Introduction to Chris Allender’s group at Cardiff University School of Pharmacy

The group focuses on research related to various aspects of drug delivery, point of care diagnostics and molecular imprinting of biomolecules. Dr. Chris Allender obtained his PhD from Cardiff University in 1998 and is currently a senior lecturer at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University. He currently supervises 3 PhD students: Nicholas Williams, Danielle Huckle, Vibha Tamboli and 2 post doctoral researchers Dr. Jenna Bowen and Dr. Erika Loizidou. His research interests include:

Synthetic Molecular Recognition

  • Molecular Imprinting / Template directed polymerisation
  • Phage display
  • Bio-synthetic ‘antibody-like’ materials

Microfabrication and microfluidics

  • Lab-on-a-chip
  • Multiphasic on-chip chemical separations
  • Microreactors
  • Nanopatterning and molecular gradients

Drug Delivery

  • Drug delivery from renal stents
  • Intelligent drug delvery systems
  • Microneedle mediated drug delivery
  • (Epi)dermal genetic vaccination
  • Macro / micro molecular drug deliveryImage

( L to R: Dr. Jenna Bowen, Dr. Chris Allender and Nicholas Williams)

Dr. Jenna Bowen

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Dr Jenna Bowen graduated from the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2006. Following completion of a pre-registration year in community pharmacy, she returned to the department to undertake a PhD under the supervision of Drs Chris Allender and Mark Gumbleton, which she successfully defended in November 2011. Her PhD – “Detection of Lipopolysaccharide Pyrogens by Molecularly Imprinted Polymers” – aimed to generate synthetic molecular recognition materials capable of selectively detecting / sequestering Gram – negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide from biological fluids. Throughout this work she developed significant experience in the synthesis of solid supports (polymeric, magnetic and gold) and the subsequent controlled functionalisation of their surfaces to accommodate high affinity recognition motifs. Now working as a post – doctoral researcher, her focus has expanded to the use of such synthetic systems in the development of diagnostics. To this end, she has established collaborations with scientists, clinical academics and industrial partners from around the UK and within the EU and has played a role in securing in excess of £500K of research funding from national and international sources over the last year to develop clinically useful, PoC diagnostic platforms.
Publications:
1. Williams SE, Davies PR, Bowen JL and Allender CJ. Controlling the nanoscale patterning of AuNPs on silicon surfaces. Nanomaterials, 2013, 3, 192 – 203. (DOI: 10.3390/nano3010192).
2. Bowen JL, Manesiostis P and Allender CJ. Twenty years of imprinting since the first antibody mimics: A critical perspective. Molecular Imprinting, 2012, 1, 35 – 39. (DOI: 10.2478/molim-2013-0001).
3. Bowen JL, Kelly MA, Davies PR, Gumbleton M and Allender C.J. A simple zero length surface-modification approach for preparing novel bifunctional supports for co-immobilisation studies. Tetrahedron Letters, 2012, 53, 3727 – 3730. (DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2012.04.116).
4. Bowen JL and Heard CM. Film drying and complexation effects in the
simultaneous skin permeation of ketoprofen and propylene glycol from simple gel formulations. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2006, 307, 251-257. (DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2005.10.014)
5. Richards H, Thomas CP, Bowen JL and Heard CM. In Vitro Transcutaneous delivery of ketoprofen and polyunsaturated fatty acids from a pluronic lecithin organogel vehicle containing fish oil. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 58 (2006) 903-908. (DOI 10.1211/jpp.58.7.0004).

Vibha Tamboli

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Vibha Tamboli

I am an early stage researcher in the PROSENSE network in Chris Allender’s lab. My project focus is on developing synthetic receptors for prostrate cancer biomarkers using molecular imprinting.In this project, the technique of molecular imprinting (MI) will be used to generate a range of synthetic receptors for prostate cancer specific biomarkers. Initially, exposed epitope regions of biomarkers will be identified and short peptide sequences from the region synthesised. Synthesised epitopes will be used as templates in a MI approach. A range of surface chemistries and characterisation techniques will be used to generate bi-functional surfaces. One chemical group will be used to attach the peptide (epitope) while the other will immobilise the initiation species to allow for controlled polymer growth. Following attachment of the epitope to the surface, polymer growth will be initiated to give surface bound recognition sites to biomarkers. Following full validation of the synthetic receptors, the systems will be tested at a local SME (Applied Enzyme Technology) and at the University of Bath to evaluate the systems potential as recognition elements in an electrochemical sensing strategy. My research is funded by Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITNs) (PROSENSE network) FP7.

I completed my Masters in Biotechnology from Northwestern University, IL US in June 2012. I researched on biomaterials for drug delivery at Institute of Bionanotechnolgoy Chicago. Investigated the role of peptide amphiphiles to release potent signalling molecules and signalling gases and evaluating their bioactive function as disease therapeutics in vitro. Signalling molecules investigated were CO, NO, H2S and dexamethasone. CO releasing peptide amphiphiles were studied for their anti-inflammatory properties and cardioprotective effects on mammalian cell lines. I also worked as an intern at Ohmx corporation,Evanston IL and developed biosensors for detection of small metabolites.

I completed my Bachelors in biotechnology engineering from Pune University, India in 2010.

Scientific Publications:
1. “A Peptide-Based Material for Therapeutic Carbon Monoxide Delivery”
Matson, J. B.; Webber, M. J.; Tamboli, V. K.; Weber, B.; Stupp, S. I.Soft Matter 8(25), (2012) 6689-6692.
2. “Controlled Release of Dexamethasone from Peptide Nanofiber Gels to Modulate Inflammatory Response”
Webber, M. J.; Matson, J. B.; Tamboli, V. K.; Stupp, S. I. Biomaterials33(28), (2012) 6823-6832

Dr. Danielle Huckle

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Dr. Danielle Huckle

Jointly supervised by Professor Judith Hall (Cardiff University School of Medicine) and Dr Chris Allender (School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Science), my PhD research focus is the development of efficient biosensors for lipopolysaccharide detection in sepsis using molecular imprinting techniques. As an anaesthetic specialist trainee in the Welsh deanery, I currently undertake regular clinical sessions at the University Hospital Llandough in anaesthetics and intensive care medicine. With an interest in the history of anaesthesia and medicine I am also the assistant curator of the Mushin Museum, an anaesthetic museum at the University Hospital Wales.

Nicholas Williams

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 Nicholas Williams

Supervised by Dr Chris Allender my research focuses on local drug delivery to the urinary tract. Specifically I am interested in developing and utilising ex vivo porcine models to drive the rational development of future local delivery strategies. I have a particular interest in ureteral stents and the opportunity local delivery provides for the alleviation of stent-related symptoms. My research is sponsored by Boston Scientific, US.

Publications 

Williams N, Allender C, Bowen J, Gumbleton M, Al-Jayyoussi G, Joshi H, et al. An ex vivoinvestigation into the transurothelial permeability and bladder wall distribution of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory ketorolac. Manuscript submitted for publication. 2013.

Conferences 2013

  • Williams N, Allender C, Bowen J, Gumbleton M, Joshi H, Harrah T, et al. Ex vivo investigations into the urothelial permeability of oxybutynin, ketorolac and tamsulosin; potential candidates for a drug eluting ureteral stent. Paper presented in podium session at the British Association of Urological Surgeons Section of Endourology Annual Meeting, London; April 2013.
  • Williams N, Allender C, Bowen J, Gumbleton M, Joshi H, Harrah T, et al. An ex vivo investigation into the viability of delivering α-blockers locally for ureteral stent-related discomfort. Poster session presented at the American Urological Association Annual Conference, San Diego; May 2013.
  • Williams N, Allender C, Bowen J, Gumbleton M, Joshi H, Harrah T, et al. An ex vivo investigation into the viability of delivering α-blockers locally for ureteric stent-related discomfort. Poster session presented at the British Association of Urological Surgeons Annual Conference, Manchester; June 2013.