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Dr Peter Duggan

Senior Principal Research Scientist


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Peter oversees CSIRO's Botanical Extracts Laboratory (BEL), a secure, state-of-the-art facility based in Melbourne, which is equipped with modern instruments for the extraction, refinement, formulation and analysis of plant-derived products. Staff in the BEL assist Australian companies to bring their botanical extracts to the market or help them to maintain their world leading positions through technological innovation.

A key focus of the BEL is our work with controlled substances of plant origin including cannabis, cannabinoids and psychedelics. The BEL holds all of the required Victorian State and Federal licences to allow the commercial development of medical cannabis and psychedelic products to take place within the facility. CSIRO is one of very few Australian research institutes licenced for such activities.

Peter’s research specialities include bioorganic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, plant natural products and cannabis chemistry. He has recently published "Primer Reviews" on Psychedelics: and Cannabis and Cannabinoids: . The articles are fully open access and can be viewed free of charge anywhere in the world.

Originally trained in physical organic chemistry, free radical chemistry and organic synthesis in his PhD at ANU, Peter gained experience in molecular recognition, enzymology and enzyme mimicry in his post doctoral studies at Columbia (NYC) and Cambridge Universities. He spent over ten years as a teaching and research academic (James Cook and Monash Universities) before moving to CSIRO in 2004. He continues to be involved in the higher education sector through the co-supervision of PhD students, and an Adjunct Professorship at Flinders University. He has supervised or co-supervised 2 MSc and 14 PhD students to completion. He has also co-authored over 85 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 45 confidential client reports.

Current Roles

  • Leader of the Botanical Extracts Laboratory
    Commercial Manufacture of Plant Extracts - with various small-to-medium sized Australian companies

  • Adjunct Professor
    Flinders University

  • Co-supervisor
    Natural Products from Australian Native Plants and their Symbionts

Academic Qualifications

  • 1985

    BSc(Hons) Flinders University

  • 1990

    PhD (ANU) Physical Organic/Free Radical Chemistry

Professional Experiences

  • 2007-2023

    Various Team & Group Leader Roles

  • 2008-2018

    Associate Editor, Australian Journal of Chemistry
    CSIRO Publishing

  • 2012-2015

    Adjunct Associate Professor
    Flinders University

  • 2007-2015

    Principal Research Scientist

  • 2004-2007

    Senior Research Scientist
    CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies

  • 2004-2007

    Honorary Associate Professor
    Monash University

  • 1996-2004

    Lecturer-Senior Lecturer
    Monash University

  • 1994-1996

    James Cook University

  • 1992-1993

    Post Doctoral Fellow
    University of Cambridge

  • 1990-1992

    Post Doctoral Fellow
    Columbia University, New York

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2016-2016

    Chair, RACI Vic Bioactive Discovery & Development Group

  • 2015-2015

    Co-chair, Boronic Acids Symposium, Pacifichem 2015

  • 2015-2015

    Chair, Melbourne RACI Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology Symposium

  • 2015-2015

    Treasurer, RACI Vic Bioactive Discovery & Development Group

  • 2010-2010

    Co-chair, Boronic Acids Symposium, Pacifichem 2010

  • 2003-2005

    Chair, RACI National Organic Chemistry Conference

  • 2005-2006

    Secretary &Co-Founder, RACI Vic Bioactive Discovery & Development Group

We have publications by Dr Peter Duggan