Personal profile

Research interests


Synthesis of biologically active and functional peptide derivatives

We work on a range of projects involving both solution and solid phase peptide synthesis and the preparation of novel amino acid derivatives and peptidomimetics. This includes the synthesis of cyclic peptide natural products, novel peptides that can enhance the oral bioavailability of peptide therapeutics (collaboration with Prof. Randy Mrsny) and the development of peptide-based sensors for the measurement of intracellular heme levels (collaboration with Prof Sofia Pascu and Dr Charareh Pourzand).


Peptide-targeted agents for photodynamic therapy and drug delivery

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a clinically approved approach for the treatment of various forms of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions.   PDT uses light to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue after the administration of a light-activated photosensitising drug (a photosensitiser).  In collaboration with Prof. Sandy MacRobert (University College London),   we are interested in using peptide chemistry to tailor the properties of photosensitisers to enhance their cellular uptake, control their sub-cellular localisation, or provide selective targeting, both for PDT and light-triggered drug delivery via photochemical internalisation (PCI). We are also working on peptide-based prodrugs of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), which is a precursor of the natural porphyrin photosensitiser, protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), and is already widely used for clinical PDT.


Caged iron chelators as light-activated therapeutic agents

Exposure to UVA radiation from the sun is the principle risk factor associated with the onset of skin cancer. This can generate harmful free radicals and increased levels of redox-active labile iron that can induce severe damage to the skin. In collaboration with Dr Charareh Pourzand,  we are developing novel Caged Iron Chelators (CICs) which are iron-trapping compounds that only become active in human skin cells when exposed to physiologically relevant doses of UVA. CICs could thus complement and enhance the protection afforded by current UV blocking agents in sunscreens and daily-use skincare products. They also have potential for the targeted therapy of various iron-dependent disorders, including cancer.


Willing to supervise doctoral students

I am happy to discuss PhD projects in medicinal chemistry and peptide chemistry

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • organic synthesis, peptide chemistry, medicinal chemistry, PDT


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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