Dr Wilson obtained his undergraduate degree in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Melbourne, with Honours in physical chemisty. He then completed a PhD at The University of Queensland in 2001 on ‘The identification and characterisation of Australian funnel-web spider venom’. Upon completion of these studies he held a research position at Xenome Ltd, a start-up biopharmaceutical company. This work involved the identification of venom molecules from marine cone snails, spiders and scorpions with potential as therapeutics for the treatment of pain. One outcome from this work was the development of a small cone snail venom molecule to clinical trials for the treatment of acute postoperative pain and chronic pain (e.g. pain associated with cancer). He has since held positions as a postdoctoral researcher investigating the use of spider venom molecules as pesticides, and as a professional officer (administrative and laboratory support) at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland. In 2009 he completed a MBA at the Queensland University of Technology, concentrating on finance entrepreneurship. He has been awarded an ARC Linkage grant and a National Breast Cancer Foundation Novel Concept grant. In January 2012, he accepted a position to manage the Advanced Proteomics and NMR Facility at the Queensland Tropical Health Alliance, James Cook University. His research interests include exploring the potential of venom molecules, particularly spiders, as novel drug leads for the treatment of diseases such as cancer.

  • Identification and characterisation of novel Australian funnel-web spider venom components.
  • The use of venom composition "fingerprints" as taxonomic tools.
  • Behaviour and personality in Australian funnel-web spiders.
  • Identification and characterisation of novel scorpion venom components.
  • Venom regeneration and plasticity in scorpions.
  • Identification and characterisation of novel venom components from cone snails.
  • Peptide and protein folding and structure.
  • Novel venom component identification and characterisation.
  • 2012 to 2020 - Senior Laboratory and Technical Support Specialist, Jame Cook University (Cairns, QLD, Australia)
  • 2009 to 2011 - Administrative Assistant (Research), University of Queensland (Brisbane, QLD, Australia)
  • 2007 to 2009 - Senior Research Officer, University of Queensland (Brisbane, QLD, Australia)
  • 2001 to 2009 - Research Officer/Manager and IT Manager, Xenome Ltd (Brisbane, QLD, Australia)
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2020 - CMT Researcher Grant
  • 2016 to 2017 - AITHM Capacity Building Grant.
  • 2011 to 2013 - National Breast Cancer Foundation Novel Concept Grant.
  • 2007 to 2010 - ARC Linkage Grant - New modulators of voltage-gated sodium channel subtypes from Australian Tarantula venoms.

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Seqirus (CSL) - Contract Research

Australian Funnel-web spider venom analysis.

Indicative Funding
$35,000 over 2 years
The aims of the project are to consult and analyse samples associated the Australian Funnel-web spider (FWS) antivenom production program at Seqirus. Venom samples from wild-caught and captive-bred Australian Funnel-web spiders at the Australian Reptile Park will be analysed using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to monitor the presence of the lethal toxin in the venom, delta-ACTX-Ar1a. The expected outcomes are that the information obtained from the venom analyses will increase the production and supply of venom to Seqirus. The significance of the project is Seqirus, the only manufacturer of FWS antivenom worldwide, will improve their FWS antivenom production program.
David Wilson in collaboration with Linda Hernandez Duran (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and College of Science & Engineering)
Atrax robustus; Antivenom; Venom; Toxin; Sydney Funnel-web spider

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation - Research Grant

Box-Jellyfish derived cyclic-glutamic-acid effect on primary afferent neurons and mast cells

Indicative Funding
$5,000 over 1 year
Box Jellyfish envenomation (Chironex flecken) results in severe pain, inflammation and cardiovascular distress. Current treatment includes first aid and analgesia. The mechanism of action the venom induces on human physiology is poorly understood. Using analytical chemistry separation techniques, my lab and I have isolated small novel molecules from C.felckeri venom, cyclic-glutamic acids. Glutamate interacts with nociceptive receptors in the primary afferant neurons, and upregulates cytokines and chemokines response in immune cells. This research aims to identify if venom derived glutamic induces an immune resposne from neuronal cells and mast cells.
Melissa Piontek and David Wilson (College of Medicine & Dentistry and Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Chironex fleckeri; Primary afferents; Small Molecules; Immune Response; Mast Cells; Degranulation

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These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Photoluminescence in fur (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Development of Anti-Inflammatory Peptides (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Venomic Ecology in Cubozoans (Box Jellyfish) (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Structure, function and synthesis of anti-inflammatory peptides targeting inflammatory bowel diseases (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • C. Fleckeri Mode of Action Investigation (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The role of ?Daun Patah Tulang? (Euphorbia tirucalli) as a traditional remedy for healing (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Structure and Function of Novel Peptides from Cone Snail Venom (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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