Past Group Members

Postdoctoral Research Associates

Dr. Rachael Dickman (2018)

Rachael obtained her MChem degree in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Manchester in 2013. She then moved to London for her PhD studies, supervised by Professor Alethea Tabor at UCL, working on the synthesis and structural analysis of the lipid II binding region of nisin, a potent antimicrobial peptide. Following her PhD, she moved to Sweden for a postdoctoral project with Dr Máté Erdélyi at Uppsala University, where she conducted detailed NMR studies on nisin using NAMFIS analysis. In 2018 she was awarded an EPSRC doctoral prize fellowship to work with Professor Stefan Howorka at UCL and Dr Stephen Cochrane at Queen's University Belfast, studying the structure of the nisin-lipid II pore complex using biophysical experiments. When she’s not at the lab, Rachael enjoys baking and watching live music

Chemistry MSci Project students

Brendan Totten (2018)

Previous: Brendan is final year MSci Medicinal Chemistry student, working on the synthesis of a labelled lipid-alcohol substrates for the purposes of monitoring bacterial lipid kinase. During the course of his degree, Brendan worked in the Centre for Experimental Medicine at QUB, sparking his interest in microbiology, leading him to pursue a masters project in the discovery of new antibiotic targets. Outside of the Lab Brendan is a keen Musician, an avid gym goer, and a coffee enthusiast.     



Francesca Alexander (2017)

Previous: Francesca grew up in Maghaberry (not the prison) Co. Armagh and is currently in the final year of an Msci in Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast. Her Master’s project involves the synthesis of labelled glycolipids for the study of some cool glycolipid processing enzymes. During her degree Francesca spent a summer in the Knipe lab at QUB researching catalysts for enantioselective synthesis. She also spent two months teaching Chemistry in India with the British council. During her free time Francesca enjoys cheerleading, travelling and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Current: PhD student with Prof. Stuart James at QUB (Aug 2018 - present)

Conor McCallion (2017)

Previous: Conor McCallion grew up in Derry, before moving to Belfast to study Medicinal Chemistry at Queen's University Belfast. He is currently in the final year of his MSci course and has completed a research placement at Randox Laboratories in Crumlin where he worked in the Synthetic Chemistry lab. His final year project in the Cochrane Lab is directed towards the replacement of expensive amino acids in non-ribosomally synthesised antimicrobial peptides to make cheaper analogues. Outside of university Conor enjoys powerlifting and reading comic books. Current: Peptide Scientist at Almac.

BSc Project students

Chuyang (Keira) Wu (2018)

Chuyang(Keira) Wu grew up in China and is currently in her final year of a Bsc in Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast. During her studies in Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 2017 she participated in a research project about the preparation HTLcs containing carbon quantum dots. Her final year project in the Cochrane Lab aims to develop a new orthogonal protecting group strategy to synthesize peptides containing disulfide bonds. Outside of lab, she enjoys having delicious foods and playing guitar.

Zhouzheng (Felix) Wang (2017)

Previous: Zhuozheng Wang grew up in China and is currently in his final year of a Bsc in Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast. He conducted research on the rapid detection of tetracycline content in food using graphene-aptamer systems during his studies in Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 2016. His final year project in the Cochrane Lab is aims to synthesize analogues of the ascaroside class of pheromone to study the infectivity of nematodes. During his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and making coffee (he took a part-time job as a barista at Starbucks when he studied in China). Current: PhD student in the Hu lab at QUB (May 2019 - present).

Pharmaceutical Analysis MSc students

Nana Berfi (2018)

Nana Berfi is originally from Ghana, where she lived and studied. In 2017 she moved to Queen's University Belfast where she is currently enrolled in the MSc Pharmaceutical Analysis programme. For her master’s thesis, she is undertaking a project to develop FRET peptides that will be used to study peptidases in the Cochrane Lab. Her hobbies include craft-making and listening to music

Xinyu Lu (2018)

Xinyu Lu grew up in China and is currently in her final year of an MSc in Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast. During her studies in the China Pharmaceutical University of Pharmacy in 2017 she was involved in research about the prescription of dipyridamole tablets. Her final year project in the Cochrane Lab aims to extract highly valuable lipids from plant sources. During her free time, Xinyu enjoys cooking and playing games.



Summer students

Ryan McNamee (2018)

Previous: Ryan recently completed an MSci in Medicinal Chemistry at Queen's University Belfast, where in conducted research in the Knipe Group on the catalytic asymmetric synthesis of spirocyclic oxindoles. Ryan has also completed a 1 year’s industrial placement at GlaxoSmithKline in the Allergic and Inflammation department were he routinely synthesised compounds for the potential treatment of respiratory diseases. His current interests are in the development of asymmetric methodology and novel therapeutics/biological probes. Current: Synthesis for Biology and Medicine PhD programme at the University of Oxford (Sept 2018 - present).