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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, Professor Tony James from the department of Chemistry, and Professor Ravi Acharya from the Department of Biology & Biochemistry) is focussed on the enzyme alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR), which drives prostate cancer aggressiveness and the aggressiveness of several other cancers. AMACR is also a potential druig target in tuberculosis. 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.


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

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Clavulanic acid biosynthesis, University of Oxford

Sept 1989Dec 1992

Award Date: 1 Dec 1992

Bachelor of Science, Biological Chemistry, University of Leicester

Oct 1986Jun 1989

Award Date: 1 Jun 1989

External positions

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

Jan 201831 Dec 2021

Editorial Board Member for The Biochemist, Biochemical Society

Sept 2017 → …

Member, Biochemical Society

Jan 1990 → …


  • QD Chemistry
  • chemical biology
  • prostate cancer
  • tuberculosis
  • Enzymes
  • Enzyme mechanism
  • enzyme assays
  • enzyme kinetics
  • enzyme inhibitors


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