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Carboranes as unique boron frameworks in medicinal chemistry


Boron-based drugs are increasingly being investigated in many disease categories, with numerous pharmaceutical companies (e.g. GSK, Anacor, and Takeda) dramatically expanding their boron research programs in recent years in the quest for novel drug candidates, e.g. Velcade® (bortezomib) which is used in the treatment of multiple myeloma.  Almost all boron drugs investigated to date, however, are based upon boronic acids and boronate esters. In contrast, polyhedral boron clusters known as carboranes have rarely been exploited as new types of robust, structural frameworks in medicinal chemistry, and their use as enzyme inhibitors or receptor antagonists is largely underdeveloped. We are currently investigating the use of carboranes as unique frameworks in new drugs for the diagnosis and treatment of aggressive and intractable cancers such as malignant gliomas and as CNS-modifying agents. Biological studies may also be incorporated into the project, depending upon the student’s own interests and background.


Professor Louis Rendina.

Research location

School of Chemistry

Program type



Our research group has a strong interest in the medicinal chemistry of p-block (e.g. boron) and f-block (e.g. gadolinium) elements, with an emphasis on new drug design for the treatment of intractable and aggressive cancers, particularly those of the brain. In recent years, we have made considerable advances in the design and development of medicinal agents for neutron and X-ray photon applications. This project would ideally suit those students who have an interest in medicinal chemistry and synthetic inorganic/organic chemistry.

Additional information

Graduate scholarships are available for high quality students. All local students in the Rendina laboratory are supported by an Australian or University Postgraduate Award, and International students are supported by other scholarships.  Please contact A/Prof. Rendina for further details.
HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1499

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