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Dr Chris Allender 


A member of the School's Drug Delivery & Microbiology Research Discipline

Coordinator of the Molecular Recognition Research Group.

Much of our work sits at interfaces between scientific disciplines, we positively encourage inter- and cross- disciplinary research.

Dr Allender's lab blog


Research Interests

Synthetic Molecular Recognition

A major focus of our laboratories is the design, characterisation and optimisation of synthetic materials that mimic the selective molecular binding properties of biological macromolecules. Templating processes such as molecular imprinting are used to prepare polymeric supports that posses ‘antibody’ like affinity and selectivity for particular target molecules. We are interested in designing new materials and in modifying and optimising existing approaches.

 Current Projects:

  • Developing a synthetic receptor capable of distinguishing between the active and the inactive forms of prion protein.
  • Bacterial biosensing: a LPS sensitive device
  • Phage display generated peptides selective for low molecular weight targets
  • Optimisation of precipitation approaches for preparing nano- and micro- imprinted spheres


Microfabrication and microfluidics

The elegance, convenience and effectiveness of micro- and nano- fabricated systems translate seamlessly into the world of chemical, synthesis, separation, analysis and sensing. We are currently particularly interested in blurring the boundaries between the worlds of synthetic molecular recognition materials, microfabrication and microfluidics.

 Current Projects:

  • Multiphasic, segmented flow, selective chemical enrichment and separation
  • Molecular gradients: nano patterning   
  • RF sensing and molecular imprinting
  • Catalytic molecularly imprinted microgels for ‘on-chip’ flow-through micro reactors
  • Microfabricated single cell ‘wells’ for manipulation and observation of non-adherent cells.
  • Multiphase microfluidic devices for chemical synthesis and purification


Drug Delivery

Designing systems capable of delivering macromolecules across the skin is particularly challenging.  We use microfabricated slicon and polymeric microneedles to breach the stratum corneum barrier in order to deliver macromolecules and particles to underlying viable tissues. We are also interested in feedback responsive intelligent drug delivery and use intelligent ‘synthetic receptors’ to bring about feedback controlled release.

Current Projects:

  • Microneedle mediated epidermal vaccination
  • Design and preparation of polymeric microneedle arrays for drug delivery applications




School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Dr Mark Gumbleton

Dr James Birchall

Dr Keith Brain

Dr Arwyn Jones

Dr Stephen Denyer

Dr Jean-Yves Maillard


Cardiff University

Professor David Barrow, ENGIN

Professor Thomas Wirth, CHEMY

Professor Adrian Porch, ENGIN

Dr Phil Davies, CHEMY



Dr Cameron Alexander, Nottingham University, UK

Professor Zhongwei Gu, Sichuan University, China

Dr Anthony Morrissey, Tyndal Institute, Cork, Ireland

Dr Peter McCloughlin, WIT, Ireland

Professor Ian Nicholls, Kalmar, Sweden

Dr Sergey Piletsky, Cranfield University, UK

Dr Dan Rathbone, Aston University, UK

Dr Mike Whitcombe, Cranfield University, UK


Current Research Funding