School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Maudland Building, MB241
+44 (0) 1772 89 5840
Subject Areas: Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Biosciences, Chemistry
Dr. Elsawy’s research scope spans from developing peptide-based nanomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering to peptide medicinal chemistry. He is mainly interested in developing functional peptide bionanomaterials, based on the understanding of the fundamentals of peptide self-assembly into bio-inspired nanofibers. These nanofibers can form hydrogels, microcapsules and nanoparticles that are suitable for various biomedical and biotechnological applications, ranging from drug delivery vehicles and therapeutic materials to cellular microencapsulation for cell delivery and tissue engineering.
Dr. Mohamed Elsawy graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University with BPharm (Hons.) in 2004. After working for one year as a licensed pharmacist, he joined the Department of Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the National Research Centre in Cairo as a research assistant. There, he worked on the design and synthesis of GABA analogues as anti-convulsant agents supervised by Prof. Nabil Aboul Enein. During that period, Mohamed successfully completed postgraduate courses in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the Faculty of Pharmacy at Cairo University. In 2009, he was awarded a three years postgraduate scholarship from the School of Pharmacy at Queen's University of Belfast to start a PhD programme with Prof. Brian Walker. Mohamed’s PhD focused on the design and synthesis of modified peptide analogues and peptidomimetics for targeting key protein-protein complexes implicated in cancer resistance towards intrinsic apoptosis. After finishing his PhD, he moved in 2013 to Bordeaux on a short-term fellowship for a research visit at the Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie, University of Bordeaux, where he developed new solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) strategies for the synthesis of aliphatic/aromatic oligoamide foldamers with helical conformations. In 2014, he joined the polymers and peptides research group as a postdoctoral research associate at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester (led by Prof. Alberto Saiani and Prof. Aline Miller), where he worked on the design and development of self-assembling peptide nanofibers for various biomedical applications; a research theme which continue in his role at UCLan.
Molecular self-assembly has been exploited in Nature to develop the complex higher macromolecular structures of both the genome and proteome. Dr. Elsawy’s research interests focus on understanding the fundamentals behind peptide self-assembly into bio-inspired structures for the design of novel stable, responsive and functional bionanomaterials with potential various pharmaceutical, biomedical and biotechnological applications.
The main advantage of these systems is the physicochemical tunability of the formed nanofibers by simply playing with the composition of the amino acid building blocks of the primary peptide sequence. In addition, these peptide-based systems are biocompatible, biodegradable, non-toxic and non-immunogenic and thus are safe for use in pharmaceuticals and for tissue engineering applications. Together with his collaborators at University of Manchester, Dr Elsawy has developed β-sheet forming peptide nanofibers that can form shear-thinning hydrogels, microcapsules and nanoparticles. Recently, he started exploring the interfacial activity of those self-assembled structures with the potential applications as emulsifiers and as stabilising agents in biopharmaceuticals. Another recent area of interest is developing self-assembled peptide microcapsules for encapsulation of stem cells as safe vehicles for cell therapy application.
Prospective Postgraduate Students and Postdoctoral Research Associate candidates are invited to check current research projects and opportunities at Dr. Elsawy’s website.