Academic Background

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in PHA. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Mark Searcey is Chair of Medicinal Chemistry and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Science at UEA.. His previous positions were as Head of the Schools of Pharmacy (2011-2019) and Chemistry (2015-2019). He was Reader (2006) then Chair of Medicinal Chemistry (2010) and Director of Research in Pharmacy at UEA, Senior Lecturer at the School of Pharmacy, University of London (2000-2006), Assistant Professor and Research Associate at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California (1997-1999) and as a Research Scientist with the St Luke’s Institute of Cancer Research at University College Dublin, Ireland (1991-1996). His post-doctoral research position was with Gerry Gallacher and Keith Brocklehurst at the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Queen Mary College, University of London on polyclonal catalytic antibodies (1989-1991). He obtained a BSc(Hons) in chemistry from Loughborough University (1985) and PhD with Barry Lee at the Hatfield Polytechnic (now the University of Hertfordshire, 1989).

Research is focussed on interesting targets for the development of new therapeutics with a particular interest in targeting DNA and protein-proteins interactions. The group uses both solution and solid phase synthesis to make compounds based upon natural products or purely from synthetic sources. Some highlights include: in 2007, in collaboration with Christine Cardin, we described a new mode of binding to DNA that targeted a four way junction called a Holliday Junction (HJ). In 2010, we showed that we could induce the formation of a HJ at room temperature, another first with potential applications in nanotechnology as well as therapeutics. In 2003, we carried out the first solid phase synthesis of the chlorofusin peptide, part of a natural product targeted at the p53/MDM2 interaction and followed it with the solid phase synthesis of a triostin A analogue that represented the most efficient synthesis of this DNA binding molecule to date. We are currently focussed on targeting protein-protein interactions and DNA targets in cancer and inflammation, alongside the synthesis of natural products targets such as simocyclinone.

Current Group

  • Dr Marco Cominetti
  • Dr Andrew Beekman 
  • Issa Jyamubandi (Part-time, funded by LGC)
  • Zoe Goddard (Funded by PDT Norfolk and UEA, joint with David Russell)
  • Chris Marriot (funded by BBSRC)


Selected Publications

Anti-inflammatory effect of a cell penetrating peptide targeting the Nrf2/Keap1 interaction
Steel, R.; Cowan, J.; Payerne, E.; O’Connell, M. A.; Searcey, M.
ACS Med. Chem. Lett 2012
DOI: 10.1021/ml300041g

Synthesis of Small Molecules Targeting Multiple DNA Structures using Click Chemistry.
Howell LA, Bowater RA, O'Connell MA, Reszka AP, Neidle S, Searcey M.
ChemMedChem. 2012, 7, (5), 792–804
DOI: 10.1002/cmdc.201200060.

Modification of the duocarmycin pharmacophore enables CYP1A1 targeting for biological activity
Pors, K; Loadman, P. M.; Shnyder, S. D.; Sutherland, M.; Sheldrake, H. M.; Guino, M, Kiakos, K.; Hartley, J. A.; Searcey, M.; Patterson, L. H.
Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 12062-12064
DOI: 10.1039/C1CC15638A

A Small Molecule that Induces Assembly of a Four Way DNA Junction at Low Temperature
Howell, L. A.; Waller, Z. A. E.; Bowater, R.; O’Connell, M. A.; Searcey, M.
Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 8262-8264.
DOI: 10.1039/C1CC12922H

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