Adjunct Professor Peter Karuso

Adjunct Professor Peter Karuso

Adjunct Professor

BSc (Hon. 1)


School of Biotech & Biomolecular Science

Peter Karuso completed a PhD in 1985 from the Department of Organic Chemistry at the University of Sydney and postdoced at the University of Auckland (Dame Patricia Bergquist) and the University of Hawaii (Paul Scheuer) before obtaining a position as research scientist at the Texas A&M University. After 2.5 years in Texas, he was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship to work with Horst Kessler at the Technische Universität München in 1989.  From there he joined Macquarie University as Lecturer in Biotechnology in the School of Chemistry and worked his way up to full Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biomolecular Sciences (2010). He has been awarded 2 outstanding teacher awards and several research awards including the Archibald Ollé and Research Commercialisation Prizes and served as head of department (2002-2005). In 2004 he was co-founder and CSO of Fluorotechnics Pty Ltd that listed on the ASX in 2008. In 2022, he joined the University of NSW as an Adj. Professor in Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and launched MINIMUM bio Pty Ltd, a biotechnology company dedicated to developing a platform technology for the rapid and agnostic identification of protein drug targets.

Our “Mercurious” platform is designed to create a new model for early-stage drug discovery. The platform harnesses an antibody drug discovery technology and repurposes it for drug target discovery, combining advances in molecular biology, next generation sequencing and machine learning into a single integrated architecture for the rapid and agnostic discovery of all the proteins, in your body, that a drug binds to to achieve its effect, with the goal of massively accelerating the rate of drug development.

Our mission is to bring the next generation of life-saving drugs to those who need it sooner and cheaper.

Building E26 Level 4 Room 404

  • Determining which of the halogenated small molecules from Asparagopsis is responsible for the observed activity in inhibiting methane production in cattle and sheep (MLA/MDC)
  • Rapid Isolation System Selective derivatization of natural products
  • The Probio-TICK Initiative (CRC(P))
  • NSW molecular analysis platform: FTICR mass spectrometer and CHN&S analyser (ARC LE)
  • Reverse Chemical Proteomics: Harnessing Yeast Display for Drug Discovery (ARC DP)
  • Acoustic liquid handling robotics for bioactive compound discovery (ARC LE)
  • Dual Emission Fluorophores
  • Agilent 6130B/1260 LCMS System A high performance liquid chromatography platform to accelerate biodiscovery
  • Yeast display as a platform technology to accelerate antiparasitic drug discovery and development
  • Study of the role played by AMP deaminase 3 in erythrocytic life-span
  • Chemical proteomics: Proteomics with no detection limit (ARC DP)
  • A 'Molecular Handcuff' For Catching the Conspirators of Invasive Breast Cancer
  • Chemical Proteomics: Towards the rapid identification of protein ligands for every natural product
  • Facility for long term preservation and storage of biological, chemical, environmental and geological samples  (ARC LE)
  • Development of fluroescent probes for early diagnosis of oesophageal and colorectal cancer
  • Ageladine A analogues and the Pictet-Spengler reaction
  • In vivo molecular imaging using engineered affinity reagent and fluorescent laser scanning confocal endomicroscopy (ARC LP)
  • High pressure and temperature flow reactor Identification of drug targets of natural products by chemical proteomics
  • First Principles Design of Second-Generation Protein Stains (ARC DP)

  • Fellowship, Royal Society of NSW
  • Archibald Ollé Prize, RACI
  • Innovation Award (Commercialisation), Macquarie University
  • Fellowship, Royal Australian Chemical Institute
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, Macquarie University
  • Alexander von Humboldt Award

Karuso is an internationally recognised chemist and chemical biologist, not only in the chemistry of natural products but also their application in biotechnology. One of Dr Karuso’s most notable achievements is his role in the commercialization of the popular proteomics stain ‘Deep Purple’ (highlighted as a technology spotlight in Nature, 2006, 440, 2nd March), based on the natural product, epicocconone (J. Am. Chem. Soc., 125, 9304; Proteomics, 3, 2273) in 2003. He served as the CSO of the start-up company Fluorotechnics, which listed on the ASX in 2008. Another aspect of his work is the application of natural products in agriculture and medicine. In particular he has pioneered a new research area (“reverse chemical proteomics”) that aims to rapidly determine the mode of action of agrichemicals and pharmaceuticals. This has led to a second start-up company; MINIMUM bio that was founded in 2022 where he is CEO and CSO. He is an inventor on 7 recent patents that have produced 11 commercial products for Fluorotechnics, Serva and Aquistain that are used in proteomics, biochemistry, microscopy and cell biology. His current passion is to develop a platform technology for the rapid and agnostic identification of protein drug targets, which combines his expertise in biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics and chemistry.

CEO, CSO and Founder of MINIMUM bio Pty Ltd

My Research Supervision

Valentin Payet (PhD)

My Teaching

Organic Chemistry

Natural Products Chemistry

Chemical Biology