Professor Daniel Hoyer recognised for his contributions to serotonin research

Professor Daniel Hoyer, Chair and Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, was awarded the Maurice Rapport Prize and delivered the Rapport Plenary Lecture at the 2016 International Society of Serotonin Research (ISSR) Meeting.

Professor Daniel Hoyer

Established in 1987, the ISSR (previously known as the Serotonin Club, with up to 700 members) is an association for biomedical scientists interested in serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) research, which holds biennial meetings for its world-wide membership. Professor Hoyer was a founding member of the society and acted as president in 2002–2004.

At this year’s ISSR meeting held in Seattle, Professor Hoyer was invited to present his lecture ‘5-HT receptor nomenclature: Naming names, does it matter?’ in recognition of his much-cited research on novel 5-HT receptors, development of new 5-HT receptor agonists and antagonists and contribution to the serotonin receptor nomenclature system in association with IUPHAR, the International Union of Pharmacology. Professor Hoyer was a founding member of the IUPHAR Serotonin Receptor Nomenclature Committee and is presently co-chair.

Before joining the University of Melbourne in 2012, Professor Hoyer had a long and distinguished career in academia and industry: after his PhD and DSc from Strasbourg University and a post doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, he joined the multinational pharmaceutical company Sandoz, then Novartis in Basel. He is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemical Physiology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

In his current role at the University of Melbourne, Professor Hoyer – in collaboration with Monash University’s Professor William Charman– led the establishment of Project Mercury, a historic $80 million partnership between the two universities and the Victorian state government to accelerate translational research, drug development and commercialisation. The joint venture, BioCurate Pty Ltd, was incorporated on 10 August 2016, under the chairmanship of the Hon. John Brumby, former Premier of Victoria.

Professor Hoyer also formalised the establishment of the Lung Health Research Centre in 2013, to study and treat lung diseases in collaboration with Royal Melbourne Hospital, Departments of Physiotherapy and Nursing and industry partners. He has restructured the Australian Venom Research Unit (AVRU), focusing on pre-clinical and clinical snake venom research, education and engagement. In addition, he supported the completion of clinical phase I/II studies of a taipan anti-venom in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

He provides support for two biotechnology initiatives – Incisive Technologies and Dental Technology Holdings Pty Ltd – that were incorporated in 2013 by Dr Jon Mangum as part of the translational research platform working on paediatric orofacial conditions with the Departments of Paediatrics and Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery, Royal Children’s Hospital.

Professor Hoyer is on the board of the University of Melbourne’s Hallmark Therapeutic Technologies Research Initiative, which works with multi-disciplinary teams across the university and external partners to perform mechanistic and discovery studies requiring phenotypic screening in 3D chronic disease models.