Personal Biography

I was born in Houston, Texas, USA, where I also began my studies at Rice University (Lovett College). After earning my BS in Chemistry, I moved to San Diego, California to carry out doctoral work as a Skaggs–Oxford Scholar in a joint DPhil-PhD programme between the University of Oxford and the Scripps Research Institute. While at Scripps, I pursued the total synthesis of natural products, focusing on shishijimicin A, a cytotoxic enediyne compound. Since coming to Oxford, my work has investigated novel antiviral therapies, developing inhibitors for enzyme components of the calnexin cycle. Currently the Lerner–Fink Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry in the Department of Biochemistry, I have been a Lecturer in Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry at Corpus since 2015.

Research and Teaching

My research focuses on the development of novel antiviral therapies, primarily in terms of medicinal chemistry and studying protein-ligand interactions. Novel molecules are synthesised using organic chemistry, and then tested for binding to proteins using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and other biophysical techniques. Promising compounds are tested in enzyme assays. The main targets are enzymes of the Calnexin/Calreticulin cycle, a protein folding pathway in human cells that many enveloped viruses hijack to fold their own proteins. By targeting human proteins, the aim is to produce therapies that are broad-spectrum: being effective against viruses as varied as influenza, HIV and Zika virus.

As well as research in the lab, I am very interested in teaching and developing resources to support student learning. In the Department of Biochemistry, I provide lectures covering organic chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry and protein-ligand interactions. In addition, I am involved in practicals and workshops that complement the lecture courses, as well as classes for students pursuing the Aromatic and Heterocyclic supplementary subject.

At Corpus, I provide tutorials in organic chemistry, biophysical techniques, and data handling among other topics.

Representative Publications

ToP-DNJ, a Selective Inhibitor of Endoplasmic Reticulum a-Glucosidase II Exhibiting Antiflaviviral Activity (2018, doi: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00870)

Essential chemistry for biochemists (2017, doi: 10.1042/EBC20160094)