Work in the Medicinal Chemistry Group concerns the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of active organic molecules at the interfaces of chemistry and biology
21st Century multidisciplinary research is rich with challenges with huge opportunities for chemistry to impact on Biology and Medicine. Work in the Medicinal Chemistry Group concerns the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of active organic molecules at the interfaces of Chemistry & Biology, aimed at the dissection of fundamental mechanisms; or at the interface of Chemistry & Medicine, employing intelligent drug design with the aim of moving translationally from 'concept to clinic'. Synthetic chemistry is underpinned by biochemical assays, protein crystallography and by in silico computational design. General themes are centred around:
The Chemistry of Cell Signalling
Academic Drug Design & Discovery
Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Manipulation
Potter Group: We explore the chemistry of cellular signalling processes using synthetic tools. These concern both molecules involved in endocrine signalling and its modulation in oncology and endocrinology and signal transduction via “second messengers” based upon inositol polyphosphates and adenine nucleotides that function through elevation of intracellular calcium ions. We have pioneered a new drug target and pharmacophore and brought “first-in class” compounds to many Phase I and II human clinical trials in both men and women in metastatic breast cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, endometriosis and women’s health with positive clinical indications of human efficacy including disease stabilisation and increased progression-free survival. A particular current research theme is the development of multi-targeting drugs in cancer.
Russell Group: We have established projects in areas such as arylamine N-acetyltransferase inhibitors (tuberculosis and cancer), transcriptional upregulation of utrophin (Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy) and fundamental approaches to drug discovery via study of cellular signalling pathways and their application towards the development of small molecules to manipulate stem cell fate, regenerative medicines and new anti-cancer agents.
Churchill Group: We focus on understanding how small molecules inside cells act as messengers to control physiology and how mimics of these messenger molecules can be used as chemical tools and drugs. We use chemical synthesis, in silico modelling and screening and drug repurposing and rescue. We explore areas of biology concerning calcium signalling in general and as it relates to diseases such as cardiovascular, neurological and psychiatric.
Vasudevan Group: Our group studies messenger signalling processes dysregulated in diseases including those of sleep, metabolic conditions and psychiatric disorders and develops novel and repurposed drugs targeting these processes. One recent success with the development of circadian rhythm modifiers will shortly enter clinical evaluation. The tools used include patient-derived cells, phenotypic screens and multiple drug discovery paradigms.