Dr Simon Pope and Dr Niek Buurma Project Titles
1. Novel luminescent gold complexes as dual therapeutic/imaging agents
Therapeutic agents based upon gold coordination complexes have been studied for many years and it is probable that the biological and therapeutic activity of many gold species derives from the highly thiophilic nature of gold and ligand exchange. The aim of this work is to investigate the coordination chemistry of biologically active moieties as ligands with the ‘Au-PR3’ core, and assess the resultant spectroscopic, cytotoxic and anti-proliferative properties of these functional complexes. The ligands will include fluorescent pteridine and novel anthraquinone moieties.
The project is multi-disciplined: syntheses, spectroscopic and applied studies will exploit a unique combination of in-house techniques such as time-resolved luminescence to generate key information for the development of prototypical agents based upon AuI coordination complexes. In addition the interaction of the complexes with biological molecules such as protein and DNA will be fully described; the cytotoxic assessment of the complexes will elucidate the additive effects of the ligand components. The future utility of such complexes in an imaging context will also be pursued through confocal fluorescence microscopy, shedding mechanistic light upon the cytotoxic action.
• synthesis of new fluorescent ligand units based upon biologically active mercapto pteridine and anthraquinone units;
• elucidation of complex binding to macromolecules (such as DNA and proteins) and the effect upon the physical properties of the complex.