University of Sunderland
I completed my BSc (Hons) degree in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Sunderland in 2007, and undertook an industrial placement working at GlaxoSmithKline in the Psychiatry Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery (CEDD). This was followed by a Master’s degree in Drug Chemistry, graduating from Newcastle University with Distinction. I began my research career, completing a Cancer Research UK funded PhD under the supervision of Dr Ian Hardcastle, alongside Dr Celine Cano, Prof Roger Griffin and Prof Bernard Golding at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University in 2012. During this time, I specialised in the field of small-molecule drug discovery, developing inhibitors of the protein kinase ERK5 as potential anti-cancer therapeutics, and went on to spend a further 18 months furthering the project as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. I then moved to the prestigious Institute of Cancer Research in London (2014), working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, alongside Prof Ian Collins, initially working on the lead-optimisation of modulators of IRE-1 – a dual kinase-endoribonuclease enzyme – before taking a leading role in the hit triage, validation and hit-to-lead development of novel inhibitors on an exciting, undisclosed project. I secured my first academic position at the University of Wolverhampton in 2016, beginning my independent academic career as a Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. I then moved to the North East, returning to my home city to take up a position as Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Sunderland in 2017 acting as prorgamme leader for a suite of pharmaceutical science programmes, including medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and biopharmaceutical science. Since my appointment, I have been successful in obtaining a Northern Accelerator Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) award to further a drug discovery project for identification of new therapeutic agents for treatment rare genetic diseases and was part of a multidisciplinary team awarded the RSC Robert Boyle Horizon Prize in 2022 for the design and development of chromogenic reagents for the rapid detection and identification of pathogenic bacteria.