Daniel Hoyer laboratory

Research Overview

The Translational Neuropharmacology Laboratory was established in the then Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2013. We are located in the West Wing on the eighth floor of the Medical Building (B181) on the Parkville Campus and have another lab, established in 2016, as the Sleep and Cognition Laboratory on the 6th floor of the Florey Building, under the leadership of Assoc Prof Laura Jacobson, where we investigate sleep and behaviour.

Professor Hoyer moved to Melbourne at the end of 2012 to become Head and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Hoyer completed his PhD in Pharmacology at the Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg in 1981 and conducted his postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, with his early research focusing on adrenoceptor and serotonin receptor pharmacology. Since then, Prof Hoyer has characterized a large number of peptide receptors, ligand gated channels, and monoamine receptors. Prof Hoyer has over 30 years of experience in drug discovery and development in both academia and industry, with positions in pharmaceutical companies such as Sandoz and Novartis or academic Institutions (Scripps Research Institute, San Diego).

Research Support: Prof Hoyer has received approximately $4 million in NHMRC funding in the past 5 years, coupled with approximately $1 million in various other grants in the past two decades.

Contribution to Field of Research:  Over 390 publications, Citations Google Scholar: >35,400; H factor: >89 and 6 patents document Prof Hoyer's interests in a wide variety of therapeutic targets such as sleep disorders, epilepsy, migraine, schizophrenia, anxiety / depression, bipolar disorders, panic, post-traumatic stress disorder, neurological disorders (PD/MS/ALS/HD/fragile X), irritable bowel syndrome, acromegaly, hypertension, gastroenteropancreatic and other tumours. Prof Hoyer has also contributed to the development of six patents regarding drug discovery and development, three of which have focused on the treatment of depression and other mood disorders. He also had a pivotal role in the establishment of BioCurate Pty Ltd, or Project Mercury, a collaboration between Monash University and University of Melbourne.

His contribution to the field of research has been recognized by The Australian, which named him the Top Cited Researcher in Pharmacology and Pharmacy in Australia, as well as many other awards, prizes and distinctions. Hoyer is a 2019 and 2020 highly cited researcher.

Collaborations: Across the span of his career, Prof Hoyer has been responsible for extensive cross disciplinary internal and external interactions and collaborations. This may be exemplified by his role of the Core Management Team in Neuroscience Research, NIBR Basel, where he was in charge of external collaborations with Maryland Psychiatric Research Centre, the Genomic Institute of the Novartis Foundation, and the Scripps Research Institute. His recent collaborations include with researchers from the UK, Switzerland, Malaysia, Canada, and the USA.

Professional Involvement: Prof Hoyer currently acts as a professor and chair of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, in the Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology the University of Melbourne, honorary professorial fellow at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, and adjunct professor at the Scripps Research Institute. He also currently acts as a member of the French Academy of Pharmacy, is a director of ASCEPT, member of the Australasian Society for Neurosciences, member of the Australian Sleep Association, and various other international societies and institutes in the past.

International Standing

Supervision/Mentoring: Prof Hoyer cultivates a culture of collaboration and mentoring in the Hoyer Lab. To date, he has supervised to completion 26 Honours students, 34 Postdoctoral Research Fellows, 7 Masters students, and over 75 PhD students.

Peer Review Involvement:  Prof Hoyer has acted as an editorial board member for 9 journals, including Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the British Journal of Pharmacology, Autonomic and Autacoid Pharmacology, Current Drugs, Current Psychiatry Reviews, the Journal of Receptor and Signal Transduction Research, Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology, Current Opinion in Pharmacology, and the European Journal of Pharmacology. He has previously acted as the chief editor of the British Journal of Pharmacology and is currently acting as the chief editor of Medicine in Drug Discovery. He has acted as an associate editor for 8 journals, including Drug Discovery Today, Current Opinion in Pharmacology, the British Journal of Pharmacology, Neuropharmacology, Psychopharmacology, the Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology, Naunyn Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology, and the European Journal of Pharmacology.

Research Interests

The Hoyer / Jacobson Laboratory is currently working on neuropeptide and monoamine receptors-ligand interactions, with an emphasis on orexin, in health and disease, especially insomnia, Alzheimer's disease, depression and other Neuropsychiatric disorders. However, we have a broad range of research interests on which we aim to develop projects in the future.

These include:

  • G protein coupled-receptor biased signalling / pathway selection
  • Mechanisms of action of neuropsychopharmacological agents, including psychedelics in depression, PTSD and substance use disorders
  • Molecular mechanisms of neuropeptide release
  • Orexin and 5-HT receptor pharmacology
  • Decision making

We have expertise in both neuroscience and pharmacology and members of our group specialise in the following techniques and areas:

  • In vitro pharmacological assays
  • Receptor distribution / target engagement
  • RNAi
  • Models of neurodegeneration
  • In vivo neuroscience techniques including stereotaxic surgery, behavioural testing
  • Sleep EEG
  • Gene expression profiling
  • Proteomics
  • PET and other imaging approaches
  • Radiotherapy
  • Electrophysiology
  • Disease biomarkers

If you are a student or potential collaborator who has common interests in any of the above-mentioned research areas, don't hesitate to contact Professor Hoyer (d.hoyer@unimelb.edu.au) or Associate Professor Laura Jacobson (laura.jacobson@florey.edu.au)


Assoc Prof Laura Jacobson, co-lab head
Heather Daykin, Research Assistant
Dr. Simon McKenzie Nixon, Post Doc
Dr. Ryan Keenan, Post Doc
Dr. Jacob Clark, Post Doc
Jeremy Metha, PhD student
Katherine Hopkins, master student
Jiahui Chu, master student
Yijun Ji, Honors student
Kyra Clarke, visiting / exchange student

photo of Professor Hoyer's lab group 2017



BioCurate is a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Monash University, supported by the Victorian State Government. Its founders are Australia’s two leading biomedical universities both located in Melbourne. Together these Universities are placed in the world’s top 10 in the therapeutic areas of immunology, oncology, paediatrics, neurosciences, and infectious diseases.

BioCurate is a venture catalyst, a new model that is consistent with emerging leading-edge global practice. The company’s key focus and objective is to translate drug discoveries to a form which attracts investors or other commercialisation partners. This will be done through the provision of independent specialist expertise in drug development and commercialization, and the required funding targeted specifically at this critical phase.  BioCurate will work across different therapeutic modalities including small molecules, biologics and antibodies.

Learn more about the commissioning of BioCurate.

Individual Collaborators

Assoc Prof Akhter Hossain, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental
Health, University of Melbourne
Professor Clive May, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental
Health, University of Melbourne
Professor Chris Reid, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental
Health, University of Melbourne
Professor Andrew Lawrence, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental
Health, University of Melbourne
Professor Brian Dean, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health,
University of Melbourne
Professor Ross Bathgate, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and
Mental Health, University of Melbourne
Professor Kevin Pfleger, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, UWA, Perth  
Dr. Dan Abrams, Cerebral Therapeutics, Boulder CO, USA
Professor Jane Gunn, Dean, MDHS
Dr Jon Mangum, DBP, MDHS
Dr Mark Habgood, DBP, MDHS
Professor Nick Barnes, Pharmacology, University of Birmingham
Professor Luis de Lecea, Psychiatry, Stanford University, Palo Alto
Professor Nigel Bunnett, Columbia University, New York
Professor Bill Charman, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Professor Arthur Christopoulos, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Parkville
Cameron Knowles, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Parkville
Dr Romke Bron, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Parkville
Professor Shantha Rajaratnam, Monash School of Psychological Sciences,
Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Clayton
Professor Sean Drummond, Monash School of Psychological Sciences,
Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Clayton
Professor John Cryan, University College, Cork
Dr Claudia Betschart, Dr Samuel Hinterman, Professor Herbert Schmid, Dr Dominik Feuerbach, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Basel
Professor Paul Kenny, Mt Sinai, New York
Professor George Koob, NIH, NIAAA, Bethesda
Professor Markus Fendt, Center of Behavioral Brain Sciences, Otto-von-
Guericke University Magdeburg
Professor Peter Luc Bossaerts, Prof. Carsten Murawski, Dr. Elisabeth Bowman,
Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne
Assist Prof Shane Liddelow, Langone center,  New York University, NY, USA
Assist Prof Sam Barnes,  University of California San Diego, CA, USA
Assoc Prof Jeremy Borniger, Cold Spring Harbour Laboratories, USA
Professor John Haisken-Denew, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne
Dr Sonja Kassenboehmer, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, Clayton
Dr. GianCarlo Alloca, Somnivore Ltd, Melbourne
Professor Jerome Sarris, Professorial Unit, The Melbourne Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne
Professor David Castle, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne,
Dr. Daniel Perkins, School of Social and Political Science, University of Melbourne,
Professor Olivia Carter, Melbourne School of Psychological Science, The University of Melbourne


  • University of Melbourne: 2014. R@MAP funding. Pharmacodynamic Biomarker Leader “ P Waring, D Hoyer, A Burgess, J Bishop, P Gleeson.
  • University of Melbourne: 2015-2018. Hallmark initiative: Therapeutic technologies Research Initiative. AG Stewart, P Lee, A O'Connor, P Pivonka, M Pera, M Munsie, D Hoyer, S Williams, L Tilley, H Jousett, G Dusting, P Jensen.
  • RACGP foundation: 2016. The STOP study: Sensible Timely OPtions for reducing inappropriate antidepressant use in general practice.  J. Gunn, S. Fletcher, C. Oties, D. Hoyer.
  • NHMRC large equipment grant: 2016:  D. Hoyer, G. Mackay.
  • Alzheimer's Association USA NIRG-396905: 2016-2017.  Tau and orexin interactions in sleep and cognition in Alzheimer's disease. Jacobson L, Villemagne V, Barnham K, Lawrence A, Hoyer D.
  • NHMRC: 2016-2018. APP1105332. A Breakdown of Cortical Homeostasis in Depression: A Focus on the Anterior Cingulate. Dean B, Scarr E, Hoyer D.
  • NHMRC: 2016-2019. APP1105284. Determining the contribution of orexin receptor subtypes to sleep architecture. Hoyer D, Jacobson L, De Lecea L.
  • NHMRC: 2019-2023. APP1157337. STOPS: A randomised trial of a STructured Online intervention to Promote and Support antidepressant de-prescribing in primary care.  JA Gunn, S Fletcher, C NG, T Chen, P Chondros, D Mangin, D Hoyer.
  • NHMRC: 2021-2023. APP20033770. Narcolepsy with cataplexy: a brain orexin replacement strategy. D Hoyer, D Abrams, C May, A Hossain, J Mangum, M Habgood.

Research Outcomes

Publications    390
Citations Google Scholar  35,200
H index    89
i10 index    274
International Presentations  225 (Invited)
Patents    6

  1. Troxler, Thomas J.; Hurth, Konstanze; Hoyer, Daniel.  Beta-carboline derivatives and its pharmaceutical use against depression and anxiety. PCT Int. Appl.  (2002),  19 pp.  CODEN: PIXXD2 WO-2002081471 A1  20021017  CAN 137:295142  AN 2002:793624    CAPLUS
  2. Troxler Thomas J.; Hurth Konstanze; Hoyer Daniel.  Beta-carboline derivatives and its pharmaceutical use against depression and anxiety, KR-00564840
  3. Troxler, Thomas J.; Hoyer, Daniel.  Piperazine derivatives having sst1 antagonistic activity. PCT Int. Appl.  (2003), 21 pp.  CODEN: PIXXD2 WO-2003040125  A1  20030515  CAN 138:368918  AN 2003:376846
  4. Hoyer, Daniel; Hurth, Konstanze; Troxler, Thomas J.   Substituted piperidine derivatives as somatostatin SST1 receptor antagonists. PCT Int. Appl.  (2007),  36pp.  CODEN: PIXXD2 WO 2007009662  A1  20070125  CAN 146:184490  AN 2007:87130    CAPLUS
  5. Hoyer, Daniel; Maier, Rainer; Barr, Alasdair; Bilbe, Graeme; Conti, Bruno; Sanna, Pietro, P.; Lu, Xiaoying; Bartfai, Tamas; Morale, Maria Concetta. Targets for depression and bipolar disorders. PCT Int. Appl.  (2007), 108pp.  CODEN: PIXXD2 WO-2007106685  A2  20070920  CAN 147:336376  AN 2007:1064549    CAPLUS.
  6. Johns, Donald; Kalkman, Hans O.; Hoyer, Daniel; Mcallister, Kevin Hall; Bilbe, Graeme; Gomez-Mancilla, Baltazar. Combinations for the treatment of migraine.    PCT Int. Appl.  (2010),     23pp.  CODEN: PIXXD2  WO  2010046399  A1  20100429  CAN 152:510111  AN 2010:529331    CAPLUS WO-2010046399



Research Publications

Click here for the results of a PubMed search of Professor Hoyer's publications.

Click here for the results of a Google Scholar analysis of Justine's publications.

Professor Hoyer - see comprehensive list of publications

  1. Jacob W. Clark, Heather Daykin, Jeremy Metha, Daniel Hoyer, Sean P.A. Drummond, & Laura H. Jacobson. REM sleep modulation influences fear inhibition following circadian disruption in mice, Sleep, in press
  2. Daniel Perkins, Jerome Sarris, Susan Rossell, Yvonne Bonomo, David Forbes, Christopher Davey, Daniel Hoyer, Colleen Loo, Greg Murray, Sean Hood, Violeta Schubert, Nicole Leite Galvão-Coelho, Meaghen O'Donnell, Olivia Carter, Margaret Ross, Paul Liknaitzky, Martin Williams, Dan Siskind, David Penington, Michael Berk, David Castle.  Medicinal psychedelics for mental health and addiction: Advancing research of an emerging paradigm. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, in press
  3. Oberrauch, S., Metha, J.A., Brian, M.L., Barnes, S.A., Featherby, T.J., Lawrence, A.J., Hoyer, D., Murawski, C., Jacobsen, L. Reward motivation and cognitive flexibility in tau null-mutation mice. Neurobiology of Aging, 2021, 100:106-117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.12.017
  4. Hoyer D (2021) Serotonin receptors and systems. In: Encyclopedic Reference of Molecular Pharmacology. Editors: S. Offermanns, W. Rosenthal, Ed. Springer Verlag, on-line version. in press
  5. Keenan, R. J., Oberrauch, S., Bron, R., Nowell, C. J., Challis, L. M., Hoyer, D., & Jacobson, L. H. (2021). Decreased Orexin Receptor 1 mRNA Expression in the Locus Coeruleus in Both Tau Transgenic rTg4510 and Tau Knockout Mice and Accompanying Ascending Arousal System Tau Invasion in rTg4510. Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD, 79(2), 693-708. doi:10.3233/jad-201177
  6. Barnes NM, Ahern GP, Becamel C, Bockaert J, Camilleri M, Chaumont-Dubel S, Claeysen S, Cunningham KA, Fone KC, Gershon M, Di Giovanni G, Goodfellow NM, Halberstadt A, Hartley RM, Hassaine G, Herrick-Davis K, Hovius R, Klein MT, Lacivita E, Lambe EK, Leopoldo M, Levy FO, Lummis S, Marin P, Maroteaux L, McCreary AC, Nelson D, Neumaier JF, Newman-Tancredi A, Nury H, Roberts AR, Roth B, Roumier A, Sanger G, Teitler M, Sharp T, Villalón CM, Vogel H, Watts S, Hoyer D (2021) International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. CX. Classification of Receptors for 5-hydroxytryptamine; Pharmacology and Function. Pharmacol Reviews, 73: 310-520. doi:10.1124/pr.118.015552
  7. Hoyer D. (2020), Targeting the 5-HT system: potential side effects. Neuropharmacology, 179: 108233,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108233
  8. Clark JW, Hoyer D, Cain SW, Phillips AJK, Drummond SPA, Jacobson LH. (2020) Circadian disruption impairs fear extinction and memory of conditioned safety in mice, Behavioural Brain Research, 393, 112788,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112788
  9. Clark JW, Brian M, Drummond SPA, Hoyer D,  Jacobson LH. (2020) The influence of orexin receptor antagonism on human physiological sleep architecture: A systematic review.  Sleep Medicine Reviews, 53, 101332  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2020.101332.
  10. Gibbons AS, Hoyer D, Dean B. SMAD4 protein is decreased in the dorsolateral prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices in schizophrenia (2020) The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 1-22, doi.org/10.1080/15622975.2020.1733081
  11. Mengod G, Cortés R, Vilaro MT and Hoyer D. Distribution of 5-HT receptors in the central nervous system. In: Mueller C, Cunningham KA (eds). Handbook of the Behavioral Neurobiology of Serotonin. Academic Press / Elsevier, 2020, 31: 121-146 https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-64125-0.00006-2
  12. Metha J, M Brian, S Oberrauch, SA Barnes, T Featherby, P Bossaerts, C Murawski, D Hoyer, LH Jacobson. Separating probability and reversal learning in a novel Probabilistic Reversal Learning task for mice. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2020, 13, 270 doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00270
  13. Hoyer D, Allen A, Jacobson LH. Hypnotics with novel modes of action. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2020:  86 (2), 244-249doi: 10.1111/bcp.14180. PMID: 31756268

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Therapeutics & Translation

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory Professor Daniel Hoyer

Department / Centre

Biochemistry and Pharmacology

Unit / Centre

Daniel Hoyer laboratory

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