PhD Students

Alan Zhao

alan-zhaoAlan Zhao (MChem Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in January 2017. After an exchange project with Dr. Ho Yu Au-Yeung at the University of Hong Kong, working on the Synthesis of a copper (I) luminescent probe. He carried out his undergraduate project on the study of fluorescence quenching of 2-aminopurine and pyrrolocytosine with free nucleotide monophosphates under the supervision of Prof. Anita Jones at the University of Edinburgh. He is now jointly funded by IBioIC and Leica Biosystems, and is developing new biocatalytic systems for multiplexing histological staining.

Hector Yiannakas

hector-yiannakasHector Yiannakas (MChem Medicinal and Biological Chemistry with Industrial Experience, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in September 2017. During his undergraduate studies, he undertook an industrial placement with GSK (Stevenage), working on novel cross-coupling methodologies and on the multi-step synthesis of kinase inhibitors. His final year project (“Sequential Arylation Protocols for the Synthesis of Triaryls”) was carried out under the supervision of Prof Lloyd-Jones FRS. Prior to joining the Hulme group, he spent 3-months in the Unciti-Broceta group (Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre), developing novel potent and highly selective of c-Yes tyrosine kinase inhibitors. He is now funded by EPSRC and is investigating the implementation of alkyne metathesis as a new tool for the self-assembly of complex molecular architectures.

Marie Bluntzer

Marie Bluntzer (MChem Chemistry with Industrial Experience, ENSCL, Lille, France) joined the group in Sept 2017. After 2 years of programming, she joined the computational group at UCB Celltech, in Slough, working on therapeutic targets assessment though FragMD methods, semi-automated small molecule de-novo design and ligand binding free energy calculations. Now in Edinburgh, her PhD project is to develop molecular dynamics models to predict the propensity of stapled peptides to adopt a helical secondary structure and to build tools to rationalize their design. In collaboration with UCB and Medical Research Scotland, the synthesis and characterization of leads for targets implicated in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis will be performed.

Edith Sandström

Edith Sandström (MChem in Chemistry with a Year Abroad, University of York) joined the group in October 2018. During her undergraduate degree she came in contact with the application of chemical analysis to historical and archaeological questions, which initiated her interest in analytical chemistry and led her to conduct her final year project at Univeristät Heidelberg under the supervision of Prof. Mario Trieloff. Her project was on developing and understanding the limitation of using secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) for the investigation of carbon and oxygen isotopes of carbonate rocks to better understand past climate and the history of rocks. Now, as an AHRC stipend holder shared jointly between the University of Edinburgh and National Museums Scotland (NMS), she has moved forward a few million years and is investigating a collection of Scottish and English embroideries from the 16th-17th c. housed at NMS. Her primary interests during this investigation are the development of new methods for dye analysis and determining what the dyes used can tell us about the available raw materials, manufacturing processes, and trade routes from that time.

Maria-Eleni Kouridaki

Maria-Eleni Kouridaki (MSc Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in October 2018. As part of her undergraduate degree she carried out her dissertation with Dr Arthur Crossman in Dundee University on the synthesis of sugar analogue inhibitors towards UGP bacterial enzyme to treat Human African Trypanosomiasis, while in her Master’s thesis she dealt with allyl Boron species for Lewis Base catalysis, under the supervision of Dr Uwe Schneider. Her project now aims to combine computational modelling with organic synthesis to discover new potent and selective inhibitors for Cyclophilins (Cyps), a family of enzymes linked to neurodegenerative diseases, liver diseases, tuberculosis and certain types of cancer. Achievement of selectivity in inhibition of the different Cyp isoforms poses a significant challenge owing to their highly conserved nature.

Craig Steven

Craig Steven (MChem Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in September 2020. In the final year of his undergraduate degree, he carried out his Masters project in the Cramer group at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. There, he investigated the use of 1,3,2-diazaphospholenes as new catalysts for reduction-based molecular transformations (Org. Chem. Front., 2020). After undertaking a BBSRC-funded summer project in the Hulme group in 2019 synthesising bioorthogonal tags for Raman imaging, he has returned to carry out an EPSRC-funded collaborative PhD project with AstraZeneca and IGMM. His project aims to further develop Raman tags for the evaluation of drug biodistribution in ovarian cancer cell lines.

Ander Maguregui

Ander Maguregui (MChem Medicinal and Biological Chemistry, University of Edinburgh) joined the group in September 2020. During his undergraduate course, he spent a year abroad working in Prof Hiroshi Abe’s research group (Nagoya University, Japan) investigating the effect of small molecule ligand conjugation on the cell membrane permeability of siRNA duplexes for use as therapeutics (ChemBioChem, 2020). He is now working on the development and application of novel bioorthogonal tagging technologies and multimodal imaging to enable tracking of multiple cell populations within complex 3D environments in the Hulme Group with co-supervision by Prof Val Brunton (Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre) funded by a EPSRC and GSK collaboration.

Ellen Poot

Ellen Poot (MBiomedSci in Biomedical Sciences, University of York) joined the group in September 2020. During her undergraduate degree, she spent a summer project with Dr Gareth Evans investigating the role of potential N1-Src targets during neuronal outgrowth. Her final year Masters’ project focused on developing a plasmid construct to inhibit FGF signalling during embryonic development, under the supervision of Dr Richard Maguire. Now, as part of the EastBIO DTP, she is combining her interest in neuroscience, the immune system and cancer by working in collaboration with the Hulme group, Dr Dirk Sieger (Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences) and Prof Val Brunton (Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre). Her project aims to exploit Raman-active nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery to microglia, allowing investigation into the role of microglia during brain tumour development.


Manasa Punaha Ravindra

Manasa Punaha Ravindra (PhD, Medicinal Chemistry, Duquesne University) joined the group in September 2019. After receiving her bachelors in pharmacy from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (Hyderabad, India) she moved to the United States to pursue PhD in medicinal chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Aleem Gangjee. The main focus of her thesis was the design and synthesis of classical antifolates as tumour-targeted antimetabolites with polypharmacology (tumour-specific transport and multi-enzyme inhibition). During this time, she combined rational drug design based on computational and NMR studies with new and improved convergent synthesis for efficient development of novel antifolates. By the end of her doctoral studies, she realized the need to evolve out of medicinal chemistry into the multi-disciplinary field of chemical biology and therefore, after moving to Edinburgh in May 2019, she volunteered in the Hulme group and spent 3-months developing novel cyclophilin inhibitors. Currently, as a part of the CRUK-EPSRC-funded collaborative program, she is developing novel bioorthogonal Raman tags with improved physicochemical properties to enhance the preclinical evaluation of drugs.

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