Dr. Phurpa Wangchuk is a Research Fellow at James Cook University. He obtained his M.Sc. in Medicinal Chemistry (Research) and PhD with an ‘Outstanding Thesis’ from the University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia. He completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Research Methodology (Clinical Research) from the DBL-Centre for Health Research and Development, Copenhagen University, Denmark, and his Bachelor of Bioscience (Chemistry, Botany and Zoology as majors) from the University of Delhi, India with an ‘Overall Academic Excellence Award’.

He was awarded the National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) Early Career Peter Doherty - Australian Biomedical Fellowship (2015-2019), NHMRC Ideas Grant (2020-2023), Endeavour Postgraduate Australia Award (2010-2014), Danish DANIDA Research Fellowship (2006), and Royal Government of Bhutan Scholarship (2002-2004).

Both his M.Sc. and PhD research projects resulted in the discovery of 5 novel molecules, 15 drug lead compounds, 1 patent on the novel antimalarial drug lead compound, 2 UOW seminar awards, 2 state level (New South Wales) conference prizes, 2 international awards, and 16 research papers.

Currently, his drug discovery research at the Centre for Molecular Therapeutics, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine involves integration of novel approaches and techniques of chemistry, metabolomics, drug development, ecology, biology, parasitology and immunology. To discover novel anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antimalarial drugs from the natural sources including medicinal plants, mountain-top tropical endemic plants affected by climate change, insect fungi, parasitic helminths and marine organisms; he uses advanced technologies including HPLC, MALDI-MS, GCMS, NMR, and the in vitroin vivo and ex vivo experimental models. 

Prior to his appointment at JCU, he worked in Bhutan at various capacities as a Research Officer, Chemist, Product Manager and as a Head of the Research and Development Section of the Manjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals. As a Head of the R&D, he led a team comprising ethnobotanist, pharmacognosist, traditional physician and external technical consultants from Europe, Japan, India and Thailand. He implemented 4 World Health Organisation grants and was an executive team member involved in deciding and executing million Euros European Union Medicinal Plants Project in Bhutan. He also taught first year laboratory chemistry students at the University of Wollongong.

He has published more than 43 journal papers, 2 books, 3 book chapters, 4 conference proceedings and 1 plant monograph in the areas of natural products involving plants, parasites and metabolomics. He is also an active member, reviewer and editorial board of few national and international journals. 

  • Parasitology-worms and their anti-inflammatory compounds
  • Anti-inflammatory and anthelmintic alkaloids/flavonoids
  • Phytochemicals and pharmacology of medicinal and parasitic plants
  • Insect-fungi and their bioactive secondary metabolites
  • North Queensland Natural Products, their chemistry and therapeutic applications
  • Metabolomics and biomarkers of natural compounds and diseases
  • 2015 to 2018 - NHMRC ECR Fellow, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2014 - Research Officer, James Cook University (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2010 to 2014 - PhD Research Candidate, University of Wollongong (NSW, Australia)
  • 2008 to 2009 - Editor of Manjong Sorig Journal, Ministry of Health (Bhutan)
  • 2008 to 2009 - Editor of Quarterly Morbidity and Activity Report, Ministry of Health (Bhutan)
  • 2007 to 2009 - Product Manager, Manjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals, Kawajangsa, Thimphu District, Bhutan (Thimphu, Bhutan)
  • 2006 to 2009 - Head of R&D, Manjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals (Thmphu, Bhutan)
  • 2006 to 2009 - Executive Team (representing R&D section) of the European Union Project-II, Manjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals, Kawajangsa, Thimphu District, Bhutan (Thimphu, Bhutan)
  • 2006 to 2007 - Secretary of Research and Development of Bhutan, MSP/MoH (Bhutan)
  • 2006 - DANIDA Research Fellowship, DBL-Centre for Health Research and Development, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • 2004 to 2006 - Chemist, Pharmaceutical and Research Unit (Thmphu, Bhutan)
  • 2002 to 2004 - M.Sc. Research Candidate, University of Wollongong (NSW, Australia)
  • 1999 to 2002 - Research Officer, Pharmaceutical and Research Unit (Thmphu, Bhutan)
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2020 - Invited Reviewer of Phytotherapy Research
  • 2019 - Invited speaker to The Second Annual Canadian Metabolomics Conference
  • 2018 - Invited Speaker to the International conference in Beijing (fully funded by the conference organiser)
  • 2018 - Invited Keynote Speaker -fully funded by the international conference on medicine and health sciences, Indonesia
  • 2018 - Special Address/Talk invitation -fully funded by the international conference on JIGNASA 2018 International conference, India
  • 2017 - Conference travel grant for organising and chairing a biodiscovery panel at ICTAM IX, Germany
  • 2017 - Full conference travel award as an 'Invited Speaker' at Harvard Conference on Health-Body-Mind
  • 2016 to 2017 - Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine Capacity Building Grant
  • 2016 - Best Poster Presentation Award - awarded in the International Conference on 'Molecular and Cellular Biology of Helminth Parasites X' held at Hydra (4-9 September 2016).
  • 2015 - "Invited speaker" Travel Award -International conference on 'Utilising Sub-Himalayan Biological Resources (fully funded by the conference organiser-Dibrugarh University, India)
  • 2014 - Examiners' special commendations for outstanding PhD thesis
  • 2009 to 2014 - Australian Endeavour Post Graduate Award
  • 2013 - Bhutan Royal Civil Service Award for dedicated service (10 years) to the nation and the public
  • 2013 - KIOM-South Korea keynote speaker full funding award for the International Symposium on Value and Folk Remedy as Traditional Knowledge
  • 2013 - ICTAM VIII Congress Award for attending the conference held every after 4 years
  • 2012 - Phytochemical Society of Europe's Best Congress Communication Award
  • 2012 - UOW Faculty of Science post graduate conference funding award
  • 2011 - UOW 2011 Highly Commended PhD Presentation Award
  • 2011 - Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) 2011 Best Oral Presentation Runner up Award
  • 2010 - BlueScope Steel Research Innovation Awards 2010
  • 2010 - Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) 2010 Best PhD Meritorious Poster Presentation Award
  • 2008 - RCSC meritorious promotion
  • 2007 - International Centre for Environmental Health and Toxicology Training Award, Thailand
  • 2000 - United Nations Industrial Development Organization Training Workshop Award
  • 1998 - Graduate Academic Excellence Award
  • 2015 to 2018 - National Health and Medical Research Council ECR Grant
  • 2010 to 2014 - Australian Endeavour Award-PhD
  • 2006 - DANIDA Fellowship for Post Graduate Diploma in Social/Clinical Research Methodology, Denmark.
  • 2002 to 2004 - Royal Government of Bhutan M.Sc. Scholarship
  • 2016 to 2020 - Australia & New Zealand Society for Magnetic Resonance (ANZMAG )
  • 2013 to 2020 - Council Member of The International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine (Germany)
  • 2014 - Editorial Board of the Journal of Biologically Active Products from Nature
  • 2014 - The Australian Society for Parasitology
  • 2012 to 2014 - Member of the Phytochemical Society of Europe
  • 2010 to 2014 - Chemical Society of University of Wollongong
  • 2008 to 2009 - Member of the National Scientific Review Committee of Bhutan
  • 2008 to 2009 - Organiser and Editor of the Manjong Sorig Journal
  • 2008 to 2009 - Editorial Board of the Bhutan Ministry of Health Quarterly and Morbidity Activity Report
  • 2005 to 2009 - Research Core Group and Quality Assurance Team of Manjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals
  • 2007 to 2008 - Non-Wood Forest Products Task Force
  • 2007 - Biodiversity Action Plan Development Technical Committee Member
  • 2007 - Ethnobotany
  • 2020 - M.Sc. Thesis Examiner for Macquarie University
  • 2020 - Invited Reviewer for Metabolomics
  • 2020 - Invited Reviewer for Communication Biology (Nature GP)
  • 2019 - PhD thesis Examiner for Macquarie University
  • 2018 - Invited reviewer -Acta Parasitologica
  • 2018 - Invited Reviewer for the BMC Infectious Diseases
  • 2018 - Invited Reviewer of the 'International Wound Journal'
  • 2019 - Invited Reviewer of the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • 2019 - Invited Reviewer for the 'Bioorganic Chemistry'
  • 2016 to 2019 - Reviewed paper for International Journal of Molecular Sciences
  • 2016 to 2019 - Reviewed paper for Molecules
  • 2016 to 2019 - Reviewed paper for Phytochemistry Letters
  • 2016 to 2019 - Invited Reviewer of the 'Journal of Ethnopharmacology' Elsevier Impact factor-3.11
  • 2015 to 2019 - Invited reviewer for the Journal of Biologically Active Products from Nature
  • 2015 to 2019 - Invited Reviewer of the Pharmaceutical Biology-impact factor = 2.4
  • 2018 - Invited Reviewer of the 'Nutrients'
  • 2018 - Invited Reviewer of the Toxins
  • 2018 - Invited Reviewer of the 'Digestive Diseases and Sciences'
  • 2016 - Reviewed paper for BMC Immunology
  • 2016 - Reviewed paper for International Journal of Parasitology
  • 2015 - Invited Reviewer of the 'Scientific Reports'-Nature Publishing Group.
  • 2015 - Invited Reviewer of the 'BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine'
  • 2015 - Invited Reviewer of the paper submitted to the BMC Research Notes.
  • 2015 - Invited Reviewer of the 'BMC Ecology'
  • 2015 - Invited reviewer for Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
  • 2015 - Invited Reviewer of the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
  • 2015 - Invited Reviewer for the Natural Products Research
  • 2015 - Invited Reviewer of the BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • 2015 - Invited Reviewer of the paper submitted to the Ethnobotany Research & Applications
  • 2013 to 2015 - Reviewer for a journal paper-Natural Products Communication
  • 2012 - Guest Reviewer of the Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B

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
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 59+ research outputs authored by Dr Phurpa Wangchuk from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

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

National Health & Medical Research Council - Ideas Grants

Discovering novel drug lead molecules for inflammatory bowel disease from Australian Aboriginal tropical medicinal plants

Indicative Funding
$1,209,524 over 4 years
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a debilitating disease, which has no cure. It costs the Australian Health System billions of dollars in hospitalisation, management and lost productivity, thereby precipitating the need for novel drugs. Building on my extensive preliminary data, we aim to discover novel drug leads from Aboriginal medicinal plants, which are currently used for treating inflammatory conditions by the Mbabaram community of the Atherton Tablelands.
Phurpa Wangchuk, Roland Ruscher, Joanne Jamie, Stephen Pyne, Darren Crayn and Gerald Turpin (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Macquarie University, University of Wollongong, College of Science & Engineering and Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Aboriginal medicinal plants; Anti-inflammatory activities; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Biologically active molecules; New drug leads; Metabolomics

National Health & Medical Research Council - Early Career Fellowship

Isolation and pre-clinical evaluation of small molecule anti-inflammatory compounds from hookworms

Indicative Funding
$309,436 over 4 years
Taking cues from millennia of host-parasite co evolution, my research envisions harnessing the unique ability of hookworm to modulate inflammation and would determine the therapeutic potential of the low molecular weight cultured excretory/secretory (<10 kDa) and the somatic extracts of adult hookworms. It aims on: (1) Isolating, structure elucidating and identifying small drug lead compounds; (2) Derivatizing these bioactive molecules; and (3) Evaluating the anti-inflammatory activity of rude extracts and their compounds using in vivo and ex vivo experimental mouse models. This study would lead to novel anti-inflammatory drug discovery that has implications to the Australian patients with inflammatory bowel diseases.
Phurpa Wangchuk (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Anti-inflammatory; Drug Discovery; Hookworm; Excretory/secretory Proteins; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; small molecule

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

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.

  • Biodiscovery of anti-inflammatory drug leads from parasites and medicinal plants of Australian wet tropics. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Therapeutic Evaluation of Australian Medicinal Plants for treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Ethnobotanical Identification and Biological Activities of Selected Mbabaram Medicinal Plants including Tephrosia and its Phytochemicals (Masters , Primary Advisor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit the JCU Research Data Catalogue.


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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