I was educated at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, where I completed my PhD in Molecular Neurobiology in 1989 in the Institute for Molecular Biology and the Rudolf Magnus Institute of Pharmacology in Utrecht. During this period I investigated the role of protein phosphorylation in synaptic function. I then undertook postdoctoral research at the Novartis Institute for Medical Research, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and University College in London. My research was in the area of cell signaling and focused largely on the Protein Kinase C pathway. In 2001 I joined Ionix Pharmaceuticals Ltd in Cambridge as Head of Molecular Biology and then became Head of Molecular Pharmacology and Associate Director of Pharmacology. In this capacity I was project leader of an early stage drug discovery project targeting voltage gated sodium channels to develop novel analgesics. In 2005 I joined the School of Pharmacy in Nottingham as Senior Lecturer in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Structural Biology. My research has yielded scientific publications which to date have been cited in excess of 4000 times (h-index: 34 (ISI)).
Our group operates in the field of molecular medicine and we use cell biology, biochemistry, molecular pharmacology and chemistry to understand and explore novel as yet unexplored drug targets.… read more
Our group operates in the field of molecular medicine and we use cell biology, biochemistry, molecular pharmacology and chemistry to understand and explore novel as yet unexplored drug targets. Specific interests centre on the exploration of protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions relevant to cancer.
Our current research projects include
Chemical biology approaches to understand the function of S100 protein interactions.
S100 proteins are small adaptor proteins that have been implicated in many cellular processes. They do so by interacting with key partners such as for instance the annexins. Read about this in our recent review (Liu et al, 2014). We aim to explore the function of these protein interactions using a combination of biochemical, chemical biological and cell biological approaches.
Protein Kinase C-delta protein interactions
Protein Kinase C-delta has been implicated in breast cancer metastasis. The activity of PKC-d is regulated by cofactors such as diacylglycerol. In addition, protein interactions contribute to the regulation of PKC-d. We aim to explore how protein interactions regulate PKC-d in breast cancer cells with a view to understand its role in metastasis.
Coagulation proteases are important in haemostasis but have recently also been proposed as drug targets in various diseases. In collaboration with Profs Emsley and Fischer we try to understand the enzyme activity of co-agulation proteases. By investigating the precise molecular interactions between Factor XII and its natural product inhibitor CTI we are gaining insight into the structure of the catalytic site of this enzyme that may help in developing new specific inhibitors (Hamad et al, 2017).
Novel kinase probes
We are interested in developing novel probes to measure kinase activity and kinase expression for screening and diagnostic applications (with Prof Barrie Kellam).
Our research is or has been supported by grants from Cancer Research UK, the Breast Cancer Campaign, the Association for International Cancer Research, Pancreatic Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. We publish in reputable journals such as Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and British Journal of Pharmacology. We are always looking for new members of our group to experience the excitement of research and make discoveries. Places for students are available on all the above projects. Please get in touch to discuss if you are interested in joining. For international students there are scholarship schemes to receive support, please follow this link for up to date information.