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Philip Gale

Professor Philip Gale

Professor Philip Gale

Research Fellow

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Small molecule lipid bilayer anion transporters for biological applications

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Organisation: University of Southampton

Dates: Aug 2013-Jul 2018

Value: £66,250

Summary: My research involves the synthesis of small molecules with chemical groups that can form hydrogen bonds, designed to selectively bind a particular type of anion. These molecules are organic molecules and prefer to be present in environments that are more like oil i.e. greasy, hydrophobic than water. We can use these molecules in biological systems to mediate the transport of anions across cell membranes. These membranes have a hydrophobic ‘oily’ interior. As anions are charged they prefer to remain in water and it is difficult to extract them into the interior of the membrane; in fact normally anions are transported through protein channels that span cell membranes. In patients suffering from diseases such as cystic fibrosis there are structural problems with some of these channels and consequently chloride and bicarbonate anions cannot flow through them efficiently. This leads to problems such as the production of sticky mucus that causes lung infections. We are developing molecules that will restore the transport of anions through cell membranes by selectively binding to them - so ‘wrapping them up’ in the oily, hydrophobic coat of the transporter molecule. The transporter–anion complex can then diffuse through the cell membrane with the transporter releasing the anion on the other side. So the transporter molecule replaces the function of the faulty anion channel. These types of molecule also potentially have anti-cancer activity by perturbing chemical gradients within cancer cells so triggering the programmed death of the cell. We have discovered a number of types of molecule capable of transporting anions through membranes and we are working to understand how to design the most efficient transporters that will work in very low dose. This will be essential if we are to use these compounds in patients. If successful this work will provide a new, interdisciplinary approach for treating cystic fibrosis, cancer and other diseases.

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Organisation: University of Southampton

Dates: Oct 1997-Sep 2005

Value: £151,329.79

Summary: This project summary is not available for publication.

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