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Senior Lecturer, Biopharmaceutical Sciences
Pharmaceutical, Chemical & Environmental Sciences
Dr Simon Richardson, having received a BSc Hons in ecology and biotechnology, became interested in the modulating the regulation of genes as part of a Master's degree placement at Eli Lilly. After studying gene delivery and completing his PhD at the University of London, School of Pharmacy, he moved to Iowa, USA, to study cell biology (endocytosis and the regulation of membrane trafficking) as well as human gross anatomy which he taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor (Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Iowa). Since 2006 Dr Richardson has been actively pursuing his own research interests combining molecular cell biology and drug delivery with the intention of developing new and more efficient anti-viral and anti-cancer medicines based upon nano-scale molecular medicines.
Senior Lecturer in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, School of Science, University of Greenwich. Teaching and research focusing on the exploitation of post-endocytic membrane trafficking pathways for macromolecular drug delivery.
August 2008–April 2010
Director of Research and Enterprise (Research): School of Science, University of Greenwich. Dr Richardson was accountable to the Head of School and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research for all research activities undertaken by the School of Science. In addition he continued to run his own research laboratory and participate in the teaching of drug delivery, cell biology and the application of nanomedicines.
July 2007–July 2008
Senior Lecturer in Biopharmaceutical Sciences: School of Science, University of Greenwich. Teaching and research focusing on the exploitation of post-endocytic membrane trafficking pathways for macromolecular drug delivery.
January 2007–June 2007
EPSRC platform co-ordinator: Department of Chemistry, University of Cardiff, titled: 'Bioresponsive polymer therapeutics: synthesis and characterisation of novel nanomedicines', held by Dr Peter Griffiths. Duties included research and managing the day-to-day running and coordination of the platform grant.
June 2006–January 2007
Visiting Assistant Professor: Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Iowa. Research focusing upon the regulation of post-endocytic recycling events utilised by A5B and Ricin toxin and the use of A5B and Ricin toxins in drug delivery. Teaching duties included: 060:001 Principles of Human Anatomy and 060:270 Anatomy, Physiology, Patho-physiology and Assessment for Nurse Anaesthetists.
Physiology and Pharmacology
Physiological Systems and Regulation
Analytical Biochemistry and Advanced Protein Biochemistry
Cell and Microbial Biology
Medicinal Chemistry and Therapeutics
Drug Design and Delivery
In order to maintain homeostatic balance, mammalian cells compartmentalise, store and process material within organelles. In order to interact with and manipulate their environment, cells move material between membrane bound organelles in a highly regulated way. A well-studied example of one such process is that of endocytosis. Endocytosis is mediated by a succession of cargo sorting, membrane envagination, membrane fission, transport and fusion events that can result in the selective trafficking of both endogenous and exogenous material.
The regulated movement of membrane, and the proteins responsible for the regulation of cargo sorting, vesicle fission (budding), vesicle movement and subsequent fusion is collectively called membrane trafficking and is not limited to endocytosis but also incorporates processes such as organelle biogenesis and the secretion of biogenic signalling molecules.
Once the proteins responsible for regulating and mediating transport from one organelle to another have done their job, they are subject to retrieval (or retention) and this recycling process enables them to participate in subsequent rounds of sorting and movement. Several organisms (both bacterial and plant in origin) have evolved to take advantage of different steps associated with the retention and recycling of membrane components. Ribosome Inactivating Proteins (RIPs) are examples of molecules that can successfully escape the default endocytic pathway entering the cytosol to mediate intoxication resulting in cell death.
This phenomena is interesting as it demonstrates that it is possible to utilise the mammalian endomembrane system to effectively deliver a macromolecule to the cytosol of a cell, a goal that is also sought after by people attempting gene therapy. If these toxins can be made safe, (or used to identify the endogenous recycling domains they mimic) so facilitating the cytosolic delivery of macromolecular drugs, we may force a paradigm shift in both drug discovery and drug delivery.
Further a biocompatible water soluble polymer component can be used to facilitate the cell, tissue or organ specific delivery of this intracellular delivery system. A cartoon depicting this delivery system is shown.
The field of Nanomedicines were defined in the ESF – European Medical Research Councils Forward Look Report as follows:
"The field of 'Nanomedicine' is the science and technology of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease and traumatic injury,of relieving pain,and of preserving and improving human health, using molecular tools and molecular knowledge of the human body. It was perceived as embracing five main sub-disciplines that in many ways are overlapping and underpinned by the following common technical issues:
Within the context of this work, focus will be directed to 'Novel Therapeutics and Drug Delivery Systems'.
Herein, the term nanomedicine will be used to denote a multi-component, water-soluble deliverable and delivery system with a radius of gyration of less than a micron. Previously this type of therapeutic entity has also been referred to as a polymer therapeutic.
Nanomedicines and safety:
As with any new chemical entity designed to be a therapeutic, the need to stress safety and the extensive characterisation of the potential medicine is paramount. These concerns are addressed as early as possible and are constantly revisited.
Relating structure to function:
Further information linking nanomedicine structure to function can be found by clicking the platform banner.
Richardson, S.C.W. 2009. Invited speaker: Copying nature in order to safely deliver macromolecules to the cytosol: the use of polymers and recombinant proteins. Proceedings of the 36th International Symposium on Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials. Copenhagen, Denmark, 19–21 July.
Richardson, S.C.W., Jones, A., and Gumbleton, M. 2009. Endocytosis in drug delivery. Workshop at the 2nd ESF Nanomedicines Summer School. Lisbon, Portugal.
Richardson, S. et al. 1999. Poly(amidoamine)s: evaluation as potentially endosomolytic polymers. Proceedings of the 26th International Symposium on Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials. Boston, USA, 20–23 June, pp. 434–5.
Richardson, S., Ferruti, P., and Duncan, R. 1998. The body distribution of poly(amidoamine)s and there DNA complexes. Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics: From the Laboratory to Clinical Practice. London, UK, 7–9 January.
Richardson, S., Bignotti, F., Ferruti, P., and Duncan, R. 1997. Poly(amidoamine)s as potential delivery systems for oligonucleotides. Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics: From the Laboratory to Clinical Practice. Kumamoto, Japan, 18–20 April.
Richardson, S., Bignotti, F., Ferruti, P., and Duncan, R. 1996. Poly(amidoamine)s as pH sensitive drug carriers: Evaluation of biocompatibility and membrane interactions. Proceedings of the 1st International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics: From the Laboratory to Clinical Practice. 10–12 January.
Richardson, S. et al. 1994. The hypoxia mediated expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) by Human Retinal Pericytes (HRP). EASD associated symposium Diabetic microvascular complications. Bochum, Germany, 27 September.
Richardson, S. 2010. Unzipping our genes: DNA – from designer drugs to designer babies. University of Greenwich, School of Science, 2010–11 Public Lecture Series, 27 October 2010, University of Greenwich.
Richardson, S.C.W.* (2010) Tracking intracellular polymer localisation via fluorescence microscopy. In: Organelle-Specific Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Weissig, V., and D'Souza, G. (eds.) New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons Inc., pp. 177–92. ISBN 978-0-470-63165-2.
Ferguson, E., Richardson, S., and Duncan, R. (2010) Studies on the mechanism of action of dextrin-phospholipase A2 and its suitability for use in combination therapy. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 7(2), pp. 210–321.
Richardson, S.C.* et al. (2010) Intracellular fate of bioresponsive poly(amidoamine)s in vitro and in vivo. J. Controlled Release, 142: pp. 78–88.
(*= corresponding author)