Royal Society of NSW Liversidge Lecture

Drug Discovery Inspired by Natural Products

Professor Richard J. Payne recipient of the Liversidge Lecture 2020, discusses how the use of natural products will continue to provide inspiration for the development of drugs to treat human disease.

Over the past decade, enormous advances in analytical chemistry, genomics and proteomics have underpinned the rapid discovery of new classes of natural products that serve as excellent starting points for drug discovery programs. This talk will outline strategies that we have used to capitalize on the privileged chemical structures and bioactivity of natural products for the discovery of new drug leads for a range of human diseases. Examples will include the use of venoms from the funnel web spider for stroke therapy, salivary proteins from blood feeding ticks, flies and mosquitoes as inspiration for clot busting drugs, and the modification of molecules produced by soil dwelling bacteria as novel antibiotics. The final part of the lecture will highlight the use of mRNA display technologies to discover natural product-inspired molecules that have been used to develop diagnostics and antivirals for SARS-CoV-2. Plus Q&A.

Drinks and canapés following lecture.

This event is jointly presented by the University of Sydney and the Royal Society of NSW.

Professor Richard J Payne


Professor Richard J. Payne

Richard J. Payne received his PhD at the University of Cambridge (Gates Scholar) and following this was a Lindemann Postdoctoral Fellow at the Scripps Research Institute. In 2008, he was recruited to the University of Sydney as a Lecturer within the School of Chemistry. Since 2015 has held the position as Professor of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology and since 2020 has been an NHMRC Investigator (Leadership) and Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science. Prof. Payne’s research focuses on development of new methods to access complex biomolecules with a view to addressing important problems in biology and medicine.

The Liversidge Lecture

The Royal Society of NSW and the University of Sydney are pleased to present the Society’s biennial Liversidge Lecture which is awarded for the purpose of encouragement of research in Chemistry. It was established under the terms of a bequest to the Society by Professor Archibald Liversidge MA LLD FRS, who was Professor of Chemistry in the University of Sydney from 1874 to 1907 and was one of the Council members who sponsored the Society's Act of Incorporation in 1881.

This event is jointly presented by the University of Sydney and the Royal Society of NSW.