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Research interests

Research is concentrated in the areas of chemical biology, enzymology, enzyme kinetics, Drug Discovery and Cancer Research. Chemical Biology techniques are used to investigate enzymes as therapeutic targets, and the development of inhibitors as drugs to treat diseases where there is unmet need.

Current research (with Dr Tim Woodman and Professor Mike Threadgill from the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology, and Professor Tony James from the department of Chemistry) is focussed on the enzyme alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR), which drives prostate cancer aggressiveness and the aggressiveness of several other cancers. AMACR is involved in the degradation of dietary and other branched-chain fatty acids and the activation of ibuprofen. Studies on AMACR have including investigations of the enzyme reaction mechanism using labelling studies and other techniques, development of activity assays, and drug development using rational design and high-throughput screening approaches. We are also interested in development of AMACR assays for use as clinical diagnostic tests. 

Other projects include targeting enzymes that use NAD+ as an electrophile (such as tankyrases) with rationally designed drugs (led by Professor Mike Threadgill) and novel systems for delivery of super-potent drugs (led by Professor Threadgill, with Dr Andy Thompson). Each of these projects uses Chemical Biology as part of a multi-disciplinary approach and is focussed on the treatment of cancer.

Areas of expertise: Cancer Research using Chemical Biology approaches; Drug Discovery; Enzyme assays; Enzyme Inhibitors; Enzyme Kinetics; High-Throughput Screening; Ibuprofen and related drugs.


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Jan 1992

Bachelor of Science, University of Leicester

Award Date: 1 Jan 1989

External positions

Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB), Royal Society of Biology

Jan 2018 → …

Editorial Board Member for The Biochemist, Biochemical Society

Sep 2017 → …

Member, Biochemical Society

Jan 1990 → …


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