Peter Colman

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Peter Colman
Professor Peter Colman FRS.jpg
Peter Colman at the Royal Society admissions day in 2014
Born Peter Malcolm Colman
(1944-04-03) 3 April 1944 (age 74)[1]
Alma mater
Known for
Scientific career
Thesis The physical structure of two parabanic acid complexes and an investigation of short intermolecular carbon-oxygen contacts (1969)
Doctoral advisor Harry Medlin[6]

Peter Malcolm Colman AC FRS FAA FTSE (born 1944)[1] is the head of the structural biology division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia.[9]


Colman was educated at the University of Adelaide, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1966[1] and a PhD in 1969 for research on the chemical structure of parabanic acid complexes supervised by Harry Medlin.[6]

Research and career[edit]

Colman's research interests are in structural biology,[7][10][11] especially of human B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2).[12][13][14][15] Colman determined the three-dimensional structure of the influenza virus neuraminidase and, in one of the earliest cases of structure-based drug design, discovered zanamivir, the first-in-class neuraminidase inhibitor for influenza.[16] His subsequent structural studies on resistance to this drug class suggested how to design drugs against moving targets.[16] His discoveries underpin drug stockpiling for pandemic preparedness.[16] He has made seminal contributions to structural studies of antibodies and antibody-antigen complexes.[16] Recent[when?] work on apoptosis solves the long-standing problem of how pro-apoptotic Bax changes conformation to dimerise and then oligomerise and permeabilise the mitochondrial membrane, an essential step in the intrinsic cell-death pathway.[16]

His work has been published in leading peer reviewed scientific journals including Nature,[7][17][18][19][20][21] the Journal of Molecular Biology,[22] and Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology.[23]

Awards and honours[edit]

Peter Colman, showing his flu protein (neuraminidase) model to Frank Macfarlane Burnet in 2001.

In the Queen's 2017 Birthday Honours Colman was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Australia's highest civilian honour, "for eminent service to medical research, particularly in the fields of structural biology and medicinal chemistry, as a leader in the commercial translation of scientific discoveries, to professional organisations, and as a mentor of young scientists".[24]

Colman was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2014.[16] In 2001 he was awarded a Centenary Medal "For service to Australian society and science in structural biology".[5] Colman was also elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1989 and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 1997.[1] He was awarded the Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture in 1995.[25]


  1. ^ a b c d Anon (2014). Colman, Dr Peter Malcolm. Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U23546. closed access publication – behind paywall (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d Peter Malcolm Colman, CSIROpedia, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
  3. ^ Colman, P. M. (1994). "Influenza virus neuraminidase: Structure, antibodies, and inhibitors". Protein Science. 3 (10): 1687–96. doi:10.1002/pro.5560031007. PMC 2142611. PMID 7849585.
  4. ^ "Professor Peter Colman". Australian Institute of Policy and Science.
  5. ^ a b COLMAN, Peter Malcolm - Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, It's an Honour.
  6. ^ a b Colman, Peter Malcolm (1969). The physical structure of two parabanic acid complexes and an investigation of short intermolecular carbon-oxygen contacts. (PhD thesis). University of Adelaide. hdl:2440/19998. OCLC 222734513. Free to read
  7. ^ a b c Huber, R.; Deisenhofer, J.; Colman, P. M.; Matsushima, M.; Palm, W. (1976). "Crystallographic structure studies of an IgG molecule and an Fc fragment". Nature. 264 (5585): 415–20. doi:10.1038/264415a0. PMID 1004567.
  8. ^ Colman, P. M.; Freeman, H. C.; Guss, J. M.; Murata, M.; Norris, V. A.; Ramshaw, J. A. M.; Venkatappa, M. P. (1978). "X-ray crystal structure analysis of plastocyanin at 2.7 Å resolution". Nature. 272 (5651): 319. doi:10.1038/272319a0.
  9. ^ Peter Colman publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  10. ^ Colman, P. M. (1994). "Effects of amino acid sequence changes on antibody-antigen interactions". Research in Immunology. 145 (1): 33–6. doi:10.1016/S0923-2494(94)80039-1. PMID 7516563.
  11. ^ Type 1 Diabetes Research Update – with Professor Peter Colman on YouTube
  12. ^ Lessene, G.; Czabotar, P. E.; Colman, P. M. (2008). "BCL-2 family antagonists for cancer therapy". Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 7 (12): 989. doi:10.1038/nrd2658. PMID 19043450.
  13. ^ Brady, R. M.; Vom, A.; Roy, M. J.; Toovey, N.; Smith, B. J.; Moss, R. M.; Hatzis, E.; Huang, D. C. S.; Parisot, J. P.; Yang, H.; Street, I. P.; Colman, P. M.; Czabotar, P. E.; Baell, J. B.; Lessene, G. (2014). "De-Novo Designed Library of Benzoylureas as Inhibitors of BCL-XL: Synthesis, Structural and Biochemical Characterization". Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 57 (4): 1323. doi:10.1021/jm401948b. PMID 24456288.
  14. ^ Koehler, M. F. T.; Bergeron, P.; Choo, E. F.; Lau, K.; Ndubaku, C.; Dudley, D.; Gibbons, P.; Sleebs, B. E.; Rye, C. S.; Nikolakopoulos, G.; Bui, C.; Kulasegaram, S.; Kersten, W. J. A.; Smith, B. J.; Czabotar, P. E.; Colman, P. M.; Huang, D. C. S.; Baell, J. B.; Watson, K. G.; Hasvold, L.; Tao, Z. F.; Wang, L.; Souers, A. J.; Elmore, S. W.; Flygare, J. A.; Fairbrother, W. J.; Lessene, G. (2014). "Structure-Guided Rescaffolding of Selective Antagonists of BCL-XL". ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 5 (6): 662. doi:10.1021/ml500030p. PMC 4060937. PMID 24944740.
  15. ^ Chen, L.; Willis, S. N.; Wei, A.; Smith, B. J.; Fletcher, J. I.; Hinds, M. G.; Colman, P. M.; Day, C. L.; Adams, J. M.; Huang, D. C. S. (2005). "Differential Targeting of Prosurvival Bcl-2 Proteins by Their BH3-Only Ligands Allows Complementary Apoptotic Function". Molecular Cell. 17 (3): 393–403. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2004.12.030. PMID 15694340.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Anon (2014). "Professor Peter Colman FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies at the Wayback Machine (archived 2016-11-11)

  17. ^ von Itzstein, M.; Wu, W. Y.; Kok, G. B.; Pegg, M. S.; Dyason, J. C.; Jin, B.; Phan, T. V.; Smythe, M. L.; White, H. F.; Oliver, S. W.; Colman, P. M.; Varghese, J. N.; Ryan, D. M.; Woods, J. M.; Bethell, R. C.; Hotham, V. J.; Cameron, J. M.; Penn, C. R. (1993). "Rational design of potent sialidase-based inhibitors of influenza virus replication". Nature. 363 (6428): 418–23. doi:10.1038/363418a0. PMID 8502295.
  18. ^ Chothia, C.; Lesk, A. M.; Tramontano, A.; Levitt, M.; Smith-Gill, S. J.; Air, G.; Sheriff, S.; Padlan, E. A.; Davies, D.; Tulip, W. R.; Colman, P. M.; Spinelli, S.; Alzari, P. M.; Poljak, R. J. (1989). "Conformations of immunoglobulin hypervariable regions". Nature. 342 (6252): 877–883. Bibcode:1989Natur.342..877C. doi:10.1038/342877a0. PMID 2687698.
  19. ^ Varghese, J. N.; Laver, W. G.; Colman, P. M. (1983). "Structure of the influenza virus glycoprotein antigen neuraminidase at 2.9 Å resolution". Nature. 303 (5912): 35–40. doi:10.1038/303035a0. PMID 6843658.
  20. ^ Colman, P. M.; Laver, W. G.; Varghese, J. N.; Baker, A. T.; Tulloch, P. A.; Air, G. M.; Webster, R. G. (1987). "Three-dimensional structure of a complex of antibody with influenza virus neuraminidase". Nature. 326 (6111): 358. doi:10.1038/326358a0. PMID 2436051.
  21. ^ Colman, P. M.; Varghese, J. N.; Laver, W. G. (1983). "Structure of the catalytic and antigenic sites in influenza virus neuraminidase". Nature. 303 (5912): 41–4. doi:10.1038/303041a0. PMID 6188957.
  22. ^ Lawrence, M. C.; Colman, P. M. (1993). "Shape Complementarity at Protein/Protein Interfaces". Journal of Molecular Biology. 234 (4): 946. doi:10.1006/jmbi.1993.1648. PMID 8263940.
  23. ^ Colman, P. M.; Lawrence, M. C. (2003). "The structural biology of type I viral membrane fusion". Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 4 (4): 309–19. doi:10.1038/nrm1076. PMID 12671653.
  24. ^ Companion (AC) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, Media Notes, Queen's Birthday 2017,
  25. ^ "Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture". Australian Academy of Science. Retrieved 2017-02-22.

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