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Personal profile

Research interests


My research interests lie in improving the delivery of drugs and large therapeutic molecules such as DNA and siRNA for the treatment of incurable diseases such as genetic disorders and cancer, through designing and developing novel non-viral gene delivery vectors and understanding their interactions with cellular membranes. A recent study involved the administration of such vectors to the brain via convection enhanced delivery (CED) for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

I have been particularly interested in optimising gene delivery vectors through understanding their structure and physicochemical properties and correlating it to their biological activity, intracellular trafficking, interaction with biological membranes, and ability to overcome cellular barriers.These structure activity relationship studies have been probed using a wide array of techniques such as light scattering, small angle neutron scattering (SANS), neutron reflectivity, circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy, imaging techniques such as confocal and electron microscopy; and biological testing to determine gene transfection, knockdown, toxicity and cell permeability both in-vitro and in-vivo.

Currently, I am interested in understanding the interaction between gene delivery vectors with endosomal membranes (the main barrier to DNA delivery) and designing novel molecules that act as helper lipids to help overcome those barriers and aid DNA entry into the cell nucleus. 

Scholarly biography

I graduated with a first class (Hons) degree in Pharmacy from Liverpool John Moores University, and qualified as a pharmacist after having completed her pre-registration training in both community and hospital pharmacy. I was then awarded the Overseas Research Student Award Scheme (ORSA) from the University of London to undertake a PhD in non-viral gene delivery at King’s College London under the supervision of Prof. Jayne Lawrence.

Following my PhD I was awarded the prestigious CW Maplethorpe Postdoctoral teaching and research fellowship to study the fate of novel lipopolyplex gene delivery vectors in cancer cells, and an EPSRC fellowship to develop novel anionic gene therapy vectors administered to the brain via convection enhanced delivery (CED) for the targeted treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. I then became a lecturer at King’s College London before taking up a senior lectureship position at the University of Brighton.

Approach to teaching

I teach on the MPharm course in the areas of pharmaceutics and biopharmaceutics. My main aim in teaching is to convey a high level of understanding, since this leads to a deeper approach to learning. I therefore use various teaching aids such as animations, short videos and in-class demonstrations to stimulate visual learning and maintain high attention span. My lectures are highly interactive - I like to ask questions and use polling software that allows students to answer questions anonymously with a simple click of a button from their computers or mobile phones. This gives me instant information on the students’ knowledge and understanding, and gives the students instant feedback to the questions. 

Supervisory Interests

I would be interested in supervising undergraduate/Masters/PhD students in the general area of nanomedicines, including the design and formulation of nanoparticles using small drug molecules or large molecules, such as DNA or siRNA for the treatment of cancer or other chronic conditions. I am also interested in understanding cellular barriers and figuring out strategies of overcoming them in order to improve the efficacy of non-viral gene therapy vectors. Skilled, motivated and enthusiastic PhD students are particularly welcome. 


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