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Funded Investigators:

Prof. Kevin Kavanagh, Maynooth University, Dr Finbarr O’Sullivan, Dublin City University, Prof. Andrew Kellett, Dublin City University, Dr Paula Meleady, Dublin City University, Dr Kieran McGourty, University of Limerick

Theme Leader:

Prof. Martin Clynes
Dublin City University

Molecule III

Overall Objective

The rationale around building the Molecules III leadership team was our opinion that many of the pure chemistry aspects of SSPC would be enhanced, particularly in terms of attractiveness of us to industry, by having access to systems to evaluate interaction with living biological systems.

In particular, we provide a range of in vitro cell culture systems for assessing tissue-specific toxicity and efficacy of specific/drugs in diseases such as cancer and diabetes , biocompatibility and interaction with surfaces. Cell culture systems are generally faster, more ethically acceptable, cheaper and more flexible than animal testing even though some of this may be necessary afterwards – the initial use of cell culture systems is likely to reduce the extent to which animal testing is needed, and the number of animals used.

Key Scientific Expertise

  • Microbial systems/antibiotic resistance
  • Diabetes models, glucose uptake, muscle, biological oxidation
  • Biological chemistry, design and in vitro e valuation of novel potential cancer chemotherapy drugs
  • Differentiated human cell models for intestinal transport, skin, ocular surface, lung
  • Cell culture models for cancer and drug resistance; cells used by Biopharma

The specific research projects encompass:

  • Cancer Biology and Pharmacology – focus on pancreatic cancer
  • Toxicity and Tissue -Specific human cell culture systems –focus on Tissue Engineering of the eye
  • Drug Resistance in Cancer
  • Diabetes, obesity, exercise physiology,muscle metabolism,
  • Biological Oxidation Processes
  • Process Development (upstream – downstream interaction) for the Biopharma Industry
  • Advanced LC-MS-MS Proteomic analysis
  • Bioorthogonal Click chemistry to develop hybrid drugs and new gene editing reagents

Industrial Significance

The specific research questions being addressed by the Molecules III Team are in themselves of interest to industry, in particular to industry developing new therapeutic agents for cancer, diabetes, obesity and bacterial and fungal infections. In addition, the expertise being developed in this strand could, we believe, enhance the offerings to industry from other, more purely chemical, strands by providing biological information on toxicity, efficacy, biocompatibility and interaction between cells and surfaces. Some knowledge on demonstrated biological effects can help to derisk a project from Industry’s point of view.

The Molecules III leadership team also has wide experience of research collaboration with the biopharmaceutical industry, and therefore a good understanding of what this industry is looking for externally in research collaborations.

 Molecules III Research Byte

Check out this 3-minute video from PhD students, Magda Piatek, Maynooth University.

Magda Piatek

Maynooth University

Magda is a PhD student, working under the supervision of Prof. Kevin Kavanagh. She works on repurposed antimicrobial therapies, as the emergence of resistant pathogens due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics have branded many existing treatments inactive. A big part of her work is to better understand drugs at a molecular level, which can inform drug synthesis to create better formulations against drug resistance.