The centre is comprised of a multidisciplinary team with scientific expertise in a broad range of research areas including natural products, molecular pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, cell & molecular biology, and formulation & drug delivery. 

The strength of the team revolves around the diverse research background of its members, hence bridging the gaps existing in drug discovery research to identify lead molecules, accelerating the development of new drug candidates against complex and challenging drug targets prior to clinical trials.  

Current research interests of CDDMP focus on the interface between chemistry and biology with a key goal to discover potent drug candidates with high potential for industry uptake and clinical translation by identification of novel therapeutic targets and delivery mechanisms for the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.


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Taylor's student pouring orange liquid into measuring cylinder


  • To discover new natural products-based chemical leads and drug candidates through advanced chemical, spectroscopic, computational and biological methods in pre-clinical studies based on molecular targets and mechanisms.

  • To develop innovative drug delivery and molecular design strategies for targeting infectious and non-infectious diseases.

  • To optimize the process of disease diagnosis and treatment, and improving the yield and affordability of protein drugs/diagnostic kits.
  • To provide professional development opportunities for researchers and students in the areas of drug discovery.

  • To build relationships with industry and community  and  to aid in obtaining research grants and other external support.

  • To establish a highly diverse natural products and synthetic component library/repository.


Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry

The Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry group of CDDMP aims to design and discover novel small molecules with potentially therapeutic properties. To generate the lead compounds our group leverages the molecular diversity of natural products from sources such as plants, bacteria, fungi, and marine organisms. By extracting and isolating the phytoconstituents responsible for bioactivity in these natural products, unique compounds that are not limited by the preconceptions and biases of the chemist can be discovered. These compounds can then serve as an excellent starting point for the generation of new series of analogues in the drug discovery process. 

To achieve this, we employ a rational approach to drug design that utilizes computational methods to complement organic synthesis efforts. These may include computational simulations of the target of interest to gain a better understanding of its structure and function, or simulations to predict the binding affinity of newly designed compounds. Various organic synthesis approaches are then used to explore the structure-activity relationships of compounds of interest and to optimize their bioactivity before they are channelled to pre-clinical studies.

Molecular Pharmacology

Molecular Pharmacology involves the application of innovative research that provides new insights into molecular mechanisms relevant to pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences and drug discovery across therapeutic modalities. This includes structural biology, biochemistry, biophysics, physiology, genetics and molecular biology to basic pharmacological problems that provide mechanistic understandings within the drug discovery and development world. Examples include studies of drug-receptor interactions, the impact of receptor function on cell or system physiology and signalling systems, drug delivery and metabolism, pharmacogenomics, molecular mechanisms underlying disease and many others.

Cell and Molecular Biology

Cell and Molecular Biology involves the fields of research in chemistry and biology to understand life and cellular processes at the molecular level. It integrates molecular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, enzymology, physiology and biotechnology in a dynamic cell and tissue biology environment, applied to human, animals, plants tissues as well to microbial and viral cells. Cell and molecular biology research seek to understand the function of genes and signal transduction pathways. The areas of research include studies on the molecular basis of cancer and infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and other non-communicable diseases for potential therapeutic treatments.

Formulation and Drug Delivery

A rational design of drug formulation is necessary to deliver therapeutic agents to the site of action with minimal side effects. Therefore, the focus of the Formulation and Drug Delivery group is to develop novel/advanced drug delivery systems to deliver therapeutic agents in a controlled and targeted manner for different disease conditions. This group also emphasizes on drug delivery via different routes of administration and for different therapeutic targets to deliver the drug moieties across biological barriers.