Dr Mark P Lowe

Dr Mark P. Lowe

Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry

Level 1 Year Tutor & Chair of Athena Swan Committee

BSc, PhD (Newcastle)
Tel : +44 (0)116 252 2109
Email : mplowe@le.ac.uk

Personal Details

  • BSc, PhD (Newcastle)

Research interests

For current postgraduate opportunities, please click here.

For current postdoctoral opportunities, please click here.

Responsive Lanthanide Probes

We successfully developed an enzyme-activated Gd-based MR contrast agent that in vitro, showed an ~ 90% increase in relaxivity on activation by esterase. This showed great promise for cellular imaging via an amplification and accumulation strategy.

Fig 2. Enzyme-activation of a Gd(III) complex

Luminescence studies on corresponding Eu(III) complexes helped to confirm these results. We also developed pH-responsive luminescence/MR lanthanide probes. Relaxivity (Gd) and luminescent emission intensity (Eu) are modulated by pH changes. Of particular interest is the ratiometric pH response of Eu(III) complexes enabling concentration independent pH determination.


  1. Chem. Commun.2007, 4044-4046
  2. Inorg. Chem. 200948, 8515–8522
  3. Chem. Eur. J. 2011, 17, 223-230

Design and Synthesis of Novel Lanthanide Chelates for use in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Propargyl-appended Ln(III) complexes were shown to have unanticipated reactivity towards NaN3 in the Cu(I) catalysed ‘click’ reaction yielding unsubstituted 1,2,3-triazoles. The implications with respect to MRI contrast agents were investigated. Strategies for functionalising MRI contrast agents using Click Chemistry are being explored in this project.

Fig. 1 Reversible NH-triazole coordination to Eu(III)

New contrast agents for magnetic resonance angiography have also being developed. Hydrophobic binding moieties are linked to Gd(III) chelates. On binding to Human Serum Albumin an increase in MR signal intensity is observed. Photophysical properties of corresponding Eu(III) complexes, enabling binding constants to be determined from luminescence studies; these complement those obtained from relaxation rate enhancements of Gd(III).


  1. Dalton Trans. 2009, 9725-9727
  2. Dalton Trans. 2009, 6283-6285
  3. J. Incl. Phenom. Macrocycl. Chem., 2011, 71, 435-444
  4. Chem. Commun.2005, 657-659
  5. Inorg. Chem.2007,46, 3576-3584

Dual Mode Imaging Agents

MPL 3Molecular Imaging (MI) and Magnetic Resonance (MR) contrast agents are at the forefront of medical research and drug discovery.

Current research in MI focusses on e.g. simultaneous microscopy and whole body imaging, so-called “multimodal” imaging. MR enables high spatial resolution and the ability to simultaneously obtain physiological and anatomical information, whereas optical (fluorescence) imaging allows for rapid screening.

Combining the advantages of both imaging modalities allows: e.g. co-validation of the accumulation of targeted MR contrast agents at a target site. We are combining components of both imaging modalities in the same compound.

Theranostic Metal Complexes

MPL 4This project aims to develop theranostic compounds based on a core coordination compound. These complexes are designed to deliver and release therapeutic drugs whilst simultaneously acting as diagnostic imaging agents.

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Contact Details

Department of Chemistry
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

Email: chemistry@le.ac.uk

Tel: [+44] (0)116 252 2100

Fax: [+44] (0)116 252 3789

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