POSTDOCS

Dr Cath
Adam

Cath obtained her MChem from the University of Edinburgh, spending a year in Process R&D at AZ. She remained in Edinburgh for her PhD in the Cockroft group, using molecular balances to probe the effect of solvents on non-covalent interactions. She began her first postdoc in 2014 with the Clayden group in Manchester (moving with them to Bristol), in the field of foldamer chemistry. During this project she strengthened her expertise in supramolecular chemistry by investigating the communication of information between helical-peptide foldamers, and also gained research skills at the chemistry-biology interface, while exploring their ability to form ion-channels across lipid membranes. She joins the lab as a postdoc funded by CRUK, to develop Pd-activatable precursors of bioactive small molecules for cancer therapy.

Dr Shiao Chow

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Shiao graduated in 2009 from the University of Queensland (Australia) with a 1st class hons Bachelor of Biotechnology degree. She started her PhD under the supervision of Prof D Fairlie. During this time, she worked in the interface of computational modelling, chemistry and biology to develop potent and selective serine protease inhibitors. Shiao pursued her first postdoct in 2014 as a Carl Tryggers Research Fellow with Assoc. Prof. L Odell at Uppsala University (Sweden). She led several methodology development projects to explore novel transformations focusing on palladium-, photoredox- and radical-mediated carbonylations, including the translation of these methodologies to 11C-radiochemistry. In 2016, Shiao began her second postdoc with the Nelson Group at the University of Leeds working on activity-directed synthesis of bioactive molecules.  She joined the Unciti-Broceta lab in 2018 as a MSCA Fellow to develop cell-targeting nanobots.

Dr Álvaro
Lorente

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Álvaro completed his BSc in Pharmacy (2014) and MSc in Drug Research, Development, Control and Innovation (2015) at the Universidad de Granada, where he then obtained his PhD working on the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of 6-alkoxypurines as kinase inhibitors. During his PhD, he visited the ECRC and exploited CuAAC reactions for the rapid diversification of small molecule libraries; and Structural Genomic Consortium - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he worked on the optimisation of several kinase inhibitors for different applications. Álvaro joined the Unciti-Broceta lab in 2019 and is currently working on the development of novel small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of glioblastoma and other cancers

Dr Mari Carmen Ortega

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Mari Carmen received a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Jaen (2010) and MSc Advanced Chemistry in from the University of Cordoba. She did her PhD in the lab of Prof. Santamaria in the INA (University of Zaragoza) on the study and preparation of nanostructured materials for cancer diagnosis and therapy, biocatalysis and catalysis environmental. In 2018, she moved to the lab ofProf. Luisa De Cola at the University of Strasbourg to do a postdoc on the delivery of peptides using nanocarriers and targeting units for biomedical application. She participated in a confidential project in collaboration with Novartis and L'Oreal. Currently, she has joined the Unciti-Broceta lab as a MSCA Fellow to develop novel catalytic devices capable to mediate bioorthogonal chemistry for cancer therapy.

Dr Rafa
Contreras-Montoya

Rafael obtained both his MBiotech (2014) and PhD in Chemistry (2019) from the University of Granada (Spain), supervised by Prof. Luis Álvarez de Cienfuegos and Dr. Juan J. Díaz-Mochón. He studied the application of peptide-based supramolecular gels to obtain composite materials, especially composite protein crystals. He continued this research as postdoctoral researcher at Dr. José A. Gavira’s group at the Laboratory for Crystallographic Studies (Armilla, Granada, Spain). In 2020, he moved to the United Kingdom to take on postdoctoral research associate position at Durham University with Prof. Jonathan W. Steed. In 2021, he joined Unciti-Broceta’s group as MSCA postdoctoral fellow, where he is working in the development of novel bio-orthogonal catalysis-based therapeutic tools.

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PHD STUDENTS

Dan Baillache

Dan, from Sevenoaks in Kent, has recently moved to Edinburgh, having just completed a MChem (Hons) in Chemistry with Industrial Training at the University of Bath. As part of his first degree, he undertook an industrial placement with GlaxoSmithKline, based at the Medicines Research Centre (Stevenage). While at GSK, he worked on the development and synthesis of novel small molecule drugs for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. On his return to Bath, his final year project, "Catalytic Arylnitrenium Ion Generation for Metal-Free Biaryl Synthesis", was completed under the supervision of Dr Alex Cresswell. He joined the Unciti-Broceta lab in 2017 to start his PhD, focusing on the rapid development of kinase inhibitors for the treatment of brain malignancies.

 

Cecilia C. Ayala-Aguilera

Cecilia was born in Mexico City. She obtained her BSc in Biological Pharmaceutical Chemistry (2013) from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Then, Cecilia was awarded the CONACyT scholarship by the Mexican Government to study a MSc in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh (2016).  Her master dissertation on the "Identification Peptides Binding to Ovotransferrins with Phage Display" was completed under the supervision of Professor Manfred Auer.  She joined the Unciti-Broceta group as a PhD student founded by CONACyT (2018), to develop novel antiproliferative kinase inhibitors against esophageal cancer.

 

Stephen Croke

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Stephen grew up in Dublin. He studied Medicinal Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin, where he undertook a final year research project into developing DNA FIT-probes. He then went on to continue his studies at Imperial College London where he completed an MRes in Drug Discovery and Development. During his time there he worked on the development of novel therapies for ER+ breast cancer. He joined the Unciti-Broceta lab as a MSCA fellow under the THERACAT project. His PhD will focus on the development of novel bio-orthogonal catalysis-based tools for cancer therapy.

 

Melissa van de L'Isle

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Melissa grew up in the Netherlands and obtained her BSc in Chemistry and MSc in Chemical Biology, respectively from the University of Applied Sciences Hogeschool Utrecht and Leiden University. Her master thesis concerned the synthesis of non-covalent inhibitors for glucosylceramide synthase. She did an Erasmus internship focusing on the synthesis of 3’-C-ethynyl adenosine analogues at Ghent University (Belgium). Afterwards, she went on to work as technical assistant/ lab technician at LDC Dortmund (Germany). She joined the Unciti-Broceta group as a MSCA fellow as part of the THERACAT consortium in 2019 to work on the development and evaluation of new catalytic devices capable to mediate bioorthogonal chemistry in cell culture and in vivo.

 

Ben
King

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Ben was born in Melbourne but grew up in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. He completed a Medical Sciences BSc at the University of Leeds, taking particular interest in cancer and underlying signalling networks. Ben subsequently continued his studies at Imperial College London, obtaining an MRes in Cancer Biology (Cancer Informatics). Through his MRes, including a project investigating differential genome-wide methylation patterns in HGSOC, he developed a deep interest in the application of bioinformatics and machine learning in cancer research. He joined the Unciti-Broceta lab in 2021; his PhD will focus on identifying pan-cancer genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic signatures that predict eCF506 sensitivity and resistance.

Iñigo Lanzagorta-Calvillo

Iñigo grew up in Madrid (Spain) and spent his teenage years in Houston (USA), before moving to the UK for university. He graduated in 2020 from the University of Sussex with a 1st class MSc (Hons) in Biochemistry. Following his studies, Iñigo worked in the biopharmaceutical industry for 16 months. He first worked at Evotec (UK) within their Structural Biology department, focusing on bacterial expression systems and protein purification; later, he worked at Allergy Therapeutics within their R&D department, specialising on method development for the quality control of vaccines and allergens. He recently joined the Unciti-Broceta lab in the autumn of 2021 to undertake his PhD, which will investigate the selective SRC/nonABL inhibitor, eCF506.

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