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Dr Vladimir Gubala

Lecturer in Chemistry & Drug Delivery and Director of Undergraduate Recruitment

Medway School of Pharmacy


Dr Vladimir Gubala obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in organic chemistry from the Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava, in 1999 and 2001 respectively. He then moved to the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, where in 2006 he received his Ph.D. in chemistry. His research focused on novel nanostructures based on self-assembly of 8-aryl-2'-deoxyguanosine analogues. After a postdoctoral position at the University of Florida, he joined the research team at the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI) at Dublin City University (DCU) in 2007. He worked at BDI for nearly 5 years, managing a group of scientists working on novel surface chemistry approaches for the design of low cost diagnostics platforms. During this time he remained involved with DCU as an associated faculty member and is currently co-supervising a postgraduate student as part of a Research Frontiers Award received in 2011 from Science Foundation of Ireland. Vladimir has developed a number of collaborations with industrial partners, his publication record exceeds 30 peer reviewed articles, one book chapter and he is listed as a lead inventor on two patents. He started his appointment as a lecturer at the Medway School of  Pharmacy in January 2012 and is a member of the NANOVAC consortium.

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Vladimir's interests overlap the fields of materials science, bio-organic and analytical chemistry and nanotechnology.

The main objectives of our research are:

  • To identify and develop new therapeutic agents for cancer therapy based on cross-linked 2'-deoxyguanosine derivatives and investigation of their ability to induce and stabilize G-quadruplex formation in telomeres. In our group, we’re particularly interested in developing simple diagnostics devices to assess the binding efficiency and the interaction mode of the prepared derivatives with telomeric DNA.
  • To develop novel multimodal carriers of drugs and contrast agents for targeted delivery and controlled release in target organs based on silica nanoparticles. The specific challenge is to develop small, non-toxic and highly efficient carriers of therapeutics to target brain tumours.
  • To design and build rapid, single-use diagnostic assessment tools for both early detection of infectious diseases and cancer and also for the subsequent treatment monitoring. A specific aspect of this project deals with novel surface chemistry approaches to improve specificity and precision of diagnostics devices.

This approach will enable us to access the fundamental understanding of the interactive forces between (i) the drugs which contain nano-systems and the target tissues/cells, (ii) the correlation between the composition and chemistry of the biomaterial, (iii) the reaction kinetics and the efficiency of the therapeutics.

Current Projects

Smart Silica Nanoparticles

Nanoparticle (NP) research has exploded in the past decade, with the world market for NPs in biomedical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications estimated to reach $1bn in 2013. However, the full potential of NPs in these applications will only be realised if their surfaces are efficiently coated with bio-recognition elements, e.g. antibodies. Traditional coating approaches are either unreliable or fail, due to the low compatibility of the NP surface and the active sites of the antibodies. Given the expense of antibodies, this problem becomes extremely important at industrial scales.

We aim to address these problems by designing a new strategy for fixing antibodies to NP surfaces, using a technique called molecular imprinting, and to test the resulting NPs in a variety of assays aimed at both diagnostic and targeted drug delivery applications.

PhD student: Filip Kunc

Collaborators: Dr. Andrew Hall & Dr.Bernhard Gibbs


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  • Simoin AJ, Walls-Smith LT, Freddi M, Fong FY, Gubala V. Plaxco KW (2017). Simultaneous Measurement of the Dissolution Kinetics of Responsive DNA Hydrogels at Multiple Length Scales. ACS Nano, 11 (1): 461–468
  • Gubala V, Harris LF, Ricco AJ, Tan MX, Williams DE (2012). Point of Care Diagnostics: Status and Future. Anal. Chem. 84: 487-515.
  • Charlton C, Gubala V, Gandhiraman RP, Daniels S, Yuk JS, MacCraith BD, Williams DE (2012). Improving the sensitivity of immunoassays with PEG-COOH-like film prepared by plasma based technique. J Biomed Mater Res A 100A (1): 230-235
  • Gandhiraman RP, Gubala V, Charlton O’Mahony C, Cummins Th, Raj J, Eltayeb A, Doyle C, James B, Daniels S, Williams DE (2012). PECVD Coatings For Functionalization Of Point-Of-Care Biosensor Surfaces. Vacuum 86: 547-555
  • Gandhiraman RP, Hoai Le NC, Dixit Ch, Volcke C, Doyle C, Gubala V, Uppal S, Monaghan R, James B, O’Kennedy R, Daniels S, Williams DE (2011). Multi-layered Plasma Polymerized Chips for SPR-based Detection. Appl Mater Interfaces 3 (12): 4640-4648
  • Coyle C, Gandhiraman RP, Gubala V, Hoai Le NC, Swift P, Daniels S, Williams DE (2011). Tetraethyl Orthosilicate and Acrylic Acid Forming Robust Carboxylic Functionalities on Plastic Surfaces for Biodiagnostics. Plasma Processes Polym 9 (1): 28-36
  • Hoai Le NC, Gubala V, Gandhiraman RP, Daniels S, Williams DE (2011). Evaluation of different non-specific binding blocking agents deposited inside poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) microfluidic flow-cells. Langmuir 27 (14): 9043-9051
  • Gubala V, Lynam C, Nooney R, Hearty S, McDonnell B, O'Kennedy R, MacCraith BD, Williams DE (2011). Kinetics of immunoassays with particles as labels: effect of antibody coupling using dendrimers as linkers. Analyst 136 (12): 2533-2541
  • Charlton C, Gubala V, Gandhiraman RP, Wiechecki J, Hoai Le NC, McDonagh C, MacCraith BD, Williams DE (2011). TIRF Microscopy as a Screening Method for Non-Specific Binding on Surfaces. J Coll Int Sci 354 (1): 405-409
  • Evans CW, Gubala V, Nooney R, Williams DE, Brimble MA, Devries AL (2011). How do Antarctic notothenioid fishes cope with internal ice? A novel function for antifreeze glycoproteins. Antarctic Sci 23(1): 57-64.

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Last Updated 13/05/2019