Dr Peter Duggan

Dr Peter Duggan, Research Group Leader – Organic Chemistry

Dr Peter Duggan: design and synthesis of non-natural amino acids, peptides and peptidomimetics

Dr Peter Duggan’s research is concerned with the design and synthesis of non-natural amino acids, peptides and peptidomimetics for use in biological applications.

  • 25 January 2008 | Updated 15 January 2014

Current activities

Dr Peter Duggan is Research Group Leader – Organic Chemistry.

Carbohydrate recognition with artificial lectins

We were one of the first groups to report the selective carbohydrate recognition of peptide boronic acids.

These non-natural peptides combine the multiple, weak interactions used by natural lectins to bind carbohydrates with the rapid and reversible diol-binding properties of boronic acids.

here are many potential biological applications of these unique synthetic peptides – known as boronolectins.

Natural, environmentally benign insecticides - Botanical Resources Australia

Botanical Resources Australia Pty Ltd (BRA) is the Australian producer of over 60 per cent of the world’s pyrethrum, the botanical insecticide, and operates the most high-tech pyrethrum industry in the world.

While the BRA process is very efficient and state-of-the-art, there is still room for improvement.

We are working with the company to further improve productivity at various stages of the production process.

Bioactive peptide mimics

Many peptides have been found to have beneficial biological properties, however their use is limited because of their high water solubility and susceptibility to proteolytic degradation. 

There is much interest in developing low molecular weight organic compounds that mimic the biological properties of peptides but are less water soluble and more resistant to degradation. 

The potential applications areas we are currently investigating include neuropathic pain and cancer.

In these projects we collaborate with:

  • Monash University
  • Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queenslan
  • Health Innovations Research Institute, RMIT University.


Dr Duggan has recently begun a project in CSIRO’s new Biosecurity Flagship aimed at targeting CSIRO’s proprietary siRNA delivery agents to particular tissue types and infected cells.

Dr Duggan moved to CSIRO in 2004 after a decade as a teaching and research academic in university chemistry departments, initially at James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, then at Monash University, where he was Senior Lecturer.

Prior to these academic appointments, Dr Duggan held post doctoral positions at Columbia University, New York and Cambridge University.

Academic qualifications

Dr Duggan has been awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Science with Honours in 1985
  • Doctor of Philosophy in 1990.


Dr Duggan has co-authored more than 75 scientific publications.

He is also:

  • a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)
  • Associate Editor and Expert Assessor, Australian Journal of Chemistry
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Flinders University.

Dr Duggan has also been very active in the RACI, Chairing or helping to run National Divisional Conferences, National Conventions, and symposia at Pacifichem in Hawaii.

He was also inaugural Secretary of the Victorian Bioactive Discovery and Development Group.

Find out more about the work of Biosecurity Flagship.