Professor Douglas Kell: News and publications

On Wednesday, 17 June 2015 Professor Douglas Kell was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Aberdeen and was invited by the Principal, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, to deliver the Graduation Address at the conclusion of the ceremon

During April and May 2015 Professor Douglas Kell hosted the visit of a research team from the University of Pretoria. The visit was part of an ongoing BBSRC funded collaboration to study the dormancy of blood microbes.

O’Hagan S, Kell DB (2015) Understanding the foundations of the structural similarities between marketed drugs and endogenous human metabolites. Front Pharmacol 6, 105. DOI 10.3389/fphar.2015.00105.

This paper is a follow-up to O’Hagan S, Swainston N, Handl J, Kell DB (2015) A ‘rule of 0.5′ for the metabolite-likeness of approved pharmaceutical drugs. Metabolomics 11 (2), 323-339.That showed that - as anticipated by my proposals that pharmaceutical drugs enter cells solely by hitch-hiking on transporters that are part of normal cellular metabolism - marketed and hence successful drugs bear strong structural similarities to natural human metabolites. The newer paper develops the structural bases for this, notes the relative frequency of different substructures in natural metabolites and marketed drugs, and uses this to develop a novel cheminformatics encoding that can predict drug potency.

Potgieter M, Bester J, Kell DB, Pretorius E (2015). The dormant blood microbiome in chronic, inflammatory diseases. FEMS Microbiol Rev, in press. DOI: 10.1093/femsre/fuv013

The article shows that living human cells commonly harbour a population of microbes that are invisible to normal methods of culture and growth because they are (by definition) dormant and not dead. The review argues (on the basis of a considerable literature) that the periodic resuscitation of such microbes is responsible for the chronic inflammation seen in (and contributing to) a suite of diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and so on.

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