People

Richard FosterDr Richard Foster

Medicinal Chemistry Group Leader and Associate Professor

Richard  joined the University of Leeds following a career in the pharmaceutical industry during which time he worked as a senior medicinal chemist and project manager responsible for leading drug discovery programmes across all stages of the preclinical drug discovery process from hit identification through to lead optimisation.

At Leeds, Richard is Associate Professor & Group Leader of Medicinal Chemistry. His research group provides an integrated medicinal chemistry, high-throughput screening and molecular modelling capability for the identification and optimisation of small molecule therapeutics and chemical probes.

Richard is also the Scientific Founder and Head of Chemistry at LUNAC Therapeutics. LUNAC Therapeutics is a spin out from the University of Leeds pursuing the discovery of next generation oral anticoagulant therapies with a reduced risk of causing bleeding compared to current treatments.


Post-doctoral research associates

Dr Charlotte Revill
Charlotte joined the group from the Dundee Drug Discovery unit following a MChem (Medicinal Chemistry) and a PhD in medicinal chemistry  from the University of Newcastle. Charlotte is working on a project to identify and develop small molecule modulators of the Piezo1 mechanosensitive ion channel as potential therapeutics. Previously within the group she has worked on a multi-year hit-to-lead development programme targeted at the optimisation of novel anti-thrombotics.

Dr Rachel Trowbridge
Rachel is working on a number of high-throughput assay transfer and screening projects directed at various biological targets of interest to the research group. Rachel has industrial experience in the biotech sector and was educated at the University of Edinburgh and King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry.

 

Dr Yong Xu
Yong is working on a Wellcome Trust funded project to identify chemical tools as modulators of aggregation prone and intrinsically disordered proteins as novel strategies to target amyloidosis. Yong joined the group from King’s College London where he was awarded his PhD researching the development of novel chemical tools to interrogate glycosyl transferase function for anti-viral therapy. Yong is co-supervised by Sheena Radford (Leeds).

 

Dr James Ayres
James is working on a Innovate UK funded project to optimise small molecule inhibitors of a serine protease of interest to the research group. Previous to this within the group he’s worked on a project to optimise antagonists of an ion channel as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.   James joined us from the Morrill group at Cardiff University where he was  awarded a PhD  for  research aimed at the development of novel  routes towards the synthesis of cyanamides.

 

Dr Sonia Abas-Prades
Sonia is working on a Innovate UK funded project to optimise small molecule inhibitors of a protease of interest to the research group.  Previous to this within the group she has worked on a project to optimise inhibitors as a therapeutic strategy to prevent excessive bleeding. Sonia joined us from the University of Barcelona where she was  awarded a PhD  on the development of novel isocyanide mediated routes to compounds of biological interest.

 

Dr Clara Herrera-Arozamena
Clara is working on a MRC funded project to identify and optimise small antagonists  of an ion channel of interest to the research group.  Clara joined us from the University Complutense Madrid (UCM) where she was recently awarded a PhD  on the design and synthesis of multi-targeted agents for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and photoswitchable muscular nicotinic receptor ligands. Clara is a graduate (BS Chemistry) from the University of Oviedo and has a MS in Organic Chemistry from UCM.

 

 


PhD students

Sarah Ward
Sarah is a 4th year PhD student funded by the EPSRC. Sarah is researching the development of an innovative class of protein-protein interaction inhibitors for the treatment of cancer using a combination of synthetic chemistry, fragment screening and structural biology. Sarah received her degree in 2016 from the University of Leeds (Natural Sciences). Sarah is co-supervised by Richard Bayliss (FBS, Leeds).

Holly Foster
Holly is a 3rd year PhD student funded by the BHF working on the development of various medicinal chemistry approaches to arrest thrombosis with  minimal bleeding risk. Holly received her degree in 2017 from the University of Leeds (MChem, Chemistry). Holly is co-supervised by Helen Philippou (FMH, Leeds) and Colin Fishwick (Chemistry, Leeds)

 

 

James Duncan
James is a 3rd year PhD student funded by the MRC working on a project to  identify  inhibitors of a transferase as a novel strategy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. James received his degree in 2016 from the University of Loughborough (BSc, Chemistry) and then followed this up in 2017 with a MRes in Drug Discovery and Development from Imperial College. James is co-supervised by Jessica Kwok (FBS, Leeds).

 

 

Belinda Mills
Belinda is a 2nd year PhD student funded by the MRC working on the design, synthesis and biological characterisation of novel metalloprotease inhibitors for the potential treatment of malaria and cancer. She received her degree in 2018 from the University of Leeds (MChem, Medicinal Chemistry). Belinda is co-supervised by Elwyn Isaac (FBS, Leeds).

 

 

May-Li Mackinnon
May is a 2nd year PhD student funded by the EPSRC working on the development of novel antagonists of a GPCR of interest to our research group as a possible strategy for the  treatment of glioblastoma. She received her degree in 2018 from the University of Nottingham (MChem, Medicinal Chemistry).  May is co-supervised by Colin Fishwick (Chemistry, Leeds).

 

 

Jacob Kinsella
Jacob is a 1st year PhD student funded by the BHF working on the design, synthesis and biological characterisation of novel modulators of the mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo1. He received his degree in 2019 from the University of Manchester (MChem, Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry). Jacob is co-supervised by David Beech(FMH, Leeds), and Adam Nelson (Chemistry).

 

 

Greg Kettley

Greg is a 1st year PhD student funded by a Mary and Alice Smith Memorial Scholarship working on the design, synthesis and biological characterisation of inhibitors of the AuroraA/NMyc interaction as agents to treat cancer. He received his degree in 2019 from the University of Manchester (MChem, Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry). Greg is co-supervised by Richard Bayliss (FBS, Leeds)

 

Tim Richmond

Tim is a 1st year PhD student funded by a LIRS scholarship working on the development of a novel PROTAC to target degradation of SPOP proteins as an anti-cancer strategy.  He received his degree in 2019 from the University of Durham (MChem, Chemistry). Tim is co-supervised by Stephanie Wright (FBS, Leeds).

 

Freddy Weaver

Freddy is a 1st year PhD student funded by the BBSRC working on the design, synthesis and biological characterisation of  modulators of the STIP/HOP proteins as a novel anti-viral strategy. He received his degree in 2019 from the University of Sheffield (MChem, Chemistry). Freddy is co-supervised by Adrian Whitehouse (FBS, Leeds)


Masters students

Stewart Holloway

Stewart is a 4th year MChem (Medicinal Chemistry) student working on a project to design and optimise novel inhibitors of the m-Pro protease of  SARS-COV-2 as novel anti-viral agents.

 

Ella Burn
Ella is a 4th year MChem (Medicinal Chemistry) student working on a project to optimise small molecule inhibitors of a serine protease as a potential treatment for excessive bleeding.

 


Previous group members

PDRA

  • Jeff Plante: now at LHASA (UK)
  • Ian Yule: now at Evotec
  • Jayakanth Kankanala: now a PDRA at the University of Michigan
  • Sarah Kidd: now at Cambridge-based start-up company

PhD

  • Rachael Tennant: now a senior scientist at LHASA
  • Syikin Hamzah: now has an academic position  in Malaysia
  • Chris Fitzpatrick: now a computational chemist at CRUK
  • Kevin Cuthburtson: now working as a chemist at Eurofins
  • Ravi Singh: now a PDRA with Ed Tate (Imperial)
  • Katherine Norman: now a PDRA at University of Durham