Science Technical Chemistry, TU Wien


  • Jin, Ai-Hua, Muttenthaler, Markus, Dutertre, Sebastien, Himaya, S.W.A., Kaas, Quentin, Craik, David J., Lewis, Richard J. and Alewood, Paul F. (2019) Conotoxins: chemistry and biology. Chemical Reviews, . doi:10.1021/acs.chemrev.9b00207

  • Braga Emidio, Nayara, Hoffmann, Werner, Brierley, Stuart M. and Muttenthaler, Markus (2019) Trefoil Factor Family: Unresolved Questions and Clinical Perspectives. Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 44 5: 387-390. doi:10.1016/j.tibs.2019.01.004

  • Herzig, Volker, de Araujo, Aline, Greenwood, Kathryn, Chin, Yanni, Windley, Monique, Chong, Youmie, Muttenthaler, Markus, Mobli, Mehdi, Audsley, Neil, Nicholson, Graham, Alewood, Paul and King, Glenn (2018) Evaluation of Chemical Strategies for Improving the Stability and Oral Toxicity of Insecticidal Peptides. Biomedicines, 6 3: 90. doi:10.3390/biomedicines6030090

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Available Projects

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Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Conibear, Anne C. and Muttenthaler, Markus (2018) Advancing the frontiers of chemical protein synthesis - the 7CPS meeting, Haifa, Israel. Cell Chemical Biology, 25 3: 247-254. doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2018.03.001

  • Di Giglio, M. G., Muttenthaler, M. and Gruber, C. W. (2016). Pharmacological Probes for Oxytocin/vasopressin Gpcr Subtypes Based On In-Vertebrate Peptide Homologs. In: Journal of Peptide Science. , , (S162-S162). .

  • Arrowsmith, Sarah, Taylor, Olayisade, Muttenthaler, Markus and Wray, Susan (2016). Expression and function of vasopressin receptor subtypes in human myometrium: implications for effective tocolysis. In: Acta Physiologica. , , (21-22). .

  • Muttenthaler, Markus, Andersson, Asa, Ragnarsson, Lotten, Vetter, Irina, Busnelli, Marta, Chini, Bice, Arrowsmith, Sarah, Wray, Susan, de Araujo, Aline Dantas, Dutertre, Sebastien, Mobli, Mehdi, Lewis, Richard J., Gruber, Christian W. and Alewood, Paul F. (2016). Miklos Bodanszky Award Lecture Probing the Functional Complexity of Ancient Oxytocin in Health and Disease. In: Journal of Peptide Science. 34th European Peptide Symposium , Leipzig, Germany, (S7-S8). 4‐9 September 2016.

  • Busnelli, M., Leonzino, M., Silva, B., Dona, E., Manning, M., Muttenthaler, M. and Chini, B. (2015). New pharmacological tools to investigate oxytocin receptors in neurodevelopmental brain disorders. In: Journal of Neurochemistry. 25th Biennial Meeting of the International-Society-for-Neurochemistry Jointly with the 13th Meeting of the Asian-Pacific-Society-for-Neurochemistry in Conjunction with the 35th Meeting of the Australasian-Neuroscience-Society, Cairns Australia, (168-168). Aug 23-27, 2015.

  • Arrowsmith, Sarah, Wray, Susan and Muttenthaler, Markus (2015). Re-Examining the Importance of Vasopressin Receptors in Myometrial Contraction.. In: Reproductive Sciences. , , (332A-332A). .

  • Koehbach, Johannes, Stockner, Thomas, Bergmayr, Christian, Muttenthaler, Markus and Gruber, Christian W. (2013) Insights into the molecular evolution of oxytocin receptor ligand binding. Biochemical Society Transactions, 41 1: 197-204. doi:10.1042/BST20120256

  • Gemmill, K.B., Muttenthaler, M., Delehanty, J., Deschamps, J., Susumu, K., Stewart, M., Dawson, P., Huston, A. and Medintz, I. (2013). Peptide-mediated cellular delivery of semiconductor quantum dots. In: Šárka O. Southern, Conference on Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, and Environmental Monitoring III, Baltimore, United States, (). Apr 29-May 01, 2013. doi:10.1117/12.2015446

  • Muttenthaler, M., Dawson, P. E., Gruber, C. W., Bergmayr, C., Freissmuth, M., Andersson, A., Vetter, I., Dutertre, S., Lewis, R. J. and Alewood, P. F. (2012). Novel sources for potent and selective GPCR modulators. In: unknown, unknown, (S26-S26). unknown. doi:10.1002/psc.2447

  • Koehbach, J., O'Brien, M., Miazzo, M., Muttenthaler, M., Akcan, M., Smith, T. J., Craik, D. J., Freissmuth, M. and Gruber, C. W. (2012). Pharmacological characterization of circular plant peptides with oxytocin-like activity. In: Proceedings of the 32nd European Peptide Symposium. 32nd European Peptide Symposium "Peptides 2012", Athens, Greece, (S98-S98). 02-07 September 2012. doi:10.1002/psc.2449

  • Muttenthaler, M., Gruber, C. W., Andersson, A., Vetter, I., Nevin, S. T., Grishin, A. A., Dutertre, S., Daly, N. L., Craik, D. J., Adams, D. J., Lewis, R. J. and Alewood, P. F. (2011). Conotoxins - blueprints for GPCR drug discovery?. In: 22nd American Peptide Symposium, San Diego, CA, United States, (422-422). 25-30 June 2011.

  • Muttenthaler, M. M., de Araujo, A. D., Andersson, A., Vetter, I., Gruber, C., Ramos, Y. Garcia, Feytens, D., Bergmayr, C., Freissmuth, M., Lewis, R. and Alewood, P. (2010). Oxytocin agonist design - A selenocysteine mimetic reveals a functional selectivity switch for the human oxytocin receptor. In: Journal of Peptide Science. 31st European Peptide Symposium, Copenhagen, Denmark, (161-161). 5-9 September 2010. doi:10.1002/psc.1303

  • Adams, D. J., Alewood, P. F., Choy, P. T., Craik, D. J., Daly, N. L., Grishin, A. A., Hu, S-H., Martin, J. L., Muttenthaler, M., Nevin, S. T., Ngo, S. T. and Noakes, P. G. (2008). Selenocysteine in peptide drug design. In: Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Annual Scientific Meeting: Drug Discovery and Development, Couran Cove Island Resort, Queensland, Australia, (). 13 - 17 July 2008.

  • Muttenthaler, M., Nevin, S. T., Grishin, A. A., Ngo, S. T., Choy, P. T., Daly, N. L., Hu, S-H., Martin, J. L., Noakes, P. G., Craik, D. J., Adams, D. J. and Alewood, P. F. (2008). Selenocysteine in peptide folding and drug design. In: XXth International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC-ISMC 2008), Vienna, Austria, (). 31 August - 4 September 2008.

  • Muttenthaler, M. and Alewood, P. F. (2006). Directed folding of alpha-conotoxins using selenocysteine. In: Journal Of Peptide Science. 29th European Peptide Symposium. 29th European Peptide Symposium, Gdansk, Poland, (87-87). 3-8 September 2006. doi:10.1002/psc.796

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Please contact Dr Muttenthaler directly for further details

  • Please contact Dr Muttenthaler directly for further details.

  • Please contact Dr Muttenthaler directly for further details.

  • Project for interns or summer student.

    Please contact Dr Muttenthaler directly for further details.

  • Please contact Dr Muttenthaler directly for further details.