Andrew graduated from the University of Adelaide with BSc(Hon) and PhD and then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge. He held a professorship at the University of Canterbury before returning to the University of Adelaide in 2007, where he is currently Professor of Chemistry and node director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics. His research interests are concerned with understanding the fundamental link between the chemical structure and shape of key biological molecules and their biological function. While his work is very much driven by fundamental science, he has always had a keen interest in pursuing associated commercial opportunities. The seed for this was sown with a sabbatical leave working as a visiting scientist, consultant and senior Fulbright Fellow with SmithKline Beecham (now GSK) in Philadelphia. In Adelaide he co-founded an Adelaide-based company (Calpain Therapeutics) to develop macrocyclic protease inhibitors as a potential treatment for cataract and other conditions. Past member of ARC College of Experts and Head of School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Adelaide and also recent recipient of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Adrien Albert Prize and the Alexander R. Matzuk Prize and Lecture in Drug Discovery (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston).
Most of the known functions of alkaloids are related to protection. For example, aporphine alkaloid liriodenine produced by the tulip tree protects it from parasitic mushrooms. In addition, the presence of alkaloids in the plant prevents insects and chordate animals from eating it. However, some animals are adapted to alkaloids and even use them in their own metabolism.  Such alkaloid-related substances as serotonin , dopamine and histamine are important neurotransmitters in animals. Alkaloids are also known to regulate plant growth.  Another example of an organism that uses alkaloids for protection is the Utetheisa ornatrix , more commonly known as the ornate moth. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids render these larvae and adult moths unpalatable to many of their natural enemies like coccinelid beetles, green lacewings, insectivorous hemiptera and insectivorous bats. 
Life Science > Nutrition Research > Learning Center > Plant Profiler > Ginger ( Zingiber officinale )