Phytochemical and biological investigations of cytotoxic compounds from Australian endemic plants

My PhD is a translational project between natural product chemistry, drug discovery and cancer biology.

This work aims to study new cytotoxic compounds from Australian endemic plants. I have gained skills in a wide range of chemical techniques (e.g. HPLC, MPLC, 1D/2D NMR, UV, IR, and MS),which has led to the isolation and characterisation of several new and exciting natural products, some of which display potent in vitro inhibition of prostate cancer cells (IC50 in the nM range). Furthermore, I have taken these unique compounds and conducted mechanism of action studies using chemical biology techniques such as DNA microarray, live cell imaging, cell cycle analysis, Western Blot and immunofluorescence microscopy.

Phytochemical and biological investigations of cytotoxic compounds from Australian endemic plants

About me

In 2011, Claire Levrier received her Master’s degree in Natural Product Chemistry from University of Strasbourg, France. Her research project aimed to study cytotoxic molecules (on glioblastoma) isolated from two plants, which took place at the ICSN/CNRS, France (supervision: Dr Litaudon and Dr Guéritte) and the INSERM U898 (Stem Cells, Development and Cancer) under the supervision of Dr Virolle.

In 2012, Dr Levrier was a visiting scientist at the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia (supervision: Dr Davis). She studied antimalarial alkaloids isolated from an Australian endemic plant.

In 2016, Dr Levrier completed her PhD studies at the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery (supervision: Dr Davis) and the APCRC-Q (QUT, TRI, Brisbane), under the supervision of Professor Nelson and Dr Sadowski. During her PhD, she isolated several exciting new bioactive natural products from Australian endemic plants and identified their mechanism of action in prostate cancer cells.

In January 2017, Dr Levrier joined the APCRC-Q as a Research Fellow. She is participating to the design and running a screening of a natural product library toward prostate cancer metabolism, using high content imaging. Dr Levrier is also participating to other drug discovery projects which are undergoing at the APCRC-Q.


1)        Levrier, C.; Sadowski, M. C.; Rockstroh, A.; Gabrielli, B.; Kavallaris, M.; Lehman, M.; Davis, R. A.; and Nelson, C. C. 6α-Acetoxyanopterine: A Novel Structure Class of Mitotic Inhibitor Disrupting Microtubule Dynamics in Prostate Cancer Cell. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 2017 16, 3-15.

 2) Wibowo, C.; Levrier, C.; Sadowski, M. C.; Nelson, C. C.; Wang, Q.; Holst, J.; Healy, P. C.; Hofmann, A.; Davis, R. A. Cytotoxic Bioactive Dihydro-β-agarofuran Sesquiterpenoids from the Australian Rainforest Plant Maytenus bilocularis. Journal of Natural Products, 2016  79 (5), 1445-1453

3)        Levrier, C.; Sadowski, M. C.; Nelson, C. C.; Davis, R. A. Cytotoxic C20 Diterpenoid Alkaloids from the Australian Endemic Rainforest Plant Anopterus macleayanus. Journal of Natural Products, 2015, 78 (12), 2908–29164)        Kumar, R.; Sadowski, M. C.; Levrier, C.; Nelson, C. C.; Jones, A. J.; Holleran, J. P.; Avery, V. M.; Healy, P. C.; Davis, R. A. Design and Synthesis of a Screening Library Using the Natural Product Scaffold, 3-Chloro-4-hydroxyphenylacetic Acid. Journal of Natural Products, 2015, 78 (4), 914–918

5)        Levrier, C.; Sadowski, M. C.; Nelson, C. C.; Healy, P. C.; Davis, R. A. Denhaminols A–H, Dihydro-β-agarofurans from the Endemic Australian Rainforest Plant Denhamia celastroides. Journal of Natural Products 2015, 78 (1), 111-119.

6)        Levrier, C.; Balastrier, M.; Beattie, K. D.; Carroll, A. R.; Martin, F.; Choomuenwai, V.; Davis, R. A. Pyridocoumarin, aristolactam and aporphine alkaloids from the Australian rainforest plant Goniothalamus australis. Phytochemistry, 2013, 86, 121-126.

7)        Levrier, C.; Kiremire, B.; Guéritte, F.; Litaudon, M. Toxicarioside M, a new cytotoxic 10-β-hydoxy-19-nor-cardenolide from Antiaris toxicaria. Fitoterapia. 2011, 83, 660-664.

Research fields

Drug Discovery, Cancer Biology, Chemical Biology, Natural Products Chemistry