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Christian Gruber
Assoc. Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dr. Christian Gruber, PhDGroup Leader, International Research Fellow

Center for Physiology and Pharmacology
Position: Associate Professor

ORCID: 0000-0001-6060-7048
T +43 1 40160 31390

Further Information


Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins; Ant Venoms; Arginine Vasopressin; Cyclotides; Drug Design; Molecular Pharmacology of Bioactive Peptides from Nature; Multiple Sclerosis; Neuropeptides; Oxytocin; Receptors, Opioid, kappa; Scorpion Venoms; Signalling by G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs)

Research interests

Study of molecular mechanisms in living organisms by employing a toolbox of nature-derived and synthetically optimized compounds with biological activity to be analyzed in vitro and in vivo. The research includes the isolation, design and synthesis of biologically active peptides which will be useful for drug discovery or as diagnostic tools.

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

chemical extraction, UPLC/HPLC, peptide synthesis, lyophilization, mass spectrometry, MALDI-TOF/TOF, MALDI imaging, LC-MS/MS, proteomics, peptidomics, transcriptome analysis, insect rearing, GPCR signalling, second messenger analysis (cAMP, IP1, ERK, Ca2+), immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, Molecular Biology


  • Cyclotides as anticancer drugs (2017)
    Source of Funding: aws (Austria Wirtschaftsservice), PRIZE
    Principal Investigator
  • Oxytocin-like neuropeptide signaling in locust (2017)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), Joint Projects - Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)
    Principal Investigator
  • Plant peptides as modulators of invertebrate neurohormone receptors (2015)
    Source of Funding: ARC (Austrian Research Council), ARC Future Fellowships
    Principal Investigator
  • Individual function and social role of oxytocin-like neuropeptides in ants (2013)
    Source of Funding: WWTF (Vienna Science and Technology Fund), Life Sciences Call (LS13-017)
    Principal Investigator
  • Zyklotide als Immunosuppressoren (2013)
    Source of Funding: aws (Austria Wirtschaftsservice), PRIZE
    Principal Investigator
  • Novel immunosupressant circular peptides from plants (2012)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), Stand-Alone Projects
    Principal Investigator
  • Bioactive peptides from natural sources (2010)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), Stand-Alone Projects
    Principal Investigator
  • adenosine-receptor - Identification of the protein interactome of the A2A-adenosine receptor (fellow) (2008)
    Source of Funding: EU, FP7-PEOPLE-IRG-2008
    Principal Investigator

Selected publications

  1. Koehbach, J. et al., 2013. Oxytocic plant cyclotides as templates for peptide G protein-coupled receptor ligand design. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(52), pp.21183-21188. Available at:
  2. Wang, C.K. et al., 2014. Molecular Grafting onto a Stable Framework Yields Novel Cyclic Peptides for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. ACS Chemical Biology, 9(1), pp.156-163. Available at:
  3. Thell, K. et al., 2016. Oral activity of a nature-derived cyclic peptide for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(15), pp.3960-3965. Available at:
  4. Hellinger, R. et al., 2015. Peptidomics of Circular Cysteine-Rich Plant Peptides: Analysis of the Diversity of Cyclotides from Viola tricolor by Transcriptome and Proteome Mining . Journal of Proteome Research, p.151008080804008. Available at:
  5. Di Giglio, M.G. et al., 2017. Development of a human vasopressin V1a-receptor antagonist from an evolutionary-related insect neuropeptide. Scientific Reports, 7, p.41002. Available at: