Christina I. Schroeder, Ph.D.

Stadtman Investigator

Chemical Biology Laboratory


Building 538, Room 242 Frederick, MD 21702-1201

301-228-4408 , 301-

Research Topics

Theme 1 – Discovery and characterisation of novel peptide probes for therapeutically relevant ion channels

The main focus of my laboratory is to identify and develop novel ligands acting on ion channels upregulated in cancer. Modulation of cancer-related ion channels via novel ligands allows us to delineate the importance of these ion channels in cancer progression, metastasis and prognosis. Bioactive peptides have been instrumental in studying the pharmacology of ion channels due to their high potency and subtype selectivity. We screen crude venoms and marine natural product extracts from the NIH natural products repository for activity at cancer-related ion channels to rapidly identify and deconvolute novel bioactive peptides and we are establishing a protein fragment complementation assay to develop intracellular inhibitors. Using peptide chemistry and recombinant methodology, we produce the novel inhibitors for further pharmacological and structural evaluation, allowing us to gain insights into binding events and modulation of ion channel pharmacology and we are developing novel synthetic ligation and functionalization methodology compatible with disulfide-rich peptides. With the powerful combination of traditional and innovative screening platforms, we aim to deliver novel constrained peptide-ligands poised for further peptide engineering to explore and deliver peptides with improved physicochemical properties with applications as pharmacological tools and diagnostics targeting ion channels important in cancer.

Theme 2 – Constrained peptide and protein engineering

We are also interested in developing facile synthetic routes in order to access complex and constrained venom-derived disulfide-rich peptides and macrocyclic peptides for the development of pharmacological and diagnostic ion channel tools, development of fluorescent probes, and development of bi- and multivalent ligands. We are particularly interested in novel macrocyclic cyclisation strategies; enzymatic and chemical ligation strategies of large and complex bivalent peptides; and orthogonal folding strategies for complex disulfide-rich peptides. By exploring these areas of research, we can accelerate constrained peptide engineering and peptide-based drug design by rapidly producing complex peptides with high yield and purity.


Dr. Schroeder holds a M.Sc. in Chemistry from University of Kalmar, Sweden, a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Queensland, Australia under the supervision of Prof. Richard Lewis, and a Graduate Certificate in Research Management from Southern Cross University, Australia. She has carried out postdoctoral training at Scripps Research Institute with Prof. Philip Dawson, the University of Queensland with Prof. Richard Lewis and Prof. David Craik, and the University of New South Wales, Australia with Prof. Philip Hogg. She started her independent research career at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience in 2014, focusing her research on biodiscovery and peptide engineering of venom-derived bioactive peptides for the development of novel peptide-based drug leads for diseases including pain and cancer. She joined CCR in 2020 as a Stadtman Investigator and holds an adjunct Associate Professor position at the University of Queensland.

This page was last updated on August 25th, 2021