Skip to content
Research Fellows Directory

Samya Banerjee

Dr Samya Banerjee

Research Fellow


University of Warwick

Research summary

Bioinorganic and medicinal chemistry: design and synthesis of cellular organelle-targeting photo-active metal complexes of various bio-compatible ligands for tumour-selective anticancer activity.

Research Overview:

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) represents a novel method to treat cancer where a photoactive prodrug/ drug is selectively activated by light to kill cancer cells, leaving unexposed healthy cells unaffected. My present research is focused on the design and synthesis of photo-active organic ligands and their metal complexes to effect photoinduced DNA cleavage and cytotoxicity in cancer cells.

I have designed and synthesized photoactive metal complexes and characterized them by analytical, spectroscopic and crystallographic data. I have probed DNA binding and photoinduced DNA cleavage by the complexes using a variety of biochemical techniques. I have also studied their photocytotoxicity towards various cancer and normal cells along with the details of the photoinduced cell death mechanism. The remarkable phocytotoxicity of the complexes with insignificant dark toxicity suggests that such photo-active metal complexes are potentially suitable for PDT applications.

I have also synthesized tumour-targeting and cellular organelle-specific photoactive oxovanadium(IV) complexes, studied their selectivity towards cancer cells over normal cells and their specific intracellular localization in particular cell organelles (e.g. mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum). I have experience with cellular imaging and various assays for detection of apoptosis. The results are import for designing new generations of metal-based PDT agents targeted specifically to tumours.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Photoactivated organometallic catalysts as next-generation anticancer agents

Scheme: Newton International Fellowships

Dates: Feb 2017 - Jan 2019

Value: £99,000