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The focus of the Martin group is to understand the role of proteases and associated inhibitors in chronic airways diseases, such as CF and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and includes the profiling, delineation and inhibition of proteases involved in infection and inflammation. 

In particular, the targeting of channel activating proteases (CAPs) as a means to regulate the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), dysregulation of which contributes to airways dehydration, has now progressed to include an important drug discovery/development element. 


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Open to PhD applications in the field of ion channel modulation, proteases as potential biomarkers and therapeutics targets,  infection and inflammation, chronic diseases, to include respiratory diseases and chronic wounds. 


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School of Pharmacy

Lorraine Martin

Lorraine Martin is a Professor of Biomolecular Sciences. She holds a BSc and PhD in Biochemistry and a Masters degree in Clinical Laboratory Medicine.  Her research area includes the role of active proteases in chronic airway diseases such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Her work has been supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, UK and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, USA as well Research Councils such as the BBSRC and MRC.  In addition, a €7.7M EU grant (BREATH; INTERREG Va, SEUPB) has recently been secured to support a cross-border collaborative programme focused on building research capacity in the area of COPD.

Research students

PhD Title: Targeting Trypsin-Like Proteases in Cystic Fibrosis Airways as a Mechanism to Restore Mucociliary Function

Name: Jessica Maye
Years of Study: 2014-2017
Country: Northern Ireland

PhD Title: Putting a CAP on ENaC: A mechanism to rehydrate the airways and restore mucociliary function in cystic fibrosis

Name: Lisa Douglas
Years of Study: 2015-2018
Country: Northern Ireland


PhD Title: Proteases and other inflammatory mediators in COPD

Name: Gillian Kelly
Years of Study: 2017-2021
Country: Northern Ireland

PhD Title: Modulation of ENaC and mucociliary clearance in COPD

Name: Emma Carroll
Years of Study: 2017-2021
Country: Northern Ireland

Alumni: where are they now?

Dr Timothy Ferguson

PhD Title: The design, synthesis and evaluation of novel inhibitors and activity-based probes targeting serine proteases in cystic fibrosis

Years of Study: 2012-2015
Country: UK 
Current position: R&D Chemist, ProAxsis Ltd.

Dr Charlene Robb

PhD Title: The development of an advanced protease capture material for the treatment of chronic wounds

Years of Study: 2011-2015
Country: UK
Current position: Regulatory and R&D Scientist, ProAxsis Ltd.

Dr Diarmaid Murphy

PhD Title: Intracellular delivery of peptide carriers, substrates and inhibitors

Years of Study: 2003-2007
Country: UK
Current position: Post-doctoral research scientist, School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University Belfast

Research at Queen's

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