Associate Professor Markus Muttenthaler

ARC Future Fellow & Group Leader

Institute for Molecular Bioscience

ARC Future Fellow & Group Leader

Institute for Molecular Bioscience


Associate Professor Muttenthaler is a medicinal chemist working at the interface of chemistry and biology with a strong passion for translational research. His research focuses on neuropeptides and the exploration of Nature's biodiversity to develop molecular tools, diagnostics, and therapeutics. His background in drug discovery 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 in pain, cancer, gut 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 (Coursework) of Science, Technische Universität Wien
  • Bachelor of Science, Technische Universität Wien


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Available Projects

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Book Chapter

  • Kremsmayr, Thomas and Muttenthaler, Markus (2022). Fmoc Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis of Oxytocin and Analogues. Methods in Molecular Biology. (pp. 175-199) New York, NY: Humana Press Inc.. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1759-5_11

  • Jadhav, Kirtikumar B, Woolcock, Katrina J and Muttenthaler, Markus (2020). Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride cleavage in boc solid phase peptide synthesis. Peptide Synthesis. (pp. 41-57) edited by Waleed M. Hussein, Mariusz Skwarczynski and Istvan Toth. New York, NY, United States: Humana. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0227-0_4

  • Muttenthaler, M. and Alewood, P. F. (2009). Selenocystine peptides - synthesis, folding and applications. Oxidative folding of peptides and proteins. (pp. 396-418) edited by Johannes Buchner. Cambridge , U.K.: Royal Society of Chemistry. doi: 10.1039/9781847559265-00396

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Perisic, Ms Monika, Kalaba, Predrag, Keimpema, Erik, Muttenthaler, Markus and Gruber, Christian (2023). Development and application of fluorescent oxytocin receptor tracers. 19th World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (WCP), Glasgow Scotland, Jul 02-07, 2023. HOBOKEN: WILEY.

  • Conibear, Anne C. and Muttenthaler, Markus (2018). Advancing the frontiers of chemical protein synthesis - the 7CPS meeting, Haifa, Israel. Cambridge, MA, United States: Cell Press. 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. HOBOKEN: WILEY.

  • Arrowsmith, Sarah, Taylor, Olayisade, Muttenthaler, Markus and Wray, Susan (2016). Expression and function of vasopressin receptor subtypes in human myometrium: implications for effective tocolysis. HOBOKEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL.

  • 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. 34th European Peptide Symposium, Leipzig, Germany, 4‐9 September 2016. Hoboken, NJ United States: Wiley.

  • 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. 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, Aug 23-27, 2015. HOBOKEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL.

  • Arrowsmith, Sarah, Wray, Susan and Muttenthaler, Markus (2015). Re-Examining the Importance of Vasopressin Receptors in Myometrial Contraction.. THOUSAND OAKS: SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC.

  • Koehbach, Johannes, Stockner, Thomas, Bergmayr, Christian, Muttenthaler, Markus and Gruber, Christian W. (2013). Insights into the molecular evolution of oxytocin receptor ligand binding. London, United Kingdom: Portland Press. 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. Conference on Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, and Environmental Monitoring III, Baltimore, United States, Apr 29-May 01, 2013. Bellingham, WA, United States: S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering. 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. unknown, unknown, unknown. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/psc.2447

  • Koehbach, Johannes, Muttenthaler, Markus, Gründemann, Carsten and Gruber, Christian W (2012). Pharmacological applications of natural peptide libraries. 18th Scientific Symposium of the Austrian Pharmacological Society (APHAR), Graz, Austria, 20-21 September, 2012. London, United Kingdom: Springer Nature. doi: 10.1186/2050-6511-13-s1-a31

  • 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. 32nd European Peptide Symposium "Peptides 2012", Athens, Greece, 02-07 September 2012. West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley and Sons. 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?. 22nd American Peptide Symposium, San Diego, CA, United States, 25-30 June 2011. Hoboken, NJ, United States: John Wiley & Sons.

  • 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. 31st European Peptide Symposium, Copenhagen, Denmark, 5-9 September 2010. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons. 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. 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. 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. 29th European Peptide Symposium, Gdansk, Poland, 3-8 September 2006. Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/psc.796

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

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.