Many currently available pharmaceuticals are derived from bioactive plant compounds that serve a variety of ecological roles. For example, plants use chemicals to suppress competitors, deter herbivores, attract pollinators, and even to regulate their own microclimate. An ecological understanding of these phenomena can help direct investigation of plants and compounds that are more likely to prove pharmacologically useful.
We will focus our research on arid zone plant families from Outback Australia. These plant groups are not the focus of any other drug discovery research group, yet they are known to be highly prospective for bioactive materials because of the harsh environment they live in.