Personal profile

Research interests

My research has been concerned with the development of ligands that bind to multiple opioid receptors, but with defined efficacy at each receptor (selectively promiscuous ligands).  These have therapeutic potential as treatment agents for opioid, cocaine and other drug use disorders, as well as analgesics with greatly improved safety profiles over current standard-of-care, and as treatments for depression and anxiety. Our work is driven by the understanding that CNS disorders are rarely simple, requiring complex solutions.

More recently I have been evaluating, both qualitatively and quantitatively, drugs provided to our group by the local police, prison and charities. We have a particular interest in hard-to-detect and rapidly evolving classes of drugs, such as the synthetic cannabinoids, benzodiazepines and the nitazenes – work which is supporting the development of new technology for the instantaneous detection of these drug classes.

Projects are all highly collaborative and run in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Bath, the University of Michigan, Florida Atlantic University, Wake Forest University, University of Texas,  Imperial College London and in partnership with industry.

License deals with pharma have been struck allowing the continued pre-clinical development of our lead compounds. I maintain an active role in these development projects. Current and recent funding has come from the EPSRC, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and DSTL.

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, The cyclopropyl group in enzyme inhibition, University of Strathclyde

Award Date: 1 Jan 1992


  • QD Chemistry
  • Opioid
  • medicinal chemistry
  • chemical biology
  • CNS
  • cystic fibrosis

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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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