Dr David Dickens

Lecturer Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Research

BBB Transporters

The focus of my research group is on blood-brain barrier transporters. This means my research lies at the interface of drug transporters, blood-brain barrier (BBB) biology and molecular properties that determine the mechanism of transporter action.

One aspect of research in my lab group focuses on understanding the importance of transporters in the passage of drugs through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and relating this to patient outcomes such as efficacy by using pharmacogenetic approaches ie choosing the right patients. This could lead to a personalised medicine approach for the drug of interest and thus in the long run improved outcomes for patients receiving this compound hence improving the commercial viability/use of the drug of interest.

Conversely if a drug interacts with a BBB drug transporter this could then determine the penetration of the compound into the CNS thus having implications in terms of efficacy or CNS based adverse side effects. We can investigate these interaction with genetic screening approaches, transporter overexpression cell lines and in vitro models of the BBB.

Another major aspect of our research is to understand the molecular properties involved in the mechanism of transporter action utilising both in silico and wet lab experiments. This understanding at the biochemical level will aid in the identification of optimal ligands that are substrates or inhibitors of the transporter of interest.

The BBB is considered a significant bottleneck to the development of new CNS treatments with the additional challenge of disease specific effects. With my broad base of skills I feel that I am well equipped for the opportunities that are available in this exciting field of research.

Research Group Membership

Research Grants

The role of transporters in the uptake of AV-101

VISTAGEN THERAPEUTICS, INC (USA)

September 2017 - December 2022

Bench Fees - Wedad Alhassan K Mawkili - 201309650

ROYAL EMBASSY OF SAUDI ARABIA CULTURAL BUREAU IN LONDON (UK)

February 2018 - September 2021

A new generation of Crystallographic detector for Multi-user Barkla X-ray laboratory

BIOTECHNOLOGY & BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL (BBSRC)

July 2017 - July 2018

Antiepileptic drug transport at the blood-brain barrier; more than just P-glycoprotein

EPILEPSY RESEARCH UK (UK)

October 2010 - September 2014