Biography

I completed my Chemistry degree in Argentina in 1997. After experiencing both the academic and industry sectors, I started my PhD in medicinal chemistry at the Open University in Milton Keynes. After its completion in 2005, I relocated to USA to specialise in biophysical studies of drug-DNA interactions, working in the Brown Cancer Center with Prof Brad Chaires. Back to UK in 2008, I worked in pre-clinical testing, also known as ADMETox, in Peakdale Molecular and Cyprotex, while being an Associate lecturer at MMU. In 2013, I became a Lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Salford, in where I developed my research group in the areas of organic and analytical chemistry, aptamers and toxicology as well as delivering teaching content in organic chemistry, biochemistry, immunology and biomedicine. In 2018 I joined the School of Pharmacy and Bioengineering at Keele University as a Sr Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Sciences. My research group currently focuses on studying the microbiota and 3D gut systems, design of anticancer agents (small and large molecules), studies into inflammation, toxicology, cancer and ageing.

Research and scholarship

My research interest relies in the area of health, and for this I have different branches all interconnected, allowing my projects to be multi-disciplinary. Small molecules: in my group we synthesise small molecules with biological properties, looking at anticancer and antimicrobial agents. Nature has given us the best medicines so far, so part of the therapeutics branch looks at extracts of natural products, ranging from roots & leaves, to amphibians, slugs and bacteria; in this we purify, test and characterise any new molecule. Large molecules: aptamers are large molecules made of nucleic acids that find and bind their targets selectively and effectively. We have developed a modified aptamer (manuscript in preparation) that is allowing us to study the roles of histones in cancer therapy. DNA studies: we have been studying the interaction of small molecules with Quadruplex DNA, and analysing the formation upon different ions. Toxicology and pre-clinical testing: synthesising small molecules with biological activity is exciting and rewarding but analysis of their ADMETox activities are essential, in my group we study the pharmacological aspect of these compounds. Using analytical techniques we also monitor the toxicology of new compounds but the materials around us, like e-cigarettes, cosmetics, natural compounds and a lot more. Microbiome: in a collaboration with Dr Sharon Moore at the University of Wolverhampton and Dr Athar Aziz at University of Salford, we are building a gut model to study the equilibria between our intestines and our flora to improve our health and understand diseases.

Teaching

I currently teach in the disciplines of pharmacy, bioengineering and pharmaceutical sciences, leading 4 modules in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. My teaching covers aspects of pharmacology, immunology, analytical chemistry, toxicology and pre-clinical testing. I am also interested in outreach activities to disseminate science (STEM).

Recent publications:

  • Microwave Assisted Synthesis of Novel Bis-Flavone Dimers as New Anticancer Agents, LOC under review.
  • Toxicological and analytical assessment of e-cigarette refill components on airway epithelia. Sci Prog. 2016 Dec 1;99(4):351-398. doi: 10.3184/003685016X14773090197706.
  • Dibenzoyl-methane Derivatives as a Potential and Exciting New Therapy for the Treatment of Childhood Bone Cancer. Anticancer Res. 2016 Nov;36(11):6043-6050.

Abstracts:

  • Novel therapies for cancer treatment : Designing high affinity and selectivity ligands against SIRT1 Al-Sudani, B & Demonacos, M K & Ragazzon, P 2015, 'Novel therapies for cancer treatment : designing high affinity and selectivity ligands against SIRT1 ', EuroMedLab Paris Paris, France.

Media:

  • BBC Food: Truth or Scare, April 2018, discussion about antimicrobials from natural products.
  • Radio Key 103, United Kingdom, January 2017, discussion about e-cigarettes.
  • BBCRadio Manchester, United Kingdom, January 2017, discussion about e-cigarettes.

Selected Publications

  • Barnes NG, Ahmed Mal Ullah AA, Ragazzon PA, Charafi N, Hadfield JA. 2021. Syntheses of Combretastatin A-4 and Related Stilbenes by Using Aqueous Conditions. CHEMISTRYSELECT, 7082-7086, vol. 6(28). link> doi> full text>
  • Al-Sudani B, Ragazzon-Smith AH, Aziz A, Alansari R, Ferry N, Krstic-Demonacos M, Ragazzon PA. 2020. Circular and linear: a tale of aptamer selection for the activation of SIRT1 to induce death in cancer cells. RSC ADVANCES, 45008-45018, vol. 10(73). link> doi> full text>
  • Barnes NG, Parker AW, Ahmed Mal Ullah AA, Ragazzon PA, Hadfield JA. 2020. A 2-step synthesis of Combretastatin A-4 and derivatives as potent tubulin assembly inhibitors. Bioorg Med Chem, 115684, vol. 28(19). link> doi> full text>
  • McGown A, Ragazzon-Smith A, Hadfield JA, Potgetier H, Ragazzon PA. 2019. Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Novel Bis-Flavone Dimers as New Anticancer Agents. LETTERS IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 66-75, vol. 16(1). link> doi> full text>
  • Singh J, Luquet E, Smith DPT, Potgieter HJ, Ragazzon P. 2016. Toxicological and analytical assessment of e-cigarette refill components on airway epithelia. Science Progress, 351-398, vol. 99(4). link> doi>

Full Publications Listshow

Journal Articles

  • Barnes NG, Ahmed Mal Ullah AA, Ragazzon PA, Charafi N, Hadfield JA. 2021. Syntheses of Combretastatin A-4 and Related Stilbenes by Using Aqueous Conditions. CHEMISTRYSELECT, 7082-7086, vol. 6(28). link> doi> full text>
  • Al-Sudani B, Ragazzon-Smith AH, Aziz A, Alansari R, Ferry N, Krstic-Demonacos M, Ragazzon PA. 2020. Circular and linear: a tale of aptamer selection for the activation of SIRT1 to induce death in cancer cells. RSC ADVANCES, 45008-45018, vol. 10(73). link> doi> full text>
  • Barnes NG, Parker AW, Ahmed Mal Ullah AA, Ragazzon PA, Hadfield JA. 2020. A 2-step synthesis of Combretastatin A-4 and derivatives as potent tubulin assembly inhibitors. Bioorg Med Chem, 115684, vol. 28(19). link> doi> full text>
  • McGown A, Ragazzon-Smith A, Hadfield JA, Potgetier H, Ragazzon PA. 2019. Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Novel Bis-Flavone Dimers as New Anticancer Agents. LETTERS IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 66-75, vol. 16(1). link> doi> full text>
  • Singh J, Luquet E, Smith DPT, Potgieter HJ, Ragazzon P. 2016. Toxicological and analytical assessment of e-cigarette refill components on airway epithelia. Science Progress, 351-398, vol. 99(4). link> doi>
  • Almelah E, Smith DPT, McGown A, Aziz A, Potgieter HJ, Ragazzon P. 2016. Dibenzoyl-methane Derivatives as a Potential and Exciting New Therapy for the Treatment of Childhood Bone Cancer. Anticancer Res, 6043-6050, vol. 36(11). link> doi>
  • Ragazzon PA, Iley J, Missailidis S. 2009. Structure-activity studies of the binding of the flavonoid scaffold to DNA. Anticancer Res, 2285-2293, vol. 29(6). link>
  • Ragazzon PA, Bradshaw T, Matthews C, Iley J, Missailidis S. 2009. The characterisation of flavone-DNA isoform interactions as a basis for anticancer drug development. Anticancer Res, 2273-2283, vol. 29(6). link>
  • Holt PA, Ragazzon P, Strekowski L, Chaires JB, Trent JO. 2009. Discovery of novel triple helical DNA intercalators by an integrated virtual and actual screening platform. Nucleic Acids Res, 1280-1287, vol. 37(4). link> doi>
  • Mekmaysy CS, Petraccone L, Garbett NC, Ragazzon PA, Gray R, Trent JO, Chaires JB. 2008. Effect of O6-methylguanine on the stability of G-quadruplex DNA. J Am Chem Soc, 6710-6711, vol. 130(21). link> doi>
  • Garbett NC, Ragazzon PA, Chaires JB. 2007. Circular dichroism to determine binding mode and affinity of ligand-DNA interactions. Nat Protoc, 3166-3172, vol. 2(12). link> doi>
  • Ragazzon P and Chaires JB. 2007. Use of competition dialysis in the discovery of G-quadruplex selective ligands. Methods, 313-323, vol. 43(4). link> doi>
  • Ragazzon PA, Garbett NC, Chaires JB. 2007. Competition dialysis: a method for the study of structural selective nucleic acid binding. Methods, 173-182, vol. 42(2). link> doi>
  • Alcaro S, Artese A, Iley JN, Maccari R, Missailidis S, Ortuso F, Ottanà R, Ragazzon P, Vigorita MG. 2007. Tetraplex DNA specific ligands based on the fluorenone-carboxamide scaffold. Bioorg Med Chem Lett, 2509-2514, vol. 17(9). link> doi>
  • Nagarajan M, Morrell A, Antony S, Kohlhagen G, Agama K, Pommier Y, Ragazzon PA, Garbett NC, Chaires JB, Hollingshead M, Cushman M. 2006. Synthesis and biological evaluation of bisindenoisoquinolines as topoisomerase I inhibitors. J Med Chem, 5129-5140, vol. 49(17). link> doi>

Other

  • Peduto A, Filosa R, Petronzi C, Missailidis S, Ragazzon P, Smith S, Esposito V, Virgilio A, Galeone A, MEDIMOND. 2009. Trisubstituted naphthalimides for DNA Quadruplex Binding Selectivity: synthesis, NMR and biophysical studies. JOINT MEETING ON MEDICAL CHEMISTRY (pp. 45-+). link>
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