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Research Group Research Centre
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
PhD Studentships / Early Stage Researcher Positions Available NOW (Jan 2016)
2 positions for early stage researchers (within 4 years of 1st degree) are available for research at Aston University on lipid and protein oxidation as part of the MASSTRPLAN project. Ideal for European students who are keen to travel and have a good background in biochemistry / chemistry/ cell biology. The researchers will be expected to register for PhD degrees. A further 12 positions are available at the other MASSTRPLAN organizations.See the MASSTRPLAN Recruitment webpage for further information (eligibity rules apply).
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 diseases and the effects of drugs.
- Pharmaceutical chemistry – drug discovery and development
- Analytical biochemistry – the detailed analysis of biopharmaceuticals, biomolecules and biomarkers
- Chemical biology – using chemistry as a tool to understand biology, especially chemical proteomics
- Identifying early markers of chronic drug toxicity using mass spctrometry
- Systems biology - focus on cellular signalling pathways; regulation and crosstalk
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.
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 Inner Executive Council of the European Proteomics Association and hair of the Journals
- Member of The Biochemical Society
2012 – 2015 European Regional Development Fund. Promoting Biomarker Development 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 Chronic 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
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 - 1988 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
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.
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.
Click here to see my full publications on Google Scholar