The UQ Node of the National Imaging facility has recently helped a scientific breakthrough in the field of venom research. The 3D image of a fang blenny reef fish was produced at the Centre for Advanced Imaging using the Siemens micro CT scanner. It was part of an international study led by Professor Bryan Fry from UQ school of Biological sciences involving, Leiden University in Netherlands, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in UK, Monash University and the University of Queensland in Australia. The study was recently published in Current Biology.
The team of scientists confirm that one group of fang blenny have venom glands that contain enkephalins, an opioid hormone that works by targeting the same molecules as synthetic opioid painkillers. According to Fry, the venoms of these species may serve as a novel source of painkillers. Currently prescribed opioids have led to an epidemic of addiction, so doctors and scientists are keen to find alternatives.
You can find more about this discovery through the following online articles by New Scientists, BBC, Science, National Public Radio (NPR), New York Times, and more!
Collaborators: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK; Leiden University, The Netherlands; The University of Queensland, Australia; Monash University, Australia; University of Karachi, Pakistan; Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands; Bangor University, UK; Anglia Ruskin University, UK