The group currently comprises 15 postdoctoral researchers, 8 DPhil students, 1 MSc student, 4 Part II students and 3 academic advisors based within the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Pharmacology.
Academic Advisors
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Dr Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne studied at the University of Nottingham gaining his BSc (Hons) in 1992 and PhD in 1995 under the supervision of Professor Gerry Pattenden. Following postdoctoral work with Professor Lew Mander at ANU (Canberra), he joined Aston Molecules Ltd, later OSI Pharmaceuticals where he led the chemistry team that discovered OSI-930, a dual kit-KDR kinase inhibitor which progressed into clinical trials. In 2005 he joined the University of Oxford spin-out company VASTOx Ltd (now Summit Therapeutics plc) leading the medicinal chemistry team which discovered SMT-C1100 a potential first-in-class treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Since 2009 he has worked at the University of Oxford with AJR and Professor Steve Davies on various drug discovery targets, including oncology, muscular dystrophy and stem cell modulation.
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Dr Robert Westwood
Robert Westwood studied Chemistry at the University of Hull and gained his PhD with Dr R.M. Scrowston and Professor N.B. Chapman. He was a post-doctoral fellow with Professor J.W. Lown in the University of Alberta, Edmonton and with Professor D.H. Williams in the University of Cambridge. In the industrial environment he was Research Director for Roussel Laboratories Ltd in the UK before joining Roussel Uclaf in Paris as Responsable Recherche Immunology. After a brief period as Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Hull University he then joined Cyclacel Ltd as Head of Preclinical Development. He is currently a visiting academic at the University of Oxford.
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Dr Peter Kennewell
Peter D. Kennewell studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and gained his PhD with Professor Alan Katritzky at the University of East Anglia. He was a post-doctoral fellow with Professor Ned Heindel at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania working on anti-malarial agents. He joined Roussel Laboratories (now part of Sanofi-Aventis) as a medicinal chemist and subsequently held a number of increasingly senior research management roles until the UK research department was closed following the merger of Hoechst-Roussel with Marion Merrell Dow in 1995. He then joined the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council with a particular interest in encouraging chemists to apply their skills to attacking biological problems. In retirement he has mentored a number of on-line medicinal chemistry courses.
Postdoctoral Researchers
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Dr Carole Bataille
I did my undergraduate in Organic Chemistry at the University of Rouen and obtained my PhD on permanganate oxidative cyclisation under the supervision of Dr R.C.D. Brown at the University of Southampton. I then undertook two consecutive post-doctoral positions with Professor T.J. Donohoe on tethered aminohydroxylation methodology and with Dr J.M. Brown on resolution of stereolabile biaryl ligands using novel chiral dienes at the Chemistry Research Laboratory, Oxford.
I previously worked as a senior post-doctoral researcher in the AJR group and with Professor S.G. Davies, at Oxford. I had the opportunity to work on a range of medicinal chemistry projects from synthesizing novel PIM kinase inhibitors used in the treatment of cancer, to anti-viral agents against Hepatitis C virus as well as novel compounds used in the proliferation of stem cells and their selective differentiation.
I am currently working on a collaborative project with Professor TH Rabbitts funded by Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research on the synthesis of novel chiral small molecules, used in protein-protein interaction to prevent, proliferation of cancer cells via a fragment-based approach and in silico methods using inhibition antibody fragments as structured templates.
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Dr Liam Bromhead
I obtained my undergraduate degree from the University of Sydney majoring in chemistry and immunobiology. In 2016 I completed my PhD at the same institution under the supervision of Prof. Chris McErlean. My research involved the synthesis of strigolactone analogues. Strigolactones are an emergent class of phytohormone involved in controlling plant architecture and responses to environmental stress. These compounds also act as signalling agents to promote symbiosis with fungi and have been exploited by parasitic weed species. During 2015 I undertook a research exchange at the University of Oxford with Prof. Jonathan Burton, working on the synthesis of polyene natural products. Currently, I am working with Professors Angela Russell and Steve Davies in the OxStem Neuro research programme, where we aim to develop small molecule drugs to promote neurogenesis and treat Alzheimer’s disease..
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Dr Tom Carter
I obtained my undergraduate degree (MSci) from University of Bristol, including a research project with Dr. S. P. Thomas on iron-catalysed hydrogenations. I then joined the Chemical Synthesis Centre for Doctoral Training (University of Bristol) and completed research placements in mechanistic (Prof. G. Lloyd-Jones), catalytic (Prof. R. Bedford) and supramolecular (Prof. A. P. Davis) chemistry. Following these, I chose a project with Prof. A. P. Davis, Dr. M. C. Galan and Prof. M. P. Crump on the design, synthesis and testing of novel 'Synthetic Lectins'. Synthetic lectins are molecules able to non-covalently bind carbohydrates in water, my project involved the use of pyrene to incorporate a sensing capability and improve binding affinities. After gaining my doctorate I joined Ziylo Ltd, a start-up company that is working to commercialise Synthetic Lectins for application in areas as diverse as diabetes and fermentation. During this time I was also involved with Ziylo's sister company UnitDX, that is building a lab space for start-ups in Bristol. I have joined the Russell group as a medicinal chemist in the OxStem Neuro team, aiming to develop neurogenesis inducing small molecules for use in regenerative therapies.
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Dr Thomas Cogswell
I obtained my undergraduate degree (MSci) at the University of Bristol, with my Master’s project being carried out under the supervision of Prof. A. Davis, working on the synthesis of steroidal systems for anion recognition. I then moved to the University of Glasgow to pursue my postgraduate studies working on a CASE directed project sponsored by AstraZeneca under the supervision of Prof. R. Marquez. The research was focused on the synthesis of fluorinated nitrogen heterocycles via the ring-closing metathesis of vinyl fluorides. Following this, I moved to AstraZeneca Gothenburg to carry out my Post-doctoral research, as part of the Fluor21 initial training network, on the synthesis and conformational analysis of fluorinated macrocycles. Funded by Oxstem Oncology, I joined the group in September 2017 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on the medicinal chemistry program to develop new cancer treatments through the manipulation of stem cells.
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Dr Maria Chatzopoulou
I obtained my MPharm from the Department of Pharmacy of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2006). Following my graduation I enrolled for a MSc and PhD (Scholarship from the Greek State Scholarship Foundation, IKY) in the same Department. During this time, my research focus was the design and synthesis of bioactive N-heterocyclic derivatives. After the successful defence of my PhD Thesis, I continued working in the group of Prof. Demopoulos as a Postdoctoral Fellow (Excellence award from Aristotle University’s Research Committee for Post-Doctoral studies in Pharmacy, 2012) in the project “Aldose reductase inhibitors unionized in the physiological pH range”. I had also the opportunity to visit the laboratory of Prof. A. Tsantili-Kakoulidou, where I trained in experimental calculation of physicochemical properties. In March 2014, I joined the group of Dr. E. Pitsinos, in the Laboratory of natural product synthesis and bioorganic chemistry, Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, NCSR “Demokritos”) as a PDRA where I worked on the design, synthesis and in vitro evaluation of analogues of the furanoditerpenoid Taepeenin D targeting the Hedgehog signaling pathway. Currently, I am working in the AJR group in a drug discovery project targeting small molecule modulators of utrophin for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
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Dr Enrico Emer
I obtained my undergraduate degree from the Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna (Italy) in 2005. I continued my postgraduate studies at the same department under the supervision of Prof. Daria Giacomini. During this time I worked on the chemoenzymatic synthesis of optically pure Profens, in collaboration with the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology (Dublin). Following my Ph.D. I completed a SPINNER-funded 12 month Postdoctoral placement in the group of Dr. Greta Varchi at the National Council of Research, Italy, focusing on the synthesis and evaluation of new SARMs for the treatment of prostate cancer. Then, in 2010 I joined the group of Prof. P. G. Cozzi as a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on the development of a new route for the synthesis of anti-influenza therapeutics and organocatalyitic stereoselective α-alkylation of carbonyl compounds by SN1-type mechanism. In April 2012 I joined the group of Prof. V. Gouverneur as a Marie-Curie Fellow where I spent five years working on new transition metal approaches for the synthesis of 18F-radiopharmaceuticals. Currently, I am working in the Prof. Russell’s group in a drug discovery project targeting small molecule modulators of utrophin for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
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Dr Sebastien Galan
After graduating as an Ingénieur chimiste from l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille with a MChem in Medicinal Chemistry at University of Leeds, I specialised further with a Mastère in Drug Design at University of Lille 2. My professional experience includes 10 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having worked at Pfizer (9 years) and then Evotec, before studying for a PhD in Chemical biology with Prof. Ben Davis at University of Oxford. I am currently part of the Russell group researching new classes of drugs that can stimulate endogenous stem cells towards the treatment of ocular and neurodegenerative diseases funded by OxStem Neuro and Ocular.
Dr Irene Georgiou
After graduating from the University of Cyprus, I moved to Durham to pursue my postgraduate studies under the supervision of Prof. Andy Whiting. During this time I worked on the synthesis and application of aminoboronic acids as organocatalysts. Following completion of my PhD studies I joined Prof. Davide Bonifazis group at the University of Namur (Belgium), investigating the use of boronic acids as building blocks in supramolecular chemistry. I then returned to the UK, at the University of Nottingham as a postdoctoral fellow, working with Prof. Rob Stockman and Prof. Chris Moody. My research aimed in the synthesis of chemical scaffolds for the IMI European Lead Factory project. In May 2017, I began work under the supervision of Prof Angela Russell and Prof Steve Davies, as part of the OxStem Cardio-funded research programme.

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Dr Chris Greaves
After obtaining a natural sciences degree at the University of Cambridge, I joined the Cambridge Nanoscience Doctoral Training Centre. This led into my PhD project, carried out with Dr. Nick Bampos, on the synthesis of heteroleptic metallosupramolecular porphyrin assemblies. I subsequently took a position as a postdoctoral researcher at Syngenta, where my role was to evaluate novel photoredox methodologies and late-stage diversification chemistry towards the synthesis of compounds with herbicidal activity. I am now working as part of the Cardio team funded by OxStem.
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Dr Morgan Jay-Smith
In December 2016 I completed my PhD in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Auckland, New Zealand with Dist. Prof Margaret Brimble and Dr David Rennison. My research involved the development of carbon monoxide releasing molecules as novel rodenticides, and synthetic investigations into improving the efficacy of the known rat toxicant norbormide. Before this I obtained an honours degree within the same group focusing on the synthesis of the spiroacetal core of the marine natural product paecilospirone. Being New Zealand born it has been an incredible opportunity to be offered a postdoctoral research position across the globe for Profs Angela Russell and Steve Davies. Currently I am working on developing small molecules to inhibit the aggregation and differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells within in vitro cultures.
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Dr Laia Josa-Culleré
I obtained my undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Barcelona. I then moved to the University of Cambridge to undertake an MPhil in Organic Chemistry in the group of Dr Finian Leeper, where I worked on the bioorthogonal labelling of cell-surface glycans for cancer imaging. I pursued my postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford in Prof Mark Moloney’s group, investigating the use of bicyclic tetramates as core structures to prepare anticancer and antibacterial compounds, and completed my PhD (as part of a Marie Curie funded DPhil programme called OxIOSCR) in 2016. I joined the Russell group in October 2016, funded by OxStem Oncology, working on the identification of a new class of drugs that will differentiate 'cancer stem-like cells' (CSLCs) to more benign states to improve clinical outcomes and overcome resistance/relapse.
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Dr Katrina Madden
I obtained my undergraduate degree (MChem with Industrial Experience) from Durham University and spent my final year working as a synthetic chemist at AstraZeneca in R&D at Alderley Park, Cheshire. After this I returned to Durham to take up a PhD with Professor Andy Whiting, on a project entitled 'Synthesis of Polyene Natural Products.' The aim of this project was to synthesise a number of Xanthomonas pigments, along with relevant biological analogues, in order to understand more about them as a class of photoprotective compounds. The project also focussed on building up long chain polyene intermediates using palladium cross-coupling methodology. I joined the Russell group in January 2017 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, funded by OxStem Neuro and co-supervised by Professor Steve Davies, to work towards the synthesis of small molecules that promote neuroregeneration.
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Dr Laura Mola Sola
I obtained my undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Barcelona. I specialised in organic chemistry during my masters degree at University of Barcelona working with Professors Jaume Vilarrasa and Anna Maria Costa and studying new nucleosides protecting groups. I continued my postgraduate studies in the same research group working on the total synthesis of Amphidinolide E, a marine cytotoxic macrolide and completed my PhD. In summer 2014, I did a placement at University of Oxford with Prof. S. P. Fletcher working on asymmetric catalysis. I joined the Russell group in November 2016 as a Postdoctoral Researcher, funded by OxStem. My current research aims to identify new small molecules that activate neural or retinal stem cells to induce regeneration or repair of adult tissue.
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Dr Jessica Rowley
I obtained my undergraduate degree (BSc(Hons) in Organic Chemistry) from the University of Queensland in 2005, receiving a University Medal and the CSR Prize in Chemistry for achieving the highest grade in Chemistry Honours. During my project I synthesised fatty acid derivatives to explore the biosynthetic pathway of the spiroacetal sex pheromone produced by the fruit flies Bactrocera cacuminata and Bactrocera oleae. Since graduating, I have gained over 7 years of research experience in the discovery, design and development of drug candidates within both industrial and academic settings, including Progen Pharmaceuticals (Zucero Therapeutics Pty. Ltd) and Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery (Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery) under the supervision of Professor Ron Quinn. During my time at Progen Pharmaceuticals I was part of a small R&D team responsible for progressing an oncology drug candidate into phase I human clinical trials. In 2014 I pursued my postgraduate studies in Medicinal Chemistry/Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland under the supervision of Professor David Fairlie and Dr Robert Reid. During this time I worked on the design and synthesis of small molecule heterocyclic modulators of C3aR as potential therapeutics for inflammatory disease. In August 2017 I commenced as a Postdoctoral Research Associate under the supervision of Professor Angela Russell and Professor Steve Davies to work on small molecule utrophin modulators for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in collaboration with Professor Dame Kay Davies and Summit Therapeutics plc.
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Dr Laurence Silpa
During my undergraduate course, I was a research student in the School of Pharmacy in Tours (France) in Prof. Cecile Enguehard-Gueiffier’s group where I was able to synthesize variously substituted imidazo[1,2-a]pyridines as potential T. Gondii and C. Parvum inhibitors. I then pursued my Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Tours under the supervision of Prof. Mohamed Abarbri and investigated on the discovery of new molecules that could prevent and/or treat coccidiosis. I have joined Prof. Angela Russell’s group as a postdoctoral research associate. I am working in collaboration with Dr Sally Cowley on the development of chemical tools to promote induced pluripotent stem cells self renewal. This project is part of the Oxford-led StemBANCC consortium and is funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative.
DPhil Students
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Ria Dinsdale
I received my undergraduate degree in chemistry (MChem) from St John’s College, Oxford. My final year project was completed within the Russell group where I synthesised small molecules for the control of Trichuris trichuria (Whipworm). Now I have begun a DPhil in Pharmacology, funded by the British Heart Foundation Centre of Excellence, looking at understanding the molecular pharmacology of vascular calcium-activated chloride channels. This work will be carried out under the co-supervision of Paolo Tammaro and in collaboration with Phillip Stansfeld.
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Purnima Kumar
I am a second year DPhil student working on a project aiming to find novel compounds that work on targets promoting differentiation in AML cells. I completed my undergraduate studies in Applied Chemistry (BEng) at Kyushu University, Japan as a Japanese Government Scholarship Holder. On completion I moved to University of Oxford for obtaining Masters in Pharmacology (MSc Pharmacology). During this time I went to University of Queensland as an exchange student to complete my final year project which investigated the role of Prostaglandin D2 in virus induced bronchiolitis and Airway smooth muscle remodelling.
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Chris Lindsay
I obtained my MChem degree from St Hilda’s College, Oxford in 2015 and am now a DPhil student in Cardiovascular Medicinal Chemistry, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Centre of Excellence. My fourth year research project was supervised by Dr Christoph Loenarz and Prof Chris Schofield, where I worked on the synthesis of novel nucleoside phosphoramidites to develop a fluorescence based assay for a human 2OG oxygenase.
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Daniel Lucy
I received my undergraduate degree in chemistry (MChem) from Balliol College, Oxford in 2015. My final year project was completed under the supervision of Prof. Paul Beer where I was investigating the benefits of incorporating halogen bonding motifs into interlocked receptor molecules for anion recognition. Upon completion of my degree I have begun a DPhil in cardiovascular medicinal chemistry funded by the British Heart Foundation Centre of Excellence.
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Rachel Sim
I obtained my undergraduate degree in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (MSci) from Imperial College London. My final year project was completed under the supervision of Professor Tony Cass, where I worked on developing lateral flow assays for diagnostic purposes. I joined the Russell group as a DPhil student funded by the Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), to work towards elucidating the mechanism of small molecule modulators of neurogenesis.
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Aini Vuorinen
I'm a DPhil student in the AJR Group working in a drug discovery project in collaboration with Professor Dame Kay Davies and Professor Steve Davies, funded through Muscular Dystrophy UK. My research project is focused on the elucidation of the mechanism of action of small molecule modulators of utrophin for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Before joining the group I obtained my M.Sc. degree in organic chemistry at University of Jyväskylä, Finland. During this time I did my M.Sc. research project and worked as a summer research student in Professor Petri Pihko's group focusing on the topic of diastereoselective dehydrogenative Pd-catalyzed C-C coupling reactions.
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Isabel Wilkinson
I am a DPhil student on the EPSRC MRC SABS CDT program, working in the Russell group on the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy project in collaboration with Professor Dame Kay Davies and Dr Kilian Huber. Previously, I studied Natural Sciences (specialising in organic chemistry) at Christ's College, University of Cambridge, gaining MSci and BA Hons degrees. For my MSc project in the Paterson group, I investigated novel desymmetrising aldol reactions on meso-dialdehydes.
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Fern Woodhouse
I obtained my undergraduate degree in chemistry (MChem) from St Catherine’s College, Oxford in 2016. My final year Master’s research focused on a fragment-based approach to the development of acetyl-lysine mimics for the inhibition of bromodomains, under the supervision of Prof Stuart Conway. During my studies I also completed two internships, one with the Institute of Cancer Research in London and the other at Genentech, South San Francisco. I’m now a DPhil student on the EPSRC MRC SABS CDT programme, collaborating with GSK to work on elucidating the mechanistic profile of small molecule activators of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
MSc Students
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Maximilian Schuessler
I am an MSc student in Pharmacology at St. John’s College, and in my fifth year of medical school. During my pre-clinical studies in medicine at the University of Heidelberg, I worked at the German Cancer Research Centre on colorectal cancer and as a tutor in anatomy to undergraduate students. During my clinical studies, I trained and studied for two years in a range of university hospitals at Paris Descartes University.

My research, in collaboration with Dr Laurence Silpa and Dr Sally Cowley, focuses on the manipulation of stem cell fate and the optimisation of culturing condition for pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). My studies in Oxford are generously supported by Villigst and the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.
Part II Students
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Eleanor Atkinson
I am a final year MChem student at Merton college. During the summer of my second year I was a research student working under Dr Simon Collinson to create stable beads from chitosan on which to immobilise enzymes for use in waste management in industry. Currently I am investigating the stability of adducts of common cellular metabolites with a small molecule utrophin upregulator.
William Henshall
Details to follow
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Bridget Reeve
I’m a final year MChem student at Keble College. I joined the AJR group in August 2016 as a summer research student looking at small molecule modulators of neurogenesis. I have returned to complete my masters project, focusing on GPR84-mediated responses in macrophage phagocytosis and efferocytosis.
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Gabriella van der Valk
I am currently in my final year studying MChem at Wadham College. For my part II research project, I have chosen the field of Medical Chemistry, working in the Russell group. For my project, I am developing small molecule Sulfatase inhibitors to further elucidate and control the role of these enzymes in epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the epicardium.
Previous group members
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Dr Jens Schmidt
I obtained my BSc and MSc from the University Leipzig under supervision of Rolf Breinbauer and Christian Stark. After a short 6 month internship at DSM Nutritional Products (Kaiseraugst, Switzerland), I started my PhD at the University of Hamburg where I worked on the total synthesis of naturally occurring antibiotics. As a postdoc with Greg Fu at Caltech, I developed a novel Nickel-catalyzed cross-coupling that helps to establish a broad variety of functional groups in a stereoconvergent fashion. In 2017 I joined the OxStem Cardio research team with Angela Russell and Steve Davies to develop new drugs to reduce long-term effects following myocardial infarction.
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Dr Julie Davies
I obtained my Ph.D. from Brunel University London, where I was investigating the role of the orexinergic system in Alzheimer’s disease including the novel GPR103 receptor. Initially I joined the Russell group as part of a collaborative project funded by Shionogi Inc. between Professors Angela Russell and Steve Davies and the department of physiology, anatomy and genetics (DPAG) with Professor Francis Szele. I moved to DPAG where my current research, funded by OxStem Neuro, aims to screen small molecule compounds to be used to target neural stem cells produced in the dentate gyrus to increase neurogenesis. This type of regenerative therapy could prove beneficial in Alzheimer’s disease where much of the damage occurs in the hippocampus and can be attributed to the classical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease including memory loss.
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Dr Daniel Conole
Hailing from Aotearoa (land of the long white cloud), I obtained my undergraduate degree (specialisation in medicinal chemistry) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. I continued my postgraduate studies at the University of Auckland under Dist. Prof. Margaret Brimble, a pre-eminent natural product chemist, and completed my PhD (entitled 'Toxicodynamics of methemoglobinemia inducers') in 2012. I then spent sometime working as a medical writer at Springer Healthcare, curating a drug development database and writing drug reviews. Subsequently, I worked for Dist. Prof. Bill Denny, a world leader in the development of bioreductive anti-cancer prodrugs, at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. In collaboration with the Global Alliance for TB, I designed as synthesised second generation analogues of the FDA-approved ATP synthase inhibitor bedaquiline for the treatment of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. I am currently part of a team of medicinal chemists working on Prof. Russell's Duchenne muscular dystrophy project, which aims to identify novel small molecule modulators of utrophin, an important protein for the stabilisation of muscle degeneration.
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Dr Nicky Willis
I obtained my undergraduate degree (Chemistry with Industrial Experience, M.Chem) at the University of Manchester in 2009, in which I was based in the process chemistry department at Piramal Healthcare for one year, before investigating novel spiceosome inhibitors under the supervision of Dr. David Berresford. After completion of my studies, I then visited Carlton University in Canada for a summer placement before moving to the Queen Mary, University of London to carry out my postgraduate studies under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Bray towards the synthesis of the rubromycin family of natural products.

During this time I was also fortunate enough to be awarded an EPSRC scholarship to allow me to investigate some novel C−H activation chemistry at Cancer Research Technology. After completing my studies, I worked at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Sussex, before undertaking an industrial postdoctoral research project at GlaxoSmithKline in collaboration with Prof. Graham Sandford (University of Durham) employing the use of biocatalysis towards the greener synthesis of chiral fluorinated pharmaceuticals. I then joined the AJR group in to work on small molecule modulators of utrophin for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I left the AJR group in February 2017 to work with Paul Fish's group at the University College London School of Pharmacy.
Dr Erin Shepherd
I was an undergraduate at the University of Oxford and did my Part II (final year) project in the Burton and Paton groups working on synthesis and structure determination of natural products. My research involved working towards the synthesis of the Jatrophane natural products and developing methodology towards these aims. After completing my DPhil in December 2016, I joined the Russell group as a postdoctoral research associate to identify small molecules that stimulate endogenous stem cells for regeneration and repair of neural tissues for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Erin sadly passed away on 20th January 2017, and will be sorely missed within the AJR group.
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Dr Caitlin Clunie-O'Connor
During my DPhil, I worked under the supervision of Prof. Angela Russell and Prof. Paul Riley, funded by the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence. I worked towards the development of a high throughput-screening assay, which will be used to identify small molecule activators of the human adult epicardium. The epicardium is a mesothelial layer covering the surface of the heart and is widely regarded to be a population of resident progenitor cells; the group hopes to determine whether the epicardium can provide a source of cells for regenerative therapies in cardiovascular disease. Before joining the AJR group I obtained an MChem degree from the University of Manchester. I completed my fourth year project under the supervision of Dr Timothy Wallace. The project focused upon the synthesis of novel heterocycles related to the tubulin binding alkaloid colchicine.
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Dr Amy Varney
Amy worked on an epigenetics project investigating the possible existence of novel methylated arginine markers. Her research involved synthesis of bespoke arginine analogues, protein and peptide synthesis, assay design, and development and testing of small molecule inhibitors. She worked in collaboration with Prof. Chris Schofield and Dr Paul Brennan (SGC Oxford/Toronto) and was funded by the SABS-CDT doctoral training centre through an EPSRC initiative. As part of her doctoral training she also worked under Prof. Udo Oppermann (Botnar Research Centre, Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Science) for a short project optimising the expression and purification of the oncoprotein MINA53 and carrying out high-throughput screening of NMEs. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (four-year MBiochem) from Magdalen College, University of Oxford where she worked under the joint supervision of Prof. Edith Sim and Prof. Angela Russell. This research focused on elucidating the mechanism of action of a novel colorimetric small molecule inhibitor of the enzyme hNAT1. As an undergraduate she also spent a summer working under Prof. Stuart Ferguson (Department of Biochemistry) carrying out biochemical and biophysical characterisation of the bacterial protein NirF. Amy successfully completed her DPhil in December 2015. Since then, she has finished an internship project at OxStem Ltd and is now the Project Development Officer for the company, supporting the CEO, CFO and the scientific founders in the commercial development of the business.
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Dr James Egleton
James obtained his MChem degree from New College, Oxford in 2011 and spent his Part II year working in the Russell Group. He decided to stay in the group to complete his DPhil, which was funded by a Cancer Research UK studentship and the Oxford Cancer Research Centre. His work involved working on the development of colorimetric and fluorescent probes for the specific detection and quantification of the breast cancer biomarker human arylamine N-acetyltransferase 1 (hNAT1) in cell extracts, and he also had an interest in using probes to elucidate the endogenous cellular roles of this protein. His work was carried out in collaboration with Prof. Edith Sim (Department of Pharmacology, Oxford; Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, Kingston) and Dr Ali Ryan (Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing, Kingston). During his DPhil he taught all years of the undergraduate course, as a tutor in organic chemistry at New College and St. Edmund Hall. James successfully completed his DPhil in November 2015.
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Dr Gu Liu
Gu originally joined the Russell group in 2010 as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant, and was involved in multiple medicinal chemistry and chemical biology projects. Most recently she worked on a stem cell related project in collaboration with Professor Sally Cowley which forms part of the Oxford-led StemBANCC consortium funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative, designing chemical tools to enable industrial scale stem cell production. Gu left the group in August 2015 to pursue a new role at Accenture, a strategy, digital and consulting professional services company.
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Dr Kristina Csatayová
Kristína obtained her Bsc. degree in organic chemistry and chemical technology at the Slovak University of Technology under the supervision of Prof. Tibor Gracza, working on intra-vs. intermolecular Pd(II)-catalysed aminocarbonylations. This was followed by an MSc. with Dr. Peter Szolcsányi focusing on the total synthesis of (+)-pinidinone.
In 2009 she spent one year as visiting student in the research group Prof. Stephen G. Davies at the University of Oxford, developing diastereoselective total syntheses of trans-SCH-A and cis-SCH-A via a stereodivergent cyclopropanation protocol.
She started her PhD. studies in 2010 under the supervision of Prof. Stephen G. Davies, working on diastereoselective dihydroxylations of allylic amines in the asymmetric synthesis of iminosugars and aminosugars. She then joined Prof. Angela Russell’s group in 2014 as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant, being involved in the syntheses and medicinal evaluation of small molecule modulators of utrophin for DMD therapy. Kristína sadly passed away on 26th July 2015, she will be sorely missed within the AJR group.
Part IIs (2016/2017): Ria Dinsdale, Sam Exton and Dominic Faulkner
Part IIs (2015/2016): Samantha Cloake, Ryan Davies, Jessica Reynolds
Part IIs (2014/2015): Jessica Lees, Josh Milner, Marcus Olivecrona and Robyn Zorab
Dr Alan Jones
After obtaining his PhD from St Andrews University under the supervision of Prof. Nicholas Westwood, Alan moved to Oxford University where he held postdoctoral research positions in the Russell and Davies research groups identifying inhibitors of both epigenetic and kinase targets. Alan left Oxford to join Prof. Ian Collins' research group at the The Institute of Cancer Research to investigate the structure-based design of inhibitors of stress response proteins. Alan has since moved to Manchester Metropolitan University where his research group focuses on new synthetic methodology and medicinal chemistry.
Fernando Martinez Vasquez
Kilian Huber