Systems Biology and Medicinal Chemistry

Chemical Biology and Peptide Research

Under the direction of Peter W. Schiller

Research Unit

The Chemical Biology and Peptide Research Unit is pursuing interdisciplinary research in the areas of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology of peptide hormones and neurotransmitters and other bioactive peptides. The major focus in recent years has been on opioid peptides and mitochondria-protecting peptides.

The so-called SS peptides developed in collaboration with Dr. Hazel Szeto (Cornell Medical College) are cell-penetrating and act at the inner mitochondrial membrane to protect mitochondrial function; some of them also quench excessively generated reactive oxygen species (ROS). They hold great therapeutic potential for the treatment of various diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, including primary mitochondrial diseases, diseases associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases. The IRCM and the Cornell Research Foundation hold several joint patents on SS peptides and their clinical development is pursued by the company Stealth BioTherapeutics, Inc.

Peter W. Schiller

Research Unit Director

  • Director, Chemical Biology and Peptide Research unit 
  • Full IRCM Research Professor
  • Full Research Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Université de Montréal

Other affiliations

  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Board, Center for Drug Discovery, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Massachusetts, USA
  • Member, Quebec Pain Research Network, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé
  • Member, Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain

Awards and honours

  • Recipient, Cathay Award, Chinese International Peptide Symposium (2014)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2001)
  • Recipient, Research  Achievement Award, Amer. Assoc. Pharm. Sci. (AAPS) (2000)
  • Officer, Ordre national du Québec (1999)
  • Recipient, Vincent du Vigneaud Award, American Peptide Society (1998)
  • Fellow, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) (1998)
  • Recipient, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Invitation Fellowship (1997)
  • Fellow, International Neuropeptide Society (1997)
  • Recipient, MERIT Award, National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA (1997)
  • Recipient, Prix Galien Canada (1995)
  • Member, Royal Society of Canada (1991)
  • Recipient, Prix Marcel Piché, IRCM (1987)
  • Recipient, Max-Bergmann Medaille, Germany (1987)
  • Recipient, Kern Award and Medaille, ETH-Zurich, Switzerland (1971)

Degrees and relevant experience

  • PhD in medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, ETH-Zurich, Switzerland (1967-1971)
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, USA (1972-1973)
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Laboratory of Chemical Biology, National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA (1973-1975)
  • Guest professor, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biophysics, ETH-Zurich (1979)
  • Guest professor, Department of Biochemistry, National University of Singapore, Singapour (2009-2012)
  • Lee Wee Nam Visiting Professor, School Biol. Sci., Nanyang Technological University, Singapour (2013-2014)
  • President, American Peptide Society (1995-1997)
  • President, Section of Drug Design and Discovery (DDD), AAPS (2003)
Peter W. Schiller
Research Unit Director
Ngoc Nga Chung
Research Assistant
Thi Mai Dung Nguyen
Research Assistant
Mélanie Candido
Administrative Assistant


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Contact information

Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM)
110, des Pins Avenue West
Montréal, Québec  H2W 1R7

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Systems Biology and Medicinal Chemistry