Professor Arwyn Tomos Jones
Professor of Membrane Traffic and Drug Delivery
I joined the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University as a lecturer in 2001 and now serve as Professor of Membrane Traffic and Drug Delivery. Previously I gained my PhD in protein biochemistry and crystallography at Birkbeck College, University of London, and undertook postdoctoral positions investigating membrane traffic on the endocytic pathway at the Physiological Laboratory, University of Liverpool and the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, USA.
In 2000 I was awarded a European Molecular Biology Organisation Fellowship to work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany and continued at the EMBL when I was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Scholarship.
I have a keen interest in the public understanding of science, especially through the medium of Welsh, and in 2001 was awarded a Diploma in Journalism from the University of Wales Bangor. Since then I have been very active in science outreach activities and have organised several large science exhibitions at the National Eisteddfod of Wales - see below for Public Engagement with Science.
I am a member of the School's research themes:
- Experimental therapeutics & pharmaceutical sciences (ETPS)
- Drug discovery, design and synthesis (DDDS)
I have a major interest in endocytosis and cellular delivery of therapeutic macromolecules. My current projects fall under the overall themes of regulation of endocytosis and endocytic pathways:
- Targeting and endocytosis of plasma membrane receptors
- Polymeric conjugates as drug delivery vectors
- Cell penetrating peptides as drug delivery vectors
- Breast cancer cell biology
- Confocal microscopy image generated by PhD student Lin He makes front page of 2015 Cell Penetrating Peptides book
- Host of the COMPACT European Drug Delivery Consortium
- Featured publication and front cover image in Molecular Therapy, December 2015
- Universal strategy to increase the uptake of drugs, October 2015
Public engagement with science
I am very active in public engagement in science, and have gained funding from both the Wellcome Trust and EPSRC to set up large public engagement activities. I regularly contribute to BBC, S4C and Radio Cymru news programmes and am also engaged in discussing other aspects of science on TV and radio. I also visit local schools and colleges to showcase science. Here are some outreach highlights:
- Bouncing brain at this years National Eisteddfod, August 2016
- STEM day students visit Pharmacy, May 2016
- Cancer Research Open Day, Cardiff University, October 2015
- Working Polymers exhibition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales Meifod, August 2015
- STEM day, Cardiff University, June 2015
- Cancer Research Open Day, 2014
- Science and technology pavilion at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in Llanelli, August 2014
In 2010 and 2011 I led a Public Engagement project sponsored by the EPSRC to highlight the multidisciplinary science involved in, and potential of, tissue engineering. This £55K Partnership for Public Engagement Award "Tissue Engineering for Human Healing" was obtained with Dr Bob Steadman (MEDIC) and Dr Pete Griffiths (CHEMY) and involved setting up tissue engineering exhibits and activities at various locations in Wales and was launched at the 2010 National Eisteddfod of Wales in Ebbw Vale. Included there, and in the following year at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham, were a wide range of interactive and educational activities housed in the Eisteddfod Science Pavilion. These included a life sized Operation game, maggot races and a Stem Cell puzzle. The Stem Cell puzzle will now be a regular feature at the Techniquest science centre in Cardiff Bay.
Arwyn gained his PhD in protein crystallography at Birkbeck College, University of London and undertook postdoctoral positions investigating membrane traffic on the endocytic pathway at the University of Liverpool and Harvard University. In 2000 he was awarded a European Molecular Biology Organization fellowship to work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg Germany and continued at the EMBL via an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Scholarship.
In 2001 he was appointed as lecturer in the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University where he is now Professor in Membrane Traffic and Drug Delivery.
Research projects in his lab fall under themes of cancer cell biology, endocytosis and drug delivery. A major scientific objective is linking fundamental endocytosis research to better understand the cellular delivery of drug delivery vectors including antibodies targeting plasma membrane receptors and cell penetrating peptides. He actively collaborates with a number of national and international groups including his recent strong involvement with COMPACT, an academic/industrial drug delivery consortium collaborating on the Optimisation of Macromolecular Pharmaceutical Access to Cellular Targets.
He has a keen interest in the public understanding of science and in 2001 was awarded a BBC sponsored Diploma in Journalism from Bangor University. Since then he has been very active in public engagement with science at local and national levels and has organised several large Science exhibitions at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
- Editorial board of the Journal of Controlled Release, Membranes and Gwerddon
- Member of Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER).
- Member of the UK Biochemical Society and the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCB)
- PH1121 Molecule to patient
- PH1122 The role of the pharmacist in professional practice
- PH2110 Clinical & professional pharmacy
- PH3110 Optimisation of pharmaceutical care
- PH3202 Research methodology
- PH4116 Pharmacy research or scholarship project
- PH4118 Pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacy practice and the patient
Lectures on Module PHT202 on MSc/Diploma in Clinical Research course
Research projects in my lab fall under themes of cell biology and endocytosis, concentrating on linking fundamental endocytosis research to the remit of cellular delivery of macromolecular therapeutics:
- Characterisation of endocytic pathways utilised by therapeutic macromolecules to gain access into cells
- Studying the mechanism of entry of cell penetrating peptides (CPP) and CPP-conjugates
- Designing new polymer -conjugates for cellular delivery of therapeutic macromolecule
- Utilising subcellular fractionation for analysis of endocytosis and intracellular traffic of therapeutic macromolecules.
- Characterising roles for endocytic pathways in mediating multidrug resistance in cancer cells
- Design and manufacture of microarray surfaces for multi-image analysis of biological specimens.
Current Research Group
- Mr Rohan Naryan
- Hope Roberts-Dalton, PhD
- Dr Edd Sayers
- Dr Jennifer Wymant, PDRA, funded by Cancer Research Wales
Endocytic pathways and the cellular delivery of therapeutic macromolecules
Endocytosis encompasses highly complex and dynamic processes that cells use for example to allow entry of extracellular material and to downregulate cell surface receptors. The utilisation of these pathways for uptake and intracellular delivery of therapeutic macromolecules offers much potential for intervention of diseases such as cancer. However, the effectiveness of this approach is constrained by the fact that the fate of the therapeutic within one of these pathways is predetermined by the dynamics of the pathway and biological barriers posed by endocytic membranes. A major objective of the laboratory is to better understand endocytic pathways of cells, to utilise specific pathways for cellular delivery of therapeutic macromolecules and to design novel drug delivery vectors for enhancing cytosolic delivery of therapeutics.
Ongoing projects include:
- Pharmacological and molecular manipulation of endocytic pathways to characterise cellular uptake of therapeutic macromolecules
- Characterising the transduction capacities of cell penetrating peptides across biological membranes and their potential as vectors for cellular delivery of therapeutic molecules
- Polymer conjugates as vectors for cellular delivery of therapeutic macromolecules
- Characterising the uptake of nanoparticles targeting tuberculosis in macrophages.
The group has strong local, national and international collaboration with academia and industry. Arwyn Jones is currently lead academic scientist covering cell binding an uptake on a €27M European consortium involving 16 academic partners and 6 major pharmaceutical companies.