Research Fellows Directory
Dr David Fairen-Jimenez
University of Cambridge
Cancer is a major health problem worldwide, being the most common cause of death after cardiovascular diseases. The major goal of anticancer therapies is to specifically kill tumour cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. However, most of the new advanced drugs need to be encapsulated in a carrier until they are delivered into tumour target cells. My research focuses in the development of new drug carriers based on porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), one of the most exciting developments in recent porous materials science. MOFs are a unique class of porous hybrid solids synthesised in a self-assembly process from metal corner units connected by organic linkers like in a construction game. Given the challenging nature of the drug delivery problem for cancer therapy, my work builds on three interrelated main concepts: i) the development of computational tools for screening MOF structures for drug delivery and to identify the mechanisms that control adsorption processes in such materials; ii) the synthesis and experimental characterisation of the optimal MOFs identified before; and iii) the assessment of their performance, giving a translational dimension to the proposed research. The novelty of my research lies therefore in the synergetic combination of tools from different areas and disciplines to produce advances in nanomedicine applications.
In addition to this important biomedical work, I am also interested in the use of MOFs for the necessary shift from today’s fossil-based energy economy to a more sustainable economy based on hydrogen, renewable energy and carbon capture to mitigate the effects of global warming. My objective is to evaluate new strategies in the study of adsorption processes, the design of new porous materials and the development of new methods in the prediction of their performance. All in all, I contribute to the society bringing knowledge at the frontiers of science, and creating new startups that spin out from my lab.