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Dr. Niamh O'Boyle
Assistant Professor, Pharmacy

Biography

Dr. Niamh O'Boyle is a qualified pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. She received her BSc(Pharm) and PhD degree from Trinity College Dublin, and subsequently was awarded a postdoctoral scholarship at University of Göteborg in Sweden investigate the allergenic activity of epoxides and epoxy resins. Niamh was awarded a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the School of Biochemistry & Immunology, TCD, working on 'Cancer, Tubulin and Free Radicals: New Therapy'. Following a period as assistant lecturer at the School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Dublin Institute of Technology, she was appointed as assistant professor at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at TCD in 2017. She runs several diverse research projects and is currently supported by a TCD Provost's PhD Project Award, CAMS-UK, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Science Foundation Ireland. Her research work is consistently published in high-quality international, peer-reviewed journals and she has been a co-applicant on two published patents. She also works as a locum pharmacist in community pharmacy.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Sophie Knox, Niamh M. O'Boyle, Skin Lipids in Health and Disease: A Review, Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, 2021, p105055- Journal Article, 2021 URL DOI

Gloria Ana, Patrick M. Kelly, Azizah M. Malebari, Sara Noorani, Seema M. Nathwani, Brendan Twamley, Darren Fayne, Niamh M. O'Boyle, Daniela M. Zisterer, Elisangela Flavia Pimentel, Denise Coutinho Endringer and Mary J. Meegan, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of 1-(Diarylmethyl)-1H-1,2,4-Triazoles and 1-(Diarylmethyl)-1H-Imidazoles as a Novel Class of Anti-Mitotic Agent for Activity in Breast Cancer, Pharmaceuticals, 14, (2), 2021, p169- Journal Article, 2021 DOI URL

Eavan C. McLoughlin and Niamh M. O'Boyle, Colchicine-Binding Site Inhibitors from Chemistry to Clinic: A Review , Pharmaceuticals, 13, (1), 2020 Journal Article, 2020 URL DOI Other

Miriam Carr, Andrew J.S. Knox, Daniel K. Nevin, Niamh O'Boyle, Shu Wang, Billy Egan, Thomas McCabe, Brendan Twamley, Daniela M. Zisterer, David G. Lloyd, Mary J. Meegan, Optimisation of Estrogen Receptor Subtype-Selectivity of a 4-Aryl-4H-Chromene Scaffold Previously Identified by Virtual Screening, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 28, (5), 2020, p115261- Journal Article, 2020

Twamley, B., O'Boyle, N.M., Meegan, M.J., Azetidin-2-ones: Structures of antimitotic compounds based on the 1-(3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)azetidin-2-one core, Acta Crystallographica Section E: Crystallographic Communications, 76, 2020, p1187 - 1194 Journal Article, 2020 DOI URL

T. S. Ibrahim, M. M. Hawwas, A. M. Malebari, E. S. Taher, A. M. Omar, N. M. O'Boyle, E. McLoughlin, Z.K. Abdel-Samii, Y. A. M. M. Elshaier, Potent Quinoline-Containing Combretastatin A-4 Analogues: Design, Synthesis, Antiproliferative, and Anti-Tubulin Activity, Pharmaceuticals, 13, (11), 2020, p393- Journal Article, 2020 URL DOI

Azizah M. Malebari, Darren Fayne, Seema M. Nathwani, Fiona O'Connell, Sara Noorani, Brendan Twamley, Niamh M. O'Boyle, Jacintha O'Sullivan, Daniela M. Zisterer, Mary J. Meegan, Beta-lactams with antiproliferative and antiapoptotic activity in breast and chemoresistant colon cancer cells, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 189, 2020, p112050- Journal Article, 2020 DOI URL

Mary J. Meegan and Niamh M. O'Boyle, Anticancer Drugs, 1, MDPI, 2019 Book, 2019 URL URL

Niamh M. O'Boyle, Gloria Ana, Patrick M. Kelly, Seema M. Nathwani, Sara Noorani, Darren Fayne, Sandra A. Bright, Brendan Twamley, Daniela M. Zisterer, Mary J. Meegan, Synthesis and evaluation of antiproliferative microtubule-destabilising combretastatin A-4 piperazine conjugates, Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 17, 2019, p6184 - 6200 Journal Article, 2019 URL DOI

O'Boyle, NM, Barrett, I, Greene, LM, Carr, M, Fayne, D, Twamley, B, Knox, AJS, Keely, NO, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, Lead Optimization of Benzoxepin-Type Selective Estrogen Receptor (ER) Modulators and Downregulators with Subtype-Specific ER-alpha and ER-beta Activity, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 61, (2), 2018, p514 - 534 Journal Article, 2018 TARA - Full Text URL DOI

Pollock JK, Greene LM, Nathwani SM, Kinsella P, O'Boyle NM, Meegan MJ, Zisterer DM., Involvement of NF-kB in mediating the anti-tumour effects of combretastatins in T cells., Investigational new drugs, 36, (4), 2018, p523-535 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Malebari, AM, Greene, LM, Nathwani, SM, Fayne, D, O'Boyle, NM, Wang, S, Twamley, B, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, Beta-lactam analogues of combretastatin A-4 prevent metabolic inactivation by glucuronidation in chemoresistant HT-29 colon cancer cells, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 130, 2017, p261-285 Journal Article, 2017 DOI URL

Meegan MJ, Nathwani S, Twamley B, Zisterer DM, O'Boyle NM., Piperlongumine (piplartine) and analogues: Antiproliferative microtubule-destabilising agents., European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 125, 2017, p453 - 463 Journal Article, 2017 TARA - Full Text DOI

Greene TF, Wang S, Greene LM, Nathwani SM, Pollock JK, Malebari AM, McCabe T, Twamley B, O'Boyle NM, Zisterer DM, Meegan MJ, Synthesis and Biochemical Evaluation of 3-Phenoxy-1,4-diarylazetidin-2-ones as Tubulin-Targeting Antitumor Agents., Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 59, (1), 2016, p90 - 113 Journal Article, 2016 TARA - Full Text URL DOI

Hagvall, L, Niklasson, IB, Rudbäck, J, O'Boyle, NM, Niklasson, E, Luthman, K, Karlberg, A-T, Assessment of cross-reactivity of new less sensitizing epoxy resin monomers in epoxy resin-allergic individuals, Contact Dermatitis, 75, (3), 2016, p144-150 Journal Article, 2016 URL DOI

O'Boyle, NM, Pollock, JK, Carr, M, Knox, AJS, Nathwani, SM, Wang, S, Caboni, L, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, Beta-Lactam Estrogen Receptor Antagonists and a Dual-Targeting Estrogen Receptor/Tubulin Ligand, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 57, (22), 2014, p9370 - 9382 Journal Article, 2014 URL TARA - Full Text DOI

O'Boyle, NM, Niklasson, IB, Tehrani-Bagha,AR, Delaine, T, Holmberg, K, Luthman, K, Karlberg, AT, Epoxy resin monomers with reduced skin sensitizing potency, Chemical Research in Toxicology, 27, (6), 2014, p1002-1010 Journal Article, 2014 DOI TARA - Full Text

Pollock, JK, Verma,NK, O'Boyle, NM, Carr, MG, Meegan, MJ, Zisterer, DM, Combretastatin (CA)-4 and its novel analogue CA-432 impair T-cell migration through the Rho/ROCK signalling pathway, Biochemical Pharmacology, 92, (4), 2014, p544-557 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Ann-Therese Karlberg, Kristina Luthman, Krister Holmberg, Niamh O'Boyle, Tamara Delaine, 'Resin compositions', Intellectual Property Office, GB1319110.1, 2013 Patent, 2013 URL

Greene, LM, Wang, S, O'Boyle, NM, Bright, SA, Reid, JEA, Kelly, PJ, Meegan, MJ, Zisterer, DM, Combretazet-3 a novel synthetic cis-stable combretastatin A-4-azetidinone hybrid with enhanced stability and therapeutic efficacy in colon cancer, Oncology Reports, 29, (6), 2013, p2451-2458 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

O'Boyle, NM, Delaine, T, Luthman, K, Natsch, A, Karlberg, AT, Analogues of the epoxy resin monomer diglycidyl ether of bisphenol F: Effects on contact allergenic potency and cytotoxicity, Chemical Research in Toxicology, 25, (11), 2012, p2469-2478 Journal Article, 2012 TARA - Full Text DOI

Greene, LM, O'Boyle, NM, Nolan, DP, Meegan, MJ, Zisterer, DM, The vascular targeting agent Combretastatin-A4 directly induces autophagy in adenocarcinoma-derived colon cancer cells, Biochemical Pharmacology, 84, (5), 2012, p612-624 Journal Article, 2012 DOI

O'Boyle, NM, Carr, M, Greene, LM, Keely, NO, Knox, AJS, McCabe, T, Lloyd, DG, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, Synthesis, Biochemical and Molecular Modelling Studies of Antiproliferative Azetidinones causing Microtubule Disruption and Mitotic Catastrophe, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 46, (9), 2011, p4595 - 4607 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

O'Boyle, N.M., Knox, A.J.S., Price, T.P., Williams, D.C., Zisterer, D.M., Lloyd, D.G., Meegan, M.J., Lead identification of beta-lactam and related imine inhibitors of the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 19, (20), 2011, p6055-6068 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text DOI

O'Boyle, NM, Greene, LM, Bergin, O, Fichet, JB, McCabe, T, Lloyd, DG, Zisterer, DM, Meegan, MJ, Synthesis, evaluation and structural studies of antiproliferative tubulin-targeting azetidin-2-ones, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 19, (7), 2011, p2306-2325 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

O'Boyle, NM, Meegan, MJ, Designed multiple ligands for cancer therapy, Current Medicinal Chemistry, 18, (31), 2011, p4722-4737 Journal Article, 2011 DOI

Barrett, I., Carr, M.G., O'Boyle, N.M., Greene, L.M., Knox, A., Lloyd, D.G., Zisterer, D.M., Meegan, M.J., Lead identification of conformationally restricted benzoxepin type combretastatin analogs: Synthesis, antiproliferative activity, and tubulin effects, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, 25, (2), 2010, p180-194 Journal Article, 2010 DOI

O'Boyle NM, Carr M, Greene LM, Bergin O, Nathwani SM, McCabe T, Lloyd DG, Zisterer DM, Meegan MJ, Synthesis and evaluation of azetidinone analogues of combretastatin A-4 as tubulin targeting agents, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 53, (24), 2010, p8569-8584 Journal Article, 2010 DOI TARA - Full Text

Greene,. L.M., Nathwani, S.M., Bright, S.A., Fayne, D., Croke, A., Gagliardi,M., McElligott, A.M., O'Connor, L.M., Carr, M.G., Keely, N.O., O'Boyle, N.M., Carroll, P.V., Sarkadi, B., Conneally, E.C., Lloyd,D.G., Lawler, M.P., Meegan, M.J., Zisterer, D.M., The vascular targeting agent combretastatin-A4 and a novel cis-restricted beta-lactam analogue, CA-432, induce apoptosis in human chronic myeloid leukemia cells and ex vivo patient samples including those displaying multidrug resistance, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 335, (2), 2010, p302-313 Journal Article, 2010 DOI

Yang,Yidong Y., Carta,Giorgio G., Peters,Martin B. M.B., Price,Trevor T. T.T., O'Boyle,Niamh M. N.M., Knox,Andrew J S A.J.S., Fayne,Darren D., Williams,D. C. D.C., Meegan,Mary Jane M.J., Lloyd,David G. D.G., 'TieredScreen' - Layered virtual screening tool for the identification of novel estrogen receptor alpha modulators, Molecular Informatics, 29, (5), 2010, p421-430 Journal Article, 2010 DOI

Daniela Zisterer, Mary Meegan, Niamh O'Boyle, Miriam Carr, Lisa Greene and Thomas Greene, 'Combretastatin Derivatives and Uses Therefor', European Patent Office, EP2338877 A1, 2009 Patent, 2009 URL

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Niamh O'Boyle, Probing the Skin with ToF-SIMS: do Metal Allergens Change Lipid Composition?, 29th Meeting of the European Research Group on Experimental Contact Dermatitis, Online, 3rd February, 2021 Invited Talk, 2021

Eavan C. McLoughlin, Niamh M. O'Boyle, Combretazets: Enantiomeric Beta−Lactams for the Treatment of Breast Cancer, 6th International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, Online (https://ecmc2020.sciforum.net/), 01-30 November 2020, edited by Dr. Jean Jacques Vanden Eynde , MDPI, 2020 Oral Presentation, 2020 URL DOI

Eavan Ciara McLoughlin, Niamh O'Boyle, Mary Meegan, Stories from Staudinger: Synthesis of chiral beta-lactams, 5th International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, Online at https://sciforum.net/conference/ECMC2019, November 2019, 2019 Poster, 2019 DOI URL

Niamh O'Boyle, Organic chemistry practicals: introduction of pre-laboratory assessments for first year pharmacy students, Irish Variety in Chemistry Education 2019, Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin Street, 26th April 2019, edited by Claire McDonnell , 2019 Oral Presentation, 2019 URL URL

Niamh O'Boyle, Epoxy Resins - From Chemistry to Clinic, Occupational and Environmental Exposure of the Skin to Chemicals, Dublin, 16 - 18 Sept. 2019, 2019 Oral Presentation, 2019 TARA - Full Text URL URL

Niamh O'Boyle, Benzoxepin-Type Selective Estrogen Receptor (ER) Modulators and Downregulators with Subtype-Specific ERalpha and ERbeta Activity, 26th Annual GP2A Medicinal Chemistry Conference & 32nd Journées Franco-Belges de Pharmacochimie, Asnelles sur Mer, Normandie, France, 13th June 2018, 2018, GP2A Invited Talk, 2018 Handle TARA - Full Text DOI URL

James Patrick Mc Keown, Clara Charleton, Keith Ferris, Sara Noorani, Niamh M O'Boyle, Mary J Meegan, Ethanoanthracenes: Potential chemotherapeutics for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), 4th International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, Online at www.sciforum.net/conference/ecmc-4, November 2018, edited by MDPI , 2018 Poster, 2018 DOI URL

Niamh M. O'Boyle, Daniela M. Zisterer, Mary J. Meegan, Lead Optimization of Benzoxepin-Type Selective Estrogen Receptor (ER) Modulators and Downregulators with Subtype-Specific ERalpha and ERbeta Activity, Proceedings of the 3rd Int. Electron. Conf. Med. Chem., 3rd International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, November 2017, 3, 2017 Conference Paper, 2017 DOI URL

Niamh M. O'Boyle, Daniela M. Zisterer, Mary J. Meegan, Title: Microtubule-Destabilising Actions of Piperlongumine and Analogues, Proceedings of the 3rd Int. Electron. Conf. Med. Chem., 3rd International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry, November 2017, 3, 2017 Conference Paper, 2017 DOI URL

Niamh O'Boyle, Designing a capacity plan for the Aseptic Compounding Unit in St. James's Hospital, Irish Pharmacy Journal , 85, 2007, p303 - 306 Journal Article, 2007 URL

Research Expertise

Description

I am working to discover new treatments for cancer and inflammatory disease. The driving force behind my work is to improve patient health and treatment options by applying principles of medicinal chemistry. My research focuses on hard-to-treat cancers including multi-drug resistant breast cancer, colon cancer and leukaemias. Drug targets of interest in cancer are microtubules and the estrogen and progesterone receptors, as well as the role of reactive oxygen species. I have previously developed novel compounds targeting heat shock protein 90. I am also extremely interested in drug discovery from natural sources and traditional Irish remedies. In the inflammation strand of my research, I aim to discover the underlying reasons that certain chemicals cause skin allergy. I am especially interested in profiling the interactions between skin-sensitizing chemicals and biomolecules in skin. I am developing safer alternatives to known chemical skin sensitizers, e.g. epoxy resins. My background provides me with expertise in many areas of pharmaceutical sciences (including organic & medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical analysis) and biochemistry (cell culture, western blotting, and flow cytometry). I run several diverse research projects and my work is currently supported by a TCD Provost's PhD Project Award, CAMS-UK, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Science Foundation Ireland. My research work is consistently published in high-quality international, peer-reviewed journals and I have been a co-applicant on two published patents.

Projects

  • Title
    • Biochemical Evaluation of the 'Combretazets' - Novel and Potent Drugs for Treating Multi-Drug Resistant Cancers
  • Summary
    • The aim of this project is to evaluate the biochemical effects of novel, enantiomerally pure β-lactams on breast cancer cells. Specific assays will investigate effects on breast cancer cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis and tubulin polymerisation. This will enable us to identify the best drug candidate for progression to pre-clinical experiments, e.g. in vivo assessment.
  • Funding Agency
    • Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund
  • Title
    • Analysis of Skin Lipids in Contact Allergy by Mass Spectrometry
  • Funding Agency
    • CAMS-UK and Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Date From
    • August 2020
  • Date To
    • September 2021
  • Title
    • Can the stress response to reactive oxygen species in tumours be exploited to give a new class of anti-cancer drugs? Dual-targeting of the stress response to reactive oxygen species and tubulin by piperlongumine and related analogues
  • Summary
    • Cancer is a disease that affects thousands of people and their families every year. The aim of cancer research is to understand what happens in the body to cause cancer, enabling us to prevent it or treat it. This project will investigate new ways to treat cancer, using chemicals called 'oxygen free radicals' that are found in tumors. The research will be based on a natural product known as piperlongumine and the effect that it has on the response of cancer cells to oxygen free radicals. Piperlongumine is found in the fruit plant Piper longum ('Long pepper'). It was recently discovered that piperlongumine can selectively kill cancer cells without harming normal, healthly cells. It is thought that this is because piperlongumine raises the levels of reactive oxygen free radicals in cancer cells, which causes them to die. I will investigate if piperlongumine and other related chemicals have additional biochemical effects in cancer cells that contribute to their anti-cancer effects. In particular the research will focus on a protein called tubulin that is extremely important for cell replication, both in cancer cells and healthy cells. The overall, long-term goal of this research is to design new anti-cancer drugs that will selectively kill cancer cells by manipulating oxygen free radicals and tubulin.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 2014
  • Date To
    • 2016
  • Title
    • Development of Novel Anti-Tumour Beta-Lactams for Treatment of Aggressive Breast Cancer
  • Summary
    • Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive and lethal form of breast cancer. The most successful drugs target three receptors common to most breast cancers (estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2 receptors). TNBC does not express any of these receptors and, despite many advances in cancer treatment, remains difficult to treat. This project aims to address an unmet clinical need by developing drugs to treat TNBC. With an increasing incidence of cancer and an ageing population, we need to address this problem now to improve future outcomes for the individual and for society. The development of new drugs to treat TNBC will improve quality-of-life for patients and alleviate the economic burden of cancer on society. Tubulin is a protein that is essential for tumour cell replication. Drugs targeting tubulin, e.g. paclitaxel, are used to treat a wide range of cancers and have saved countless lives. Unfortunately drug resistance and side-effects are common, hence development of new drugs is necessary. A large library of anti-tumour β-lactams that interact with tubulin and halt the growth of cancer cells, including TNBC cells, have been developed by our research group. These compounds are amongst the most potent tubulin-targeting agents ever reported. The β-lactams were initially evaluated as a racemic mixture of two isomers known as enantiomers. It is common that one enantiomer of a drug has a better therapeutic profile, although many drugs are still produced as racemates. The next critical step in this project involves chemical synthesis of the enantiomers of our β-lactams. The most biologically active compounds from our series of over 250 analogues have been chosen for synthesis as single enantiomers. Upon completion of synthesis, biological evaluation of their relative potencies in TBNC cells will allow us to determine which has superior activity. The most promising compounds will be progressed for preclinical development to establish a clinical drug candidate with the potential to save lives. The three overall aims of this research project are: 1. Development of efficient methods for chemical synthesis of enantiomerically pure β-lactams. 2. Evaluation of the anti-tumour effects of the β-lactams in breast cancer cells. 3. Development of the best β-lactams as potential clinical drug candidates for treatment of TNBC. The outcomes of the project will be twofold: firstly, advances in the design of novel anti-cancer drugs to treat TNBC and secondly, development of more efficient methods to synthesise enantiomerically pure β-lactams. The methodology developed from the latter can potentially be applied to the synthesis of number of commercially available β-lactam-containing drugs, e.g. ezetimibe.
  • Funding Agency
    • University of Dublin, Trinity College
  • Date From
    • September 2018
  • Date To
    • September 2022
  • Title
    • Investigation of the effects of hormonal cancer therapy on levels of interferon epsilon in cancer cells of female reproductive tract and breast
  • Summary
    • Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst Irish women and its incidence is predicted to rise. The most common subtype is estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer, comprising nearly four out of every five cases (79%). Long-term (5 years) hormone treatment such as use of tamoxifen and raloxifene has revolutionised the treatment of ER+ breast cancer and improved the lives of millions of women worldwide. Tamoxifen and raloxifene are selective-estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), modifying the effects of estrogen in female reproductive tissues. They act as antagonists of the ER in some tissues, such as the breast, and agonists in other tissues, e.g. bone. Tamoxifen is the first-line treatment and is also under investigation for the prophylaxis of breast cancer in high-risk women. Unfortunately, long-term use of tamoxifen significantly increases the risk of endometrial cancer whilst raloxifene has a protective effect. The reasons for this are still unclear and there are likely to be a number of contributing factors. Interferon-epsilon (IFNε) is recently discovered type I interferon that is constitutively expressed in the female reproductive tract (FRT), including the endometrium. IFNε expression is under hormonal control and IFNε levels fluctuate depending on the relative concentrations of estrogen and progesterone. Our preliminary data strongly indicates that IFNε also acts as a tumour suppressor in the FRT. We propose that SERMs modify expression levels of IFNε in endometrial and breast cells and tissues. This would contribute to altered immunity in the endometrium, potentially leading to increased risk of developing cancerous cells. Given the current widespread use of tamoxifen and its potential prophylactic use in the future, unravelling the mechanisms leading to tamoxifen-associated endometrial cancer is of paramount importance. Such knowledge could influence patient treatment, cancer strategies and prescribing guidelines in the future.
  • Funding Agency
    • Trinity St. James's Cancer Institute
  • Date From
    • 2018
  • Date To
    • 2018
  • Title
    • Synthesis and Analysis of Chiral Anti-Tumour Beta-Lactams for Treatment of Aggressive Breast Cancer
  • Summary
    • Tubulin is a protein that is essential for tumour cell replication. Drugs targeting tubulin, e.g. paclitaxel, are used to treat a wide range of cancers and have saved countless lives. Unfortunately drug resistance and side-effects are common, hence development of new drugs is necessary. A large library of anti-tumour β-lactams that interact with tubulin and halt the growth of cancer cells, including TNBC cells, have been developed by our research group. These compounds are amongst the most potent tubulin-targeting agents ever reported. They target the colchicine-binding site of tubulin, which is distinct from the binding sites targeted by clinically used tubulin-targeting drugs (paclitaxel, vinblastine and vincristine), and hence our compounds could be of value in overcoming multidrug resistance caused by binding-site specific mutations. Our previously synthesised β-lactams were evaluated as racemic mixtures. It is common that one enantiomer of a drug has a better therapeutic profile. Building on our extensive work, the next critical step in this project involves chemical synthesis of the enantiomers of our β-lactams and determination of their enantiomeric excess (optical purity) using chiral HPLC. The most biologically active compounds from our series of over 250 analogues have been chosen for synthesis as single enantiomers. Our objective is to determine if one or both enantiomers are responsible for the antiprolifeative effects. This will allow us to progress this enantiomer along the drug development pipeline as a clinical candidate.
  • Funding Agency
    • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Date From
    • 2020
  • Date To
    • 2021
  • Title
    • From Chemistry to Clinic: Increasing the Solubility and Stability of Promising Drugs for Gastrointestinal Cancers
  • Summary
    • Successful drugs must overcome many hurdles on their journey to clinical use, and it is essential to have a favourable solubility and stability profile. We aim to improve the solubility and stability of two promising anti-cancer agents, CC12 and pyrazinib, which are under development as adjunct treatments for colorectal cancer and oesophageal adenocarcinoma respectively. Drug development options for the two compounds are limited due to suboptimal physiochemical properties: poor water solubility (CC12 and pyrazinib) and stability (CC12). Extremely poor water solubility limits their options for in vivo testing and delivery to patients. CC12 is unstable and undesired degradation products form in solutions of the drug. This project aims to overcome these limitations by chemical synthesis of stable, water-soluble versions of CC12 and pyrazinib called prodrugs. Prodrugs are compounds with little or no inherent pharmacological activity that are enzymatically converted to the active drug in vivo. Prodrug formation is an excellent option for improving the solubility and stability of drugs. We propose to attach the phosphate ester group to CC12 and pyrazinib to optimise their physiochemical profiles and enable further progression of these promising compounds along the drug delivery pipeline into clinical studies.
  • Funding Agency
    • University of Dublin, Trinity College
  • Date From
    • 2020
  • Date To
    • 2021
  • Title
    • Hidden sensitizers in skin care - analytical and clinical investigations of culprit skin allergens in propolis and beeswax
  • Summary
    • We are surrounded by chemicals and we use numerous products on our skin every day. Skin contact allergy is the most common form of human immunotoxicity, prevalent in a quarter of the European population. Skin allergy to ingredients in cosmetics, fragrances and skin care products is widespread. Beeswax and propolis are popular ingredients in cosmetics, often used in high concentrations, and are often mistaken as safe because they are from a natural source. Unfortunately both can cause skin allergy due to the presence of harmful chemicals. The main skin sensitizers in beeswax and propolis have not been identified, although caffeic acid and two ester derivatives have been suggested as potentially problematic. Our preliminary findings show that oxidation mixtures derived from caffeic acid are protein reactive and hence could be skin sensitizers. The aim of this project is to identify the exact toxic allergenic compounds present in beeswax- and propolis-containing products that cause skin allergy. The project incorporates methods from organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and dermatology to achieve this goal. By identification of the offending allergens we will contribute to improved diagnosis of contact allergy to beeswax and propolis, and provide the knowledge necessary for restriction of exposure to the harmful chemicals. This will ultimately prevent new cases of contact allergy, providing value to patients with skin disease.
  • Funding Agency
    • British Skin Foundation
  • Date From
    • 2020
  • Date To
    • 2022

Keywords

ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS; ANTI-TUBULIN ACTIVITY; Anticancer Drug Design; ANTICANCER DRUGS; Antiestrogens; BREAST CANCER; Cancer drug discovery; COLON CANCER; Design, synthesis and mechanism of action of novel anti-estrogenic compounds; Drug discovery; EPOXY; EPOXY RESINS; ESTROGEN; Estrogen Receptor; INDUCED LIPID-PEROXIDATION; LIPID OXIDATION; Multidisciplinary approach to drug discovery and development; OESTROGEN; PHOTOALLERGIC CONTACT-DERMATITIS; TAMOXIFEN

Recognition

Representations

Committee member of the GP2A Group of Medicinal Chemists of the Atlantic Arc (Groupement des Pharmacochimistes de l'Arc Atlantique) 2017 - present

Management committee substitute (Ireland) and working group member - COST Action CA17104 Stratagem 2019

Early Career Representative for the Ireland Regional Steering Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry 2020 - 2023

Member of the COST COVID-19 Task Force 2020

Awards and Honours

Best Poster Presentation, STRATAGEM WG2 Meeting and International Online Symposium on "Synthesis and nanodelivery strategies for new therapeutic tools against Multidrug Resistant Tumours" (online) 15-Dec-2020

CAMS-UK Fellowship 2019

Trinity College Dublin Provost's PhD Project Award 2018

Outstanding Reviewer Award, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2017

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship 2014 - 2016

University of Gothenburg Department of Chemistry Postdoctoral Scholarship 2010 - 2012

XVIIIth European Conference of GP2A: Best Presentation 2009

Trinity College Dublin Postgraduate Research Studentship 2009

Irish Cancer Society Oncology Scholars Travel Award 2008

Trinity College Dublin Postgraduate Research Studentship (1252) 2006

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland Young Pharmacist's forum: Best poster presentation 2006

Trinity College Dublin Foundation Scholarship 2003

Memberships

Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland 2007 – Present

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry 2017 – Present

Member of the Irish Association for Cancer Research 2016 – Present

Member of the European Association for Cancer Research 2016 – Present

Member of the European Society for Contact Dermatitis 2019 – Present

Member of Irish Platform for Patient Organisations, Science & Industry (IPPOSI) 2019 – Present