David A Fulton Research Group

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David A Fulton is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.  A native of the town of Kilbirnie in north Ayrshire, Scotland, he received his BSc (Hons) from Strathclyde University (1996) and PhD (2001) working on carbohydrate and supramolecular chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles under the direction of Prof Sir J Fraser Stoddart FRS.  He then spent two and half years as a postdoctoral research associate with Prof David Parker FRS at the University of Durham working on the synthesis of gadolinium-centered dendrimers as new MRI contrast agents.  In 2006 he moved up the road to take up his present position within the School of Chemistry and as a member of the its Chemical Nanoscience group.  His research interests are focused on supramolecular polymer chemistry.


Michael Bracchi was born in in Newcastle Upon Tyne, completing his MChem degree in chemistry with honours in medicinal chemistry at his hometown university. His final year project focussed on ‘Evaluating the Potential of a Polyrotaxane-Based siRNA Delivery Platform’ under the supervision of Dr David Fulton . In October 2013 Michael began his PhD with the DAF research group investigating ‘Adaptive, Responsive Polymer Systems’, specifically the development of multi-stimuli responsive polymer networks. Michael is a keen guitarist, and has always been involved in sports including rugby and freestyle karate; he was appointed the Youth Sports ambassador for Gateshead 2007 – 2009.

Luke Dixon was born in East Grinstead and raised in Knutsford, Cheshire. Having completed his BSc in Chemistry at Sheffield University he spent 18 months developing novel coatings with Unilever in Bedforshire. An MSc in Drug Chemistry at Newcastle University was immediately followed by a PhD developing Alkynliodonium Salt mediated carbon isotope incorporation methodologies for drug development studies, in collaboration with Sanofi Aventis. Subsequent post-doctoral projects included radio-chemical production of [18F]-Fluorodeoxyglucose and development of radiotracers for Alzheimer’s and Stroke patients as well flow chemistry. In June 2014, Luke joined the DAF group to focus on the development of anti-fouling polymer coatings for marine environments.

Antonio Ruiz-Sanchez is a postdoctoral researcher associate working on the development of polymer-based anti-fouling surfaces and coatings for marine applications.   His major focus is the synthesis and evaluation of fluoropolymer zwitterion conjugate materials and coatings which feature benign biocidal compounds.   He joined DAF group after a postdoctoral stay with Prof. Rachel Mckendry at University College of London where he studied the synthesis, characterization and testing of new glycopeptidic antibiotics, and the development of new  techniques to improve the functionalization and response of different kinds of sensors . Prior to this, he obtained his PhD in Organic Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Ezequiel Perez-Inestrosa (University of Malaga) working in the synthesis and application of dendrimeric antigens to the study of allergic drug reactions.  His research interests include nanochemistry, polymer chemistry and biomimetic materials

Gema Dura was born in Alicante, Spain. She received her BSc (2008) from the University of Castilla-La Mancha and DEA (2010) from the University of Zaragoza. She obtained her Ph.D. in 2014 under the supervision of Profs Felix Jalon and M. Carmen Carrion at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, with a FPU studentship, working on the supramolecular chemistry and synthesis of metal-organic frameworks (MOF) formed by N-donor ligands and transition metals. In 2014 she won a postdoctoral fellowship to join the group of Michael North in GCCE at the University of York, working with carbonaceous materials as CO2 capture agents. Gema joined the DAF group in July 2015 as a postdoctoral researcher and she is currently focused on developing new hydrogel materials based on polymeric proteins for applications in industry and medicine.

Gema Dura

Patrick Higgs grew up in the small Cumbrian market town of Kirkby Stephen located at the foot of the Pennines, between the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks. In July 2015, Patrick graduated from Newcastle University with an MChem degree after completing his final year project focused on the ‘Development of the Dynamic Covalent Acyl Hydrazone Bond for Component Exchange near Physiological pH’ under the guidance of Dr David Fulton. Patrick re-joined the DAF research group in September 2015 to begin his PhD, with the goal of shrink-wrapping viral capsids in a polymer nanoparticle coating to allow for their safe transport and storage. Outside of the lab Patrick is a keen road cyclist, but also enjoys playing drums and spending time on music production.

Milene Dalmina was born in Lages, Brazil. She received her Master degree in Pharmacy from the Federal University of Santa Catarina under the supervision of Professors Tania Pasa and Frederico Pittella working on the development of magnetic nanoparticles coated with calcium phosphate for the delivery of siRNA. She received a PhD scholarship from the Brazilian Government and joined the DAF group in October 2015. Her work will be focused on development of polymeric nanoparticles targeted to leukaemia cells for the delivery of siRNA in close collaboration with the group of Professor Olaf Heidenreich in the Northern Institute of Cancer Research.  She also likes to play basketball, tennis and others sports.

Previous members

PhD and Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Ben Murray Postodoctoral Research Associate 2009-2011 (Marie Curie Fellow at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, now lecturer in inorganic chemistry, University of Hull, UK)

Dr Alex Jackson PhD Student 2008-20012 (now research scientist at A*STAR  Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences, Singapore)

Dr Majid Al Nakeeb Postdoctoral Research Associate 2011-2013 (Merck Millipore, UK and now Glythera, UK)

Dr Marta Omedes-Pujol Postdoctoral Research Associate 2011-2013 (now Syngenta, UK)

Dr Noor Aniza Harun PhD Student 2009-2013 (now lecturer at at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malysia)

Dr Clare Mahon Nuffield Foundation Vacation Studentship 2009, MChem 2010, PhD student 2010-2014 (now EPSRC Doctoral Fellowship at University of Leeds, UK)

Dr Sarah Upson Postdoctoral Research Associate (2012-2015)

Dr Claudia Ventura Postdoctoral Research Associate (2014-2016) (now Ashland, UK)

Dr Daniel Coleman PhD Student 2011-2015 cosupervised with Prof Olaf Heidenreich (now postdoctoral researcher at University of Birmingham, UK)

Dr Antonio Ruiz-Sanchez Postoctoral Research Accociate (2014-2016) (now research fellow, Universidad de Malaga, Spain)

Dr Luke Dixon Postdoctoral Reseach Associate (2014-2017) (now scientist at Aesica, UK)

Dr Daniel Crisan Postdoctoral Research Associate (2017)

Dr Michael Bracchi MChem 2013, PhD student 2014-2017


Visiting Researchers

Daniel Whitaker October 2011-September 2012

Ana Sanchez Sanchez April - July 2012

Willi Smolens April 2013 - September 2013


Undergraduate Students

Siraaj Bukera MPharm 2017

Tom Kirkbride MChem 2017

Britt Rusell-Webster MChem 2017

Rory Cosslett MChem 2017

Andrew Turley MChem 2016

Adam North MChem 2016

James Henderson MChem 2016

Patrick Higgs MChem 2015

Alex Blenkey MChem 2015

Matthew Dobson MChem 2015

Samantha Lunn MChem 2014

Tom Gibson MChem 2014

Michael Bracchi MChem 2014

James Laws University vacation studentship, 2012

Liam Corkain MChem 2012

Virigina Tierney MChem 2012

Esther Brewis Nuffield Foundation vacation studentship, 2011

Christopher Stakes MChem 2011

Sally Holden MChem 2011

Andrew Strongman MChem 2011

Youcef Boubalouta University vacation studentship, 2010

Louis Perdios MChem 2010

Clare Mahon MChem 2010

Charlotte Rouse Nuffield Foundation vacation studentship, 2007, University vacation studentship 2008, MChem 2009

Tom Wildsmith MChem 2009

James Watson MChem 2007