Vincenzo Abbate
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Personal profile

Biographical details

Dr Vincenzo Abbate completed his Pharm. D. in 2004 (110/110 cum laude) at Federico II University of Naples (Italy). He then moved to the UK to undertake a PhD in Chemistry and Analytical Sciences at The Open University. In 2008 he was awarded a prestigious Maplethorpe Fellowship of the University of London for the promotion of teaching and research in the pharmaceutical area. Abbate is currently a Reader in Bioanalysis in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, where he leads the Analytical Toxicology research group and serves as Director of the Analytical Toxicology MSc programme. Dr Abbate is a Titular Member of the IUPAC Division of Chemistry and Human Health, where he chairs an international committee on New Psychoactive Substances and acts as the President of the IUPAC Subcommittee on Toxicology and Risk Assessment. He is a member of the RSC, ACS, SOT, BTS and TIAFT, a Chartered Chemist (CChem) and Chartered Scientist (CSci), and author/co-author of ca. 100 peer-reviewed publications.

Research interests

Dr Abbate’s research focuses on the development of chemical approaches for biomedical and toxicological applications. This is advanced by his background in synthetic chemistry and analytical science, as well as by his extensive network of national and international collaborators. Key collaborators include the Imaging Chemistry and Biology team at KCL, the Clinical Toxicology and the Urology units at GSTT, the University of Bath, The University of Naples, TicTac Communications Ltd and Theragnostics Ltd.

Dr Abbate’s research is multi- and inter-disciplinary. His expertise is in Analytical Toxicology and his research supports two critical themes in the field:

- the design of metal chelators for both medical and diagnostic applications.

- the development of new analytical approaches and the discovery of new biomarkers for New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and other misused substances.

Current Projects include:

a) Metal chelators design: The team has developed for the first time a range of peptide-based iron-sensitive fluorescent probes for the monitoring and adjustment of mitochondrial levels of labile iron pool (LIP). High concentration of LIP causes oxidative stress and cellular toxicity, leading to diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration and cardiovascular diseases, which are among the ten top causes of death globally. This research line has been supported by the BBSRC and, more recently, by Parkinson’s UK.

The expertise in chelator development further extends to the area of nuclear medicine, which forms the basis of an interdisciplinary research programme. In collaboration with the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, we recently collaborated towards the design of a novel PET tracer for prostate cancer detection. A close collaboration for the past five years with an industrial partner (Theragnostics LTD) has allowed the translation of preclinical findings in clinical practice. Further support for this research has been obtained through MRC funding (research grants and PhD case studentships).

b) NPS: Dr Abbate chairs an IUPAC international committee on New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) (link) which received funding to review the landscape of these emerging designer drugs at the international level. Dr Abbate leads a research group within King’s Forensics where he currently supervise a number of fully-funded PhD students working in the field of NPS: these include a BBSRC-iCASE funded project on mephedrone administration in healthy volunteers; a PhD studentship investigating novel metabolite detection of synthetic cannabinoids, a PhD project investigating novel emerging synthetic cathinones; and a PhD project evaluating the on-site rapid detection of NPS using portable instruments (in collaboration with TicTac Communications).

c) Improved detection of peptide hormones in drug testing: We are currently developing improved analytical methods for the detection of misused peptide hormones including growth-hormone releasing hormone-synthetic analogues, insulin-synthetic analogues and their metabolites in biological matrices. The team has also extensive expertise in the design and synthesis of synthetic peptides.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Chemistry and Analytical Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy, Open University

Award Date: 20 Jan 2008

Pharmacy, Master of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II

Award Date: 8 Jul 2004


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