Nanomaterials for Drug and Gene Delivery research

Explore how we're helping to create targeted, safe and effective medicines to positively impact patients' lives

Delivery of an effective dose of a drug specifically to its target cells increases its efficacy and reduces side effects. Through our nanomaterials and drug delivery research, we're helping to create targeted, safe and effective medicines to positively impact patients' lives.

We're engineering and developing smart medicines for organ-specific diseases such as tumours, and our engineered nanomaterials enhance the ability of novel drugs that prevent and treat infections. Drugs that are administered on their own spread throughout the body in an uncontrolled way – leading to undesired toxicity and low efficacy. The medicines we develop can be delivered via smart carriers to specific parts of the body where a disease occurs, making them more effective and less likely to cause side-effects.

We’re also developing novel polymeric materials with functions inspired by biological systems. These materials generate platforms with new biomimetic polymeric architectures designed to enhance treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of chronic diseases (such as cancer, cardiovascular, and lysosomal storage diseases). The novel delivery systems are also able to deliver drugs to intracellular targets currently considered “undruggable”. We're also exploring new platforms for tissue-specific and site-specific gene delivery using functionalised lipid nanoparticles and hybrid peptide-lipid nanoparticles for treatment of cancer and metabolic disorders.

Our research also includes development and optimisation of smart lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), and rationally designed peptides for targeted delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids – such as siRNA and mRNA to specific tissues or tumours. This is the technology currently used in the successful delivery of vaccines – such as the Covid-19 vaccine. We use this approach to reduce the production of proteins by tumours using RNA interference (RNAi), and this allows us to efficiently treat different types of cancer with low adverse effects. This approach can be used to increase protein production in specific tissues – used for the treatment of various t metabolic disorders.

Our research also uses the natural self-assembly and recognition properties of nucleic acid sequences (such as DNA) for biological, therapeutic and nanotechnology applications. We seek to improve the ability of these natural molecules to form triple helix structures by developing novel DNA-binding agents capable of recognising unique locations along the double-helical DNA. These molecules have potential to modulate the expression of specific genes, and introduce functionality into artificial DNA nanoconstructs. 

Current research topics

  • Artificially expanded genetic information systems for developing antigene oligonucleotides 
  • Triplex-modulation of CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases 
  • Triple-helical architectures for DNA nanotechnology
  • Optimisation of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) for targeted gene delivery to cancer cells
  • Development of rationally designed peptides for targeted  gene delivery to cancer cells
  • Synthesis and characterisation of multifuctional polymers
  • Modification of natural polymers to introduce antibacterial properties
  • Formulation of hydrogels for the controlled delivery of drugs
  • Nanomaterials for Drug and Gene Delivery


  • FIrebird Biomolecular Sciences
  • University of Sassari, Italy
  • Centre for Enzyme Innovation, University of Portsmouth

Publications highlights

Research groups

Discover our areas of expertise

Nanomaterials for Drug and Gene Delivery is one of areas of expertise in the Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences research area. Explore the others here.


We develop novel technologies for disease diagnosis at an early pre-symptomatic stage using a synergistic combination of gold nanostructures and unique Raman spectroscopic techniques

Femtosecond Laser Ablation (LA) and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) system
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Biomaterials for tissue engineering

We work at developing products that will be used in the repair of damaged tissue, in particular cartilage, bone, tendons and muscles.

16th & 17th January 2019
Centre for Enzyme Innovation Bid
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Theory, Modelling and Drug Design

Discover how our research identifies new drug molecules and improves drug design

SHSSW photo shoot, November 2018
Nursing, Operating Department Practice (ODP) and Paramedic Science students.
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Molecular mechanisms of diseases

We're exploring the molecules and molecular processes that cause diseases, and working to develop better treatments.

Molecular structure model
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Interested in a PhD in Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences postgraduate research degrees page.