• Room 03.034 - Whitla Medical Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Open to PhD applications in the fields of protease biology and inhibitor development (small molecule and biological inhibitors).


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research Statement

Dr Burden began her scientific career by achieving a BSc (Hons) 2.1 degree in Biochemistry at Queen’s University Belfast in 2002. Following this she undertook a Masters degree in Medical Sciences within the Department of Haematology at the university, where her research was focused on delineating a molecular signature in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. In 2003, Dr Burden transferred to the School of Pharmacy when she was awarded a DEL CAST award to commence her PhD studies in the area of protease biochemistry. This work was focused on the development of novel inhibition strategies for targeting the cysteine cathepsin family of proteases. During this time, Dr Burden developed and characterized several biologic-based inhibitors (recombinant protein and antibodies) that resulted in a number of patent applications and publications.

Upon completion of her PhD, Dr Burden embarked upon her postdoctoral career in 2007 when she was appointed as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership associate in a collaboration between the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology and Fusion Antibodies Ltd. This project was focused on the further development of the therapeutics that had been developed during her PhD studies in a number of tumour models and the identification of novel therapeutic targets in lung carcinomas that could also be amenable to antibody based targeting. Within Fusion Antibodies, Dr Burden was promoted to Team Leader within the R&D department and was responsible for liaising with the company directors and investors, giving regular updates on the scientific research that was being undertaken within the company.

After her time in industry, Dr Burden returned to academic research to undertake postdoctoral positions in the Drug Discovery research group within the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology and the Molecular Therapeutics Research cluster within the School of Pharmacy. Her research in the Drug Discovery group was focused on characterizing novel targets for breast cancer treatment, whilst in the School of Pharmacy she undertook a MRC-funded postdoctoral position focused on the molecular and pharmacological evaluation of Cathepsin S as a target for disease treatment.

In June 2012, Dr Burden was appointed as a Lecturer in Pharmacology in the Molecular Therapeutics research cluster within the School of Pharmacy. Her research interest is primarily centered around the cellular microenvironment (in both health and disease) and regulatory mechanisms mediated by proteases and chemokines. Currently, Dr Burden’s work is focused on ageing and inflammatory maladies such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and fibrosis.

Research Interests

  • Microenvironment
  • Inflammation
  • Ageing
  • Tumourigenesis
  • Fibrosis
  • Proteases
  • Therapeutics
  • Angiogenesis
  • Chemokines
  • Senescence


  • PMY1014: Introduction to Pharmacy Practice Skills
  • PMY2002: Medicinal Substances: Structure and Function
  • PMY2104: The Pharmacological basis of Therapeutics
  • PMY2105: Clinical Therapeutics 1
  • PMY3082: Applied Pharmaceutical Analysis and Drug Design
  • PMY3174: Clinical Therapeutics 2

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Research Output

A Novel Role for Cathepsin S as a Potential Biomarker in Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Wilkinson, R., Burden, R., McDowell, S., McArt, D., McQuaid, S., Bingham, V., Williams, R., Cox, O., O'Connor, R., McCabe, N., Kennedy, R., Buckley, N. E. & Scott, C., 28 Jun 2019, In : Journal of Oncology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    101 Downloads (Pure)

    Application of nanotechnology to target and exploit tumour associated proteases

    Cogo, F., Williams, R., Burden, R. E. & Scott, C. J., 01 Nov 2019, In : Biochimie. 166, p. 112-131

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Identification and SAR exploration of a novel series of Legumain inhibitors

    Eddie, S. L., Gregson, A., Graham, E., Burton, S., Harrison, T., Burden, R., Scott, C. J., Mullan, P. B. & Williams, R., 15 Jun 2019, In : Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 29, 12, p. 1546-1548 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Development of an advanced nanoformulation for the intracellular delivery of a caspase-3 selective activity-based probe

    Cogo, F., Smyth, P., Burden, R., Longley, D. B., Williams, R., Johnston, M., Poreba, M., Rut, W., Groborz, K., Salvesen, G., Drag, M. & Scott, C. J., 13 Dec 2018, In : Nanoscale - Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    67 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    172 Downloads (Pure)


    Bioactivity evaluation and structural modification of Bowman-Birk type protease inhibitory peptides from amphibian skin secretions

    Author: Miao, Y., Dec 2019

    Supervisor: Chen, T. (Supervisor), Zhou, M. (Supervisor), Burrows, J. (Supervisor) & Burden, R. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy