Our research interests are in the field of chemical biology and are focused on investigating problems at the life sciences interface ranging from fundamental studies on enzyme reaction mechanisms, through to development of new methods to control gene expression and development of molecular probes to unravel the cell signalling in both the malaria parasite and mammalian cells. The latter is directly relevant to cancer induction and progression. Core competencies are the design and synthesis of molecular probes incorporating reporter groups such as fluorophores, isotopic labels and affinity ligands. One focus of research has been in the field of nucleotides and this is currently being exploited in the design of chemical biological methods for the deconvolution of cellular protein phosphorylation pathways. A second focus has been polyamine chemistry and biology, where we have been developing tools to probe polyamine uptake in mammalian cells and its exploitation in drug delivery.
Current projects include:
- Development of nucleotide probes to deconvolute protein phosphorylation in both mammalian cells and the malaria parasite (with Dr Burley and Prof Tobin).
- Design and synthesis of multifunctional molecular vectors incorporating delivery, diagnostic and therapeutic moieties (with Dr Lowe).
- Delivery of small molecule gene silencing agents (with Dr Burley).
Techniques and expertise:
- Small molecule organic synthesis - organophosphorus chemistry, polyamine syntheses, enzyme inhibitors, labeled probes (isotopes, fluorophores).
- Enzyme reaction mechanisms - kinases, phosphatases, cytochrome P450.
- Polyamine cellular uptake.