Professor Andrew Pitt

Professor Andrew Pitt
Professor Andrew Pitt

LHS Associate Dean Research

Professor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry & Chemical Biology

School of Life and Health Sciences
Aston University
Aston Triangle
Birmingham B4 7ET

Email: a.r.pitt@aston.ac.uk
+44 (0)121 204 3005


 Research Theme                    Research Centre 

Cellular and Molecular Biomedicine                     Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA)

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PhD Projects | Research Interests | Research Funding Career History Other Interests  |  Publications |   | 


I am the Professor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chemical Biology.
What are Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chemical Biology?

  • Pharmaceutical chemistry is the process of making a new drugs, including their design, synthesis, and optimization of the drug molecules.

  • Chemical biology is the application of chemistry, including the use of chemical compounds and chemical tools and technologies, to study and manipulate biology.


We would welcome enquiries from PhD-qualified researchers from all countries outside the UK wishing to apply for a Marie Curie Fellowship to come and join our dynamic group at Aston. There are two Fellowship Schemes available: 

  • For early- to mid-career researchers of any nationality currently working in Europe
    (Intra-European fellowship, IEF); 
  • For researchers at mid-career plus working in any country outside of Europe
    (International Incoming Fellowship, IIF).

Reserch projects could cover a broad range of areas, such as chemical proteomics, protein modification, protein interactions, multimolecular microarrays, systems biology, and biomarker discovery and identification. More information on these areas is given in my research interest below. Please contact me for further details.


PhD Projects and collaborations

We also welcome applications from funded overseas PhD students who would like to come and work in our state of the art labs.  We have a diverse group, both scientifically and culturally, and pride ourselves in our friendly and relaxed working environment where real talent can blossom. Please contact me for further details.

Currently I have projects available in many areas including:

  • Analysis of protein modification in health and disease.

  • Proteomic, metabolomic and lipidomic profiling of disease and drug action.

  • Pharmaceutical chemistry – drug discovery and development

  • Analytical biochemistry – the analysis of biomolecules and biomarkers

  • Chemical biology – using chemistry as a tool to understand biology

  • Identifying early markers of chronic drug toxicity.

Post-graduate students are vital to the research that we do and are an integral part of our research group, both scientifically and socially.  We aim to provide a dynamic research environment where you can develop the skills necessary to embark on the next step of your career, such as independent thinking, problem solving, project organization, writing and public speaking.  Over the last few years I have supervised more than 20 students on post-graduate research degrees through to the completion of their studies, including 12 PhD students, all of whom have gone on to full time careers in many different areas, from the police force to academia.

Every year we also host a number of overseas students who choose to do their placement in our labs.  If you have your own funding and would like the opportunity to come and work with us then please contact me.


Research interests

My research has always been about understanding how biology works at the molecular level, using a multidisciplinary approach combining chemistry, biology, physics and engineering. 
We are developing techniques and technologies and applying them to complex biological problems, in collaboration with many talented research groups.  Many of the techniques and technologies we are developing also have a much broader applications, and we have research in many areas including drug discovery and analysis, chemical biology, biomarker discovery, biotechnology, biocatalysis, and systems and synthetic biology. 
One of our aims is to generate a better understanding, diagnosis, stratification, and treatment of disease, from identifying new targets for drugs, through to monitoring the therapeutic effect of drugs in the clinic.
At the cellular level we are interested in how the complex pathways involved in intracellular signalling are regulated, the role of redox chemistry in signalling and cellular damage, and understanding the molecular targets of drugs.


To see how I got into this and some of the research that I have been involved in along the way, you can watch my Inaugural Lecture on YouTube.


Membership of Professional and other Bodies

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • President of the British Proteomics Society
  • Member of The Biochemical Society


Research Funding

2012 – 2015     European Regional Development Fund. Promoting Biomarker Developent in West Midlands SME's
2011 – 2016     Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. 
Proxomics - Next Generation Analytical Tools: Applications to
 Protein Oxidations that Affect Human Health and Wellbeing
2009 – 2012     Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Molecular Nose
2008 – 2015     Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and  Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
                            A Doctoral Training Centre for cell and proteomic technologies
2007 – 2011     Scottish Funding Council. Biomarkers for Battling Chromic Disease
2005 – 2011     Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The RASOR Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration
                            in Proteomic Technologies.

The ERDF project is part funded by the European Union

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Career History  

2012 - date            Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Aston University

2009 - 2011         Reader, Division of Integrative and Systems Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences
2005 - 2011         Director, RASOR Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Proteomic    Technologies
2005 - 2011         Director, Doctoral Training Centre in Proteomics
2005 - 2011         Director, Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility
2005 - 2009         Senior Lecturer in Proteomics, Division of Integrative and Systems Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences
2002 - 2005         Deputy Director and Head of Proteomics, SHWFGF, University of Glasgow
1993 - 2002         Lecturer, Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Strathclyde.
1990 - 1993         Research Fellow, St. Catharine's College, Cambridge.
1989 - 1992         Schering Fellow in Bioorganic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge.
1988 - 1989         Research Assistant, Oxford University.
1985 - 1888         D.Phil., Biological Chemistry, Oxford University.
1982 - 1985         B.Sc, Chemistry, University of Bristol


Teaching Activity on the MPharm Programme

PH3602: Antimicrobial agents and anticancer agents
PH3605: Medicinal chemistry – drugs from natural products and modern approaches to target discovery



Michael Barrett (University of Glasgow)
Richard Burchmore (University of Glasgow)
Karl Burgess (University of Glasgow)
Jon Cooper (University of Glasgow)
David Goodlett (University of Washington)
Duncan Graham (University of Strathclyde)
Ted Hupp (University of Edinburgh)
David Klug (Imperial College London)
Walter Kolch (Beatson Institute)
Pat Langridge-Smith (University of Edinburgh)
Nick Morrice (University of Dundee)
Ramon Vilar (Imperial College London)
Anthony Walton
(University of Edinburgh)
Adam West (University of Glasgow
Rudiger Woscholski (Imperial College London)

Other Interests

While I spend most of my time teaching and running my research group at Aston, my research interests have led me into a number of other activities:.

The British Society for Proteome Research      http://www.bspr.org/                                       

I am currently the President of the British Society for Proteome Research – the BSPR.

The BSPR is the society for all UK scientists interested in the field of proteomics and closely related fields.  Proteomics is the study of the proteins contained in a biological sample, which could be a virus, a cell, tissue, blood, or any other biological materials.

The aims of the society are to advance the science of proteomics, and to promote the study and research in this and related areas, for the benefit of all. It enables scientists to keep up-to-date with current developments both nationally and internationally and to meet and exchange ideas with other workers. It has a particular focus on education, and offers a range of benefits, including a number of bursaries for members to attend scientific meetings and workshops. Unlike many learned societies the BSPR has members from a wide range of organizations including industry and the health service, as well as research and academic institutions.

The BSPR offers a nuber of generous bursaries to student members to attend meetings, and frequently offers discount rates to membeers at its annual meeting.  It also supports a number of proteomics meetings around the UK.

The BSPR represents both the Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) and the European Proteomics Association (EuPA) in the UK, and is affiliated to the Society of Biology.

If you use proteomics, want to use proteomics, or are just keen to learn more, why not JOIN THE BSPR.

The Relevance of New Technologies to the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions.

The Biological Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Conventions are two International treaties that prohibit the generation, production, stockpiling or use of these weapons.  My interest in these is how the developments in modern science are both a threat and of potential benefit to these conventions, and how scientific research developed for benefit could also be put to detrimental use, the dual-use conundrum. 

I got into this area because many of the tools and technologies that have been developed in my research fields, and some of the understanding of biology that we gain from it, have the potential for dual use, or could be used to detect the use of biological or chemical weapons and identify the weapon. Dual use means that while the science was developed for beneficial reasons, such as to understand and treat disease, the very same science could possibly be used to do harm.  A recent good example of this was the genomic sequencing of the flu virus that was responsible for the 1918 flu pandemic that killed millions of people worldwide.  The science gave us a much better understanding of why this particular flu virus was so harmful, which means we are better prepared and can produce better treatments, should a similar outbreak occur. The question is, could this information now be used to engineer an artificial virus with similar properties. 

Recent publications

Click here to see my full publications on Google Scholar

A comparison of five lipid extraction solvent systems for lipidomic studies of human LDL. Reis, A., Rudnitskaya, A., Blackburn, G. J., Fauzi, N. M., Pitt, A. R. & Spickett, C. M. 2013 Journal of Lipid Research.

Use of narrow mass-window, high-resolution extracted product ion chromatograms for the sensitive and selective identification of protein modifications. Spickett, C. M., Reis, A. & Pitt, A. R. 2013 Analytical Chemistry. 85, 9, p. 4621–4627

Reporter ion-based mass spectrometry approaches for the detection of non-enzymatic protein modifications in biological samplesTveen Jensen, K., Reis, A., Mouls, L., Pitt, A. R. & Spickett, C. M. 2013 Journal of Proteomics.

Unique reporter-based sensor platforms to monitor signalling in cellsJiwaji, M., Daly, R., Gibriel, A., Barkess, G., McLean, P., Yang, J., Pansare, K., Cumming, S. A., McLauchlan, A., Kamola, P. J., Bhutta, M. S., West, A. G., West, K. L., Kolch, W., Girolami, M. A. & Pitt, A. R. 2012 PLoS ONE. 7, 11, 10 e50521

Shaping acoustic fields as a toolset for microfluidic manipulations in diagnostic technologiesReboud, J., Bourquin, Y., Wilson, R., Pall, G. S., Jiwaji, M., Pitt, A. R., Graham, A., Waters, A. P. & Cooper, J. M. 2012  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109, 38, p. 15162-15167.

Generation of primary hepatocyte microarrays by piezoelectric printingZarowna-Dabrowska, A., McKenna, E. O., Schütte, M. E., Glidle, A., Chen, L., Cuestas-Ayllon, C., Marshall, D., Pitt, A., Dawson, M. D., Gu, E., Cooper, J. M. & Yin, H. 2012 Colloids and Surface B: Biointerfaces. 89, 1, p. 126-132 .

Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3, subunit a, regulates the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway Xu, T-R., Lu, R-F., Romano, D., Pitt, A., Houslay, M. D., Milligan, G. & Kolch, W. 2012 Molecular and Cellular Biology. 32, 1, p. 88-95.

Protein oxidation: role in signalling and detection by mass spectrometrySpickett, C. M. & Pitt, A. R. 2012 Amino Acids. 42, 1, p. 5-21.

Identification of oxidized phospholipids by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and LC-MS using a QQLIT instrument, Reis, A. & Pitt, A. R. 2011 Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 51, 12, p. 2133-2149.

Microscale mesoarrays created by dip-pen nanolithography for screening of protein-protein interactionsThompson, D. G., McKenna, E. O., Pitt, A. & Graham, D. 2011 Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 26, 12, p. 4667-4673.

Intracellular protein determination using droplet-based immunoassaysMartino, C., Zagnoni, M., Sandison, M. E., Chanasakulniyom, M., Pitt, A. & Cooper, J. M. 2011 Analytical Chemistry. 83, 13, p. 5361-5368.

Matrix-free mass spectrometric imaging using laser desorption ionisation Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometryGoodwin, R. J. A., Pitt, A. R., Harrison, D., Weidt, S. K., Langridge-Smith, P. R. R., Barrett, M. P. & Mackay, C. L. 2011 Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 25, 7, p. 969-72.

Raf kinase inhibitor protein RKIP enhances signaling by glycogen synthase kinase-3βAl-Mulla, F., Bitar, M. S., Al-Maghrebi, M., Behbehani, A. I., Al-Ali, W., Rath, O., Doyle, B., Tan, K. Y., Pitt, A. & Kolch, W. 2011 Cancer Research. 71, 4, p. 1334-1343.

The Renilla luciferase gene as a reference gene for normalization of gene expression in transiently transfected cells Jiwaji, M., Daly, R., Pansare, K., McLean, P., Yang, J., Kolch, W. & Pitt, A. 2010 BMC Molecular Biology. 11, p. 103

The mammalian MAPK/ERK pathway exhibits properties of a negative feedback amplifier Sturm, O. E., Orton, R., Grindlay, J., Birtwistle, M., Vyshemirsky, V., Gilbert, D., Calder, M., Pitt, A., Kholodenko, B. & Kolch, W. 2010 Science Signaling. 3, 153, ra90

A simple, sensitive and selective quantum-dot-based western blot method for the simultaneous detection of multiple targets from cell lysates Gilroy, K. L., Cumming, S. A. & Pitt, A. R. 2010 Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 398, 1, p. 547-54.

Effect of phosphatidylcholine chlorohydrins on human erythrocytes Robaszkiewicz, A., Greig, F. H., Pitt, A. R., Spickett, C. M., Bartosz, G. & Soszyński, M. 2010 Chemistry and Physics of Lipids. 163, 7, p. 639-647.

Functional proteomics to dissect tyrosine kinase signalling pathways in cancer Kolch, W. & Pitt, A. 2010  Nature Reviews: Cancer. 10, 9, p. 618-629.

On-chip immunoprecipitation for protein purification Sandison, M. E., Cumming, S. A., Kolch, W. & Pitt, A. R. 2010 Lab on a Chip. 2010, 20, p. 2805-2813.

A solvent-free matrix application method for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging of small molecules Goodwin, R. J., Macintyre, L., Watson, D. G., Scullion, S. P. & Pitt, A. 2010 Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 24, 11, p. 1682-1686.

Stopping the clock on proteomic degradation by heat treatment at the point of tissue excision. Goodwin, R. J. A., Lang, A. M., Allingham, H., Borén, M. & Pitt, A. R. 2010 Proteomics. 10, 9, p. 1751-1761.

Use of a solvent-free dry matrix coating for quantitative matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization imaging of 4-bromophenyl-1,4-diazabicyclo(3.2.2)nonane-4-carboxylate in rat brain and quantitative analysis of the drug from laser microdissected tissue regions. Goodwin, R. J. A., Scullion, P., Macintyre, L., Watson, D. G. & Pitt, A. 2010 Analytical Chemistry. 82, 9, p. 3868-3873.

Comprehensive human urine standards for comparability and standardization in clinical proteome analysis. Mischak, H., Kolch, W., Aivaliotis, M., Bouyssié, D., Court, M., Dihazi, H., Dihazi, G. H., Franke, J., Garin, J., Gonzalez de Peredo, A., Iphöfer, A., Jänsch, L., Lacroix, C., Makridakis, M., Masselon, C., Metzger, J., Monsarrat, B., Mrug, M., Norling, M., Novak, J., Pich, A., Pitt, A., Bongcam-Rudloff, E., Siwy, J., Suzuki, H., Thongboonkerd, V., Wang, L-S., Zoidakis, J., Zürbig, P., Schanstra, J. P. & Vlahou, A. 2010 Proteomics. 4, 4, p. 464-78.

Mass spectrometry imaging of pharmacological compounds in tissue sections. Goodwin, R. J. A. & Pitt, A. R. 2010 Bioanalysis. 2, 2, p. 279-293.

The C-terminus of Raf-1 acts as a 14-3-3-dependent activation switch. Dhillon, A. S., Yip, Y. Y., Grindlay, G. J., Pakay, J. L., Dangers, M., Hillmann, M., Clark, W., Pitt, A., Mischak, H. & Kolch, W. 2009 Cellular Signalling. 21, 11, p. 1645-1651.

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