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Research Fellows Directory

Nicolas Barry

Dr Nicolas Barry

Research Fellow


University of Bradford

Research summary

Inorganic medicinal chemistry is in the early days of its development, both for therapy and for diagnosis. There is an urgent

need for the discovery of drugs with novel mechanisms of action, not least because some diseases and conditions are

developing resistance to current drugs. Metal coordination complexes in particular offer potentially unique biological and

chemical diversity which are quite distinct from that of organic drugs. This arises not only from the choice of the metal itself

and its oxidation state, but also from the types and numbers of coordinated ligands and the coordination geometry of the


However, a number of challenges in inorganic medicinal chemistry remain to be overcome, such as for example, tumour targeting

and reduction of side effects. Nanotechnology, which has been defined as the engineering and manufacturing of

materials at the atomic and molecular scale, offers unique tools for developing safer and more effective medicines, and

provides several potential advantages for drug formulation and delivery.

Our research proposes to combine medicinal inorganic chemistry and nanotechnology to synthesise novel nanoscopic

particles made of precious metals, unusual ligands (carboranes), and polymers, with potential applications as therapeutic

agents. We use a range of electron-deficient metal-complexes encapsulated in micelles made of polymers. A range of block

copolymers are used for controlling the physical and chemical properties of the resulting nanoparticles. We explore the applications of these particles in medicine (anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory drug candidates). This research therefore includes elements of underpinning concept and technology development, which will ultimately lead to a wide range of novel types of metallated particles that will have high selectivity towards cancer cells and reduced side effects; this is expected to directly impact survival chances and patient's quality of life during treatment.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

The design, chemistry, and biochemistry of carborane metallated particles

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2016 - Sep 2021

Value: £488,995.78