Dr Ali Ryan
School/Department: Life Sciences, Pharmacy & Chemistry
Position: Senior Researcher
Dr Ryan did his degree at Imperial College during which he spent a sandwich year designing high throughput screening assays for GlaxoSmithKline. His PhD was with Prof. Stephen Curry at Imperial College using structural biology to understand the transport of drugs around the body. He then moved to take up a postdoctoral position with Prof. Edith Sim in Oxford University studying novel antibacterial targets in M. tuberculosis and Ps. aeruginosa. In 2012 he moved to Kingston University to run the newly opened biotechnology laboratory.
Educational and Professional Qualifications
- 2004 - 2008 PhD in structural biology
- 2000 - 2004 BSc Biotechnology with a year in industry
My primary research interests are in the identification of novel targets for antimicrobial therapeutics and the development of novel strategies to overcome bacterial infection. My lab uses a range of molecular and microbiology techniques alongside recombinant protein technology, enzymatic assays and X-ray crystallography to identify and characterise novel targets.
In early 2012 I moved to Kingston University to establish the state of the art biotechnology laboratory. Our lab acts as a core facility in the newly formed faculty of science engineering and computing. Alongside my own research, my job is to provide staff with the expertise and support in molecular biology and to produce recombinant protein from a range of organisms from bacteria to humans. I am then involved with characterising these proteins and eventually crystallising them. All of our projects are also supported by an international network of collaborations with researchers across the UK and Europe e.g. Dr Gail Preston at Oxford University.
The focus of my research is the identification, characterisation and exploitation of novel antimicrobial targets. Currently my lab focuses on two major projects involving targets in P. aeruginosa and M. tuberculosis. In P. aeruginosa we focus on the azoreductase family of enzymes that are found ubiquitously in bacteria. Although they lack a clear physiological function, they are known to prevent mammalian infection in P. aeruginosa. Work in my lab has shown that they are important determinants of antibiotic sensitivity in the bacteria and we are now investigating how these enzymes control such diverse phenotypes.
In M. tuberculosis our investigations centre round developing inhibitors of genes from the cholesterol metabolism pathway. We are using biophysical and high throughput screening techniques to identify inhibitors of a novel target for anti-tubercular agents, which was initially identified in our lab. These initial hits have now been validated with the help of researchers at UCL who have shown they inhibit the growth of M. tuberculosis on cholesterol.
I also advise a range of other projects including ones focusing on; heart disease, cancer, diabetes and optics of the eye.
Drawing from his background in structural biology Dr Ryan teaches protein structure and chemistry at all levels. he also teaches basic micrbiology to first year students.
+44 (0)20 8417 2225