Hoyer laboratory: Translational neuroscience

Research Overview

The Translational Neuropharmacology Laboratory was established in the 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 on the 6th floor of the Florey building where we investigate sleep.

Professor Hoyer moved to Melbourne at the end of 2012 to become Head and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Prof 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 Professor Hoyer has characterised a large number of peptide receptors, ligand gated-channels, and monoamine receptors. Professor 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 (The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego).

Over 340 publications, Citations Google Scholar: >27,500; H factor: >83  and 5 patents document his 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.

Research Interests

The Translational Neuropharmacology 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
  • Molecular mechanisms of neuropeptide release
  • Orexin and 5-HT receptor pharmacology

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 or techniques, please don't hesitate to contact Professor Hoyer.


Heather Daykin, Research Assistant
Maddi Brian, Masters Student
Sui Chen, Masters Student
Sanjida Mir, Masters Student
Dr Svenja Pachernegg,  visiting scientist

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

Professor Steve Petrou, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health,  University of Melbourne
Dr Laura Jacobson, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne
Professor Andrew Lawrence, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Professor Brian Dean, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor. Ross Bathgate, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Dr Jack Allocca,  Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Professor Jane Gunn, Department of General Practice, MDHS
Dr Jon Mangum, P&T, MDHS
Professor Nick Barnes,  University of Birmingham
Professor Luis de Lecea, Stanford University, Palo Alto
Professor Nigel Bunnett, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Columbia University, New York
Professor Bill Charman, 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, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Basel
Dr Samuel Hinterman, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Basel
Dr Chris Gee, Center for Molecular Neuroscience, Uni Hamburg
Professor Herbert Schmid, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Basel
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, Dr. Carsten Murawski, Dr. Elisabeth Bowman, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne
Dr Tony Velkov,  Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Parkville

Research Outcomes

  • 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.
  • NHMRC: 2016-2019. APP1105284. Determining the contribution of orexin receptor subtypes to sleep architecture. Hoyer D, Jacobson L, De Lecea L.
  • NHMRC: 2016-2018. APP1105332. A Breakdown of Cortical Homeostasis in Depression: A Focus on the Anterior Cingulate. Dean B, Scarr E, Hoyer D.
  • Alzheimer’s Association USA: 2016-2017.  Tau and orexin interactions in sleep and cognition in Alzheimer’s disease. Jacobson L, Villemagne V, Barnham K, Lawrence A, Hoyer D.
  • RACGP foundation: 2016. The STOP study: Sensible Timely OPtions for reducing inappropriate antidepressant use in general practice.  CI: J. Gunn, S. Fletcher, C. Oties, D. Hoyer.

Research Publications

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory
Head of Department
Deputy Head, School of Biomedical Sciences Professor Daniel Hoyer

Department / Centre

Biochemistry and Pharmacology

Unit / Centre

Hoyer laboratory: Translational neuroscience

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.