I began my career at Keele University in 1993 in the Department of Chemistry, now part of the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences. I then joined the Department of Medicines Management in 2005 as Director of Studies (Pharmaceutical Science) and played a major role, alongside others, in the development of the School of Pharmacy and Keele MPharm programme. My academic position is currently Senior Lecturer in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry and I hold administrative roles within the School and the University. I was awarded the Keele University Excellence in Learning and Teaching award in 2008 and I was awarded the Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine Research Fellowship for 2015-2016. I have acted as an external examiner for higher degrees across the various disciplines within Chemistry. My research into synthetic chemistry and drug discovery is aligned with the Keele Nanopharmaceutics Research Group. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Chartered Chemist (FRSC CChem) and a member of a number of other learned societies, including the American Chemical Society, the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the United Kingdom and Ireland Controlled Release Society.
Research and scholarship
ISTM Research theme: Therapeutics
My research interests lie at the interface between the physical and life sciences with a focus on the synthesis of molecules with biological or medicinal significance.
As a member of the Keele Nanopharmaceutics Research Group with Dr Clare Hoskins my research is directed towards the synthesis of drugs and delivery systems for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, the fourth most prevalent cancer in the Western World: Surgical intervention is currently the only treatment for pancreatic cancer with a survival rate 5 years following surgery of 5-34%. The only clinically-available chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is gemcitabine which proves effective in 23.8% of patients, hence there is obvious interest in increasing the efficacy of gemcitabine and the discovery of novel therapeutic opportunities. My research interests in this area include the synthesis of novel chemotherapeutic agents and prodrugs for delivery to cancerous cells using gold-iron oxide hybrid nanoparticles HNPs) and the use of calixarenes for drug formulation and delivery.
Please click here for a link to the Keele Nanopharmaceutics Research Group website
I also collaborate with Dr Alan Richardson from the Keele School of Pharmacy in the synthesis of novel and adjunct therapies for the treatment of ovarian cancer (with Dr Jóhannes Reynisson, University of Auckland), and with Dr Paul Horrocks from the Keele School of Medicine in the development of drug-like molecules for use as antimalarial agents (with Dr Ravi Pathak, University of Cambridge).
I welcome applications from students who wish to undertake PhD postgraduate studies in my team. Former, and current, postgraduate students include UK nationals as well as overseas students from the Middle East and India, undertaking full-time studies in my laboratory. Interested students can contact me directly on email@example.com to discuss potential projects as well as the application process for these degrees.
My current research interests are in Nanopharmaceutics. Nanopharmaceutics is a form of nanotechnology that involves the formulation of medicines into very small dosage forms suitable for administration by various routes as required, intravenously for example (nanomedicine). Often drug molecules have undesirable properties: For example, drugs may not be very soluble in water or they may not be absorbed well by the body which hinders their usage. These drugs require careful formulation in order for them to be administered to patients effectively and display their proposed therapeutic effect. Traditional formulation strategies do not live up to the high demand in recent years where approximately 60% of all new drugs under development are classed as practically insoluble in water, hence the increase in nanomedicine research worldwide. The most common nano-systems for drug formulation are core-shell based systems. Many of these systems have undergone the rigors of regulatory testing and are now licensed for use in the clinic across the globe.
The nano-structures act as chaperones for the drug molecules, carrying their cargo past the body’s defense systems to their intended target site, thus avoiding any premature drug degradation or metabolism. The nano-carriers themselves are relatively simple and cheap to make and they can be easily tailored for application. This tailoring may include inclusion of specific functional groups which help the particle reach their destination more easily or confer additional properties, such as fluorescence in order for their journey after administration to be tracked.
Nanopharmaceutics research has experienced exponential growth internationally in the past ten years. Here in ISTM we have a highly motivated and interdisciplinary Nanopharmaceutics team who strive to drive forward innovation in this area. Our area of research spans across the boundaries of chemistry, physics and the life sciences with an aim to produce novel nanomedicines for a wide variety of different diseases with a special focus on pancreatic cancer. For more information please have a look at the Nanopharmaceutics research group website:
Or contact me directly.
School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering
Research centre address:
School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering
Guy Hilton Research Centre
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 674988
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