Ph.D., 2014, University of Southampton
My research interests include:
Development of transmembrane transporters
Membranes play an important biological function by avoiding the free movement of ions and polar molecules into the cell. The controlled transport of these compounds is regulated by specialized proteins (ion channels, efflux pumps, etc). However, in some cases these proteins malfunction (e.g. cystic fibrosis), or the barrier created by the membrane is problematic for drugs to reach their target. In our lab we therefore develop small molecules that can transport polar compounds such as ions, hydrophilic drugs and DNA/RNA across biological membranes.
Recognition of membrane components
The recognition of membrane components such as various types of phospholipids has been an underexplored field, even though membranes can have different compositions depending on the situation (e.g. bacterial cells consist of different lipids than mammalian cells, and cancer cells have different lipid ratios than healthy cells). We therefore aim to develop receptors that can recognize specific lipids in order to use them in medical applications.
Modified DNA for optimal recognition
DNA- or RNA-based drugs are becoming increasingly popular (e.g. gene silencing, interference RNA, aptamers, etc), but there are still concerns over selectivity, stability and cellular delivery of these drugs. We therefore try to develop modified DNA analogues, based on the principles of supramolecular chemistry, that can help to overcome these issues.
Organic Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Chemical Biology
Busschaert, N., Caltagirone, C., Van Rossom, W., Gale, P.A. Applications of supramolecular anion recognition. Chem. Rev. 115, 8038-8155 (2015).
Busschaert, N., Gale, P.A. Small‐molecule lipid‐bilayer anion transporters for biological applications. Angew. Chem. 52, 1374-1382 (2013).