Drug Discovery and Development

Researchers in the School are integrating basic and applied science in the idenification of new biomarkers and novel therapeutic targets which will determine future pathways of diagnosis and treatment.  Emphasis is placed on targeted drug therapy, where drugs are tailored to the genetic make-up of the individual, an approach known as personalised medicine.

Novel drugs and mechanisms of delivery are being developed for renal disease, cardiovascular disease, diseases of the nervous system including retinopathies (diseases of the eye) and various types of cancer.  

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My research focuses on the development of novel therapies for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Our lab is currently assessing the impact of the endocannabinoid system on mucosal immunology. We have demonstrated a clear role for the endocannabinoid pathway in attenuating intestinal disease and are now working to understand a number of key components of that process.

 

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RESEARCH INTERESTS

Our research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms which drive epilepsy development following epilepsy-inciting events.

Our research is designed to answer three critical difficulties faced by clinicians and researchers in epilepsy.

Arm 1; Firstly we do not fully understand the mechanisms by which an epilepsy-inciting event causes epilepsy. Towards this end we are studying the immediate and persistent epigenetic and epitranscriptomic changes which take place following epilepsy-causing brain insults which eventually reprogram cells to behave differently, culminating in seizures, behavioral changes and cognitive impairment.

Arm 2; Current anti-epileptic drugs are effective at suppressing seizures in about 66% of epilepsy patients. That means about one third of patients are failed by conventional anti-epileptic drugs. Current treatments do not target the molecular basis of the disease. We therefore do not have mechanism based drugs which treat the underlying causes of the disease or have the potential to reverse already established epilepsy. This arm of our research program employs small molecule inhibitors and/or RNA-based antisense or mimic approaches, based on our findings from arm 1, to try to prevent epileptogenesis following an epilepsy-inciting event.

Arm 3; Presently it is not possible to predict with any degree of certainty patients likely to develop epilepsy following a potential epilepsy-causing disease. We are thus attempting to define molecular signatures in peripheral biofluids such as blood plasma which may predict a likelihood of developing epilepsy. This would allow immediate treatment and in future prevention-based therapies to block epileptogenesis.

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Research Interests: Vision and Blindness, Ocular Pharmacology and Genetics; Colorectal Cancer; Vascular Biology, Neurodegeneration; Drug Discovery and Delivery;  Zebrafish models.

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Chronic infection is the hallmark of cystic fibrosis lung disease. I have a key interest in respiratory pathogens that cause opportunistic infections in cystic fibrosis patients and in vaccine development.   In particular, I focus on Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc).  This is a highly antimicrobial resistant pathogen and effective treatments are challenging.   As a result of our investigations on the mechanisms of attachment of Bcc to lung epithelial cells, we identified a number of bacterial adhesins, which are potential vaccine candidates.   These antigens protect mice against Burkholderia and have potential as novel vaccine antigens.   I also have an interest host responses of epithelial cells, mechanisms of pathogenesis and mechanisms of bacterial adaptation which facilitate chronic colonisation.  We also investigate two other pathogens associated with CF-infections, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and genus Pandoraea.

Keywords: Chronic lung infection; cystic fibrosis; vaccine development; host-microbial interactions; pathogenesis;  adaptation.


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Research Interests: Memory function; neuropsychiatric disease; neurotherapeutics; Multiple Sclerosis.

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Research Interests:  biotherapeutics; biotechnology;  activity of the calcium binding protein secretagogin in neuronal cells; protein networks.

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Research interests: Cancer, Targeted therapy, resistance to therapy, transcription factors, Androgen Receptor, Serum Response Factor