Head of Chemistry, University of Brighton

My research is focused on the chemical analysis of, and intervention in, ageing processes. Building on postdoctoral experience in mechanistic enzymology (where I discovered the first catalytic antibody lactamase generated in response to a synthetic compound), I developed the first mathematical model to explain why some, but not all, tissues in Werner’s Syndrome patients show a premature degenerative phenotype. My work has since progressed to using experimental models to investigate putative causal mechanisms of ageing. My EPSRC/BBSRC SPARC funded project resulted in the first demonstration that age-related chemical changes in Drosophila are consistent with the “Green Theory” of ageing. More, recently we demonstrated that the highly-publicised postulated anti-ageing compound, Resveratrol, causes premature cellular senescence in primary cells in vitro. My latest research includes the development of a simple synthesis of novel “Resveralogues”. We are now evaluating our panel of over 40 compounds, in collaboration with multiple international laboratories, to determine the chemical features underlying the beneficial activities of stilbene molecules whilst abrogating the detrimental ones. The structure-activity relationships (SAR) we have developed are now informing our second generation compound designs.

Experience

  • –present
    Principal Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry, University of Brighton