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Professor Olivia Corcoran

Professor of Bioanalytical Chemistry

The Medicines Research Group, Health, Sport and Bioscience

Professor Olivia Corcoran is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Chartered Biologist and currently Professor of Bioanalytical Chemistry in the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience at the University of East London. She leads the Medicines Research Group focusing on quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical and phytomedicines. Born and educated in Ireland, her career includes three years working on drug discovery at Pfizer Central Research, Sandwich and three years on adverse drug reactions at Imperial College Medical School, London. Her PhD, funded by Glaxo Group Research, developed novel NMR technologies for investigating drug metabolism. In 2000, she joined Bruker BioSpin in California as Product Manager of NMR flow technologies and was lead applications scientist for the CryoFlowProbe, winning an R&D100 Award in 2003. Later that year she was awarded a prestigious C. W. Maplethorpe Research Fellowship to investigate adverse drug reactions of NSAIDs at the Department of Pharmacy, King's College London. Dr Corcoran's published expertise is in developing novel flow technologies to further drug discovery. Current collaborations include the Department of Pharmacy, King's College London, The School of Chemical and Biological Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, The University of Cape Town and Imperial College London. Awarded MSc (Distinction) in Science entrepreneurship from Sir John Cass Business School in 2005.

    Olivia leads the Medicines Research Group focusing on quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical and phytomedicines.


    Professor Olivia Corcoran is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Chartered Biologist and currently Professor of Bioanalytical Chemistry in the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience at the University of East London. She leads the Medicines Research Group focusing on quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical and phytomedicines.

    Born and educated in Ireland, her career includes three years working on drug discovery at Pfizer Central Research, Sandwich and three years on adverse drug reactions at Imperial College Medical School, London. Her PhD, funded by Glaxo Group Research, developed novel NMR technologies for investigating drug metabolism.

    In 2000, she joined Bruker BioSpin in California as Product Manager of NMR flow technologies and was lead applications scientist for the CryoFlowProbe, winning an R&D100 Award in 2003. Later that year she was awarded a prestigious C. W. Maplethorpe Research Fellowship to investigate adverse drug reactions of NSAIDs at the Department of Pharmacy, King's College London. Dr Corcoran's published expertise is in developing novel flow technologies to further drug discovery.

    Current collaborations include the Department of Pharmacy, King's College London, The School of Chemical and Biological Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, The University of Cape Town and Imperial College London. Awarded MSc (Distinction) in Science entrepreneurship from Sir John Cass Business School in 2005.

    Overview




    Wound-healing is a centraI theme of Medicines Research Group’s research contributions. Olivia has published a ground-breaking invited review in Drug Discovery Today 2011 (Impact Factor 6.8) entitled “Anglo-Saxon pharmacopoeia revisited: a potential treasure in drug discovery”. This was to be the first serious reference to British native plant formulations used in Anglo-Saxon healthcare as documented in Medieval medical transcripts from the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 4th century to the Norman invasion in 1066.
    The chemistry and pharmacological activity of plants used in Anglo-Saxon England included St John’s Wort, Yarrow and White Horehound, all currently sold as over the counter botanicals. St John’s Wort is also sold in standardised pharmaceutical formulations to treat mild depression and at high strength is a prescription only medicine (POM). This truly world-leading output rapidly cements the seminal review with laboratory data on the antimicrobial activity of three native plants commonly used for wound-healing in Medieval times. Several of the plant formulations reflecting those used in Anglo-Saxon England were as active as the antimicrobial drug chloramphenicol against common Gram positive wound pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. This multi-disciplinary approach involved linguists, ethnobotanists, medical historians, chemists, pharmacologists, pharmaceutical scientists and herbal practitioners. Using the bioinformatic technology developed by MRG, this paper has already had significant impact in shedding light via rigorous scientific data on the evidence based for medicine as far back as the so-called “Dark Ages”. The work has signalled a higher impact for medical historians’ outputs, created a new area of scientific research on Medieval Medicine and created notable research links with University of Cambridge, the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (USA) and Kew Gardens.
    Care of the elderly and infirm  and metabolic diseases including obesity and diabetes are major wound-care concerns for developed economies such as the EU. Emerging global economies that lack national healthcare services such as China, India and the African nations rely on preventing and combatting microbial infection in wound care in children as a central theme of translational medicine. Since 2005 a key facet of Medicines Research Group’s research contributions is wound-care products in poor economies. Nigeria’s healthcare system though based on that of the UK’s NHS suffers from low investment and weak infrastructure. The Nigerian public thus rely on unregulated botanical formulations for first aid and low cost healthcare provision. This output relates to our seminal work on historical documentation from imperialist China and Britain as sources for modern drug discovery. In Nigeria where no historical literature exists, care modalities are passed through oral history alone. Adult literacy is low so we surveyed Yoruba traditional herbal practitioners and uncovered over 30 plant formulations sold as wound-healing products in Yoruba urban markets in Oyo State. This multidisciplinary output is related to a paper on antimicrobial activity of another Nigerian plant (Adetutu et al, 2011b) as part of an on-going programme to establish the quality, safety and efficacy of phytomedicines with economic value to emerging healthcare economies including Brazil, China, India, Africa and Mexico.
     
     
     
     


    Collaborators

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    Research

    R Hernandez-Bello, RV Garcia-Rodriguez, K Garcia-Sosa, LM Pena-Rodriguez, M Vazquez-Hernandez, FR Ramos-Morales, O Corcoran and A Sanchez-Medina. Salvinorin A content in legal high products of Salvia divinorum sold in Mexico. Forensic Science International. 2015. 249:197-201.

    A Adetutu, WA Morgan and O. Corcoran. Antibacterial, antioxidant and fibroblast growth stimulation activity for crude extracts of Bridelia ferruginea, a wound-healing plant of Nigeria. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2011, 133: 116-119.

    S. Cobb, R Heaney, O Corcoran and SK Henderson-Begg. Using mobile phones to increase classroom interaction. AACE Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 2010 , 19(2): 147-157.

    J Gao, H Zhao. PJ Hylands and O. Corcoran. Secondary metabolite mapping identifies Scutellaria inhibitors of human lung cancer cells. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 2010, 53:723-728.

    S. Cobb, R Heaney, O Corcoran and S Henderson-Begg. The learning gains and student perceptions of a second life virtual lab. Bioscience Education, 2009, 13, http://www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol13/beej-13-5.pdf

    A Sanchez-Medina, PC Stevenson, S Habtemariam, LM Pena-Rodriguez, O Corcoran, TA Mallet and NC Veitch. Triterpenoid saponins from the cytotoxic root extract of Sideroxylon foetidissimum, subsp. gaumeri. Phytochemistry, 2009, 70:765-772.

    A Sanchez-Medina, PC Stevenson, S Habtemariam, LM Pena-Rodriguez, O Corcoran, TA Mallet and NC Veitch. Triterpenoid saponins from the cytotoxic root extract of Sideroxylon foetidissimum, an endemic Yucatecan medicinal plant. Planta Medica, 2008, 74(9):908-909.   J Gao, A Sanchez-Medina, BA Pendry, MJ Hughes, GP Webb and O Corcoran. Validation of a HPLC method for flavonoid biomarkers in skullcap (Scutellaria) and its use to illustrate wide variability in the quality of commercial tinctures. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2008, 11 (1): 77-87.

    A Sanchez-Medina, CJ Etheridge, GE Hawkes, PJ Hylands, BA Pendry, MJ Hughes and O Corcoran. Comparison of rosmarinic acid content in commercial tinctures produced from fresh and dried lemon balm (Melissa officinalis).  Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2007, vol 10, no 4, 455-463.

    LD Viet, PJ Houghton, B Forbes, O Corcoran and PJ Hylands.  Wound healing activity of Alocasia odora (Roxb.) Koch. Planta Medica, 2006,  72 (11): 991-991

    JL Griffin and O Corcoran. High resolution magic angle spinning 13C NMR spectroscopy of cerebral tissue. Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine, 2005, 18, 51-56.

    O Corcoran. Chapter 8, NMR spectroscopy as a versatile analytical platform for toxicology research. In Handbook of Toxicogenomics: A Strategic view of current research and applications, p161-181,published February 2005, Ed. J. Borlak, Wiley-VCH, Germany. ISBN-10: 3-527-30342-1.

    O Corcoran. Hit discovery from natural products in pharmaceutical R&D. eMagRes. 2015. 4:1-8. DOI 10.1002/9780470034590.emrstm1432 L Dawkins & O Corcoran. Acute electronic cigarette use: nicotine delivery and subjective effects in regular users. Psychopharmacology. 2014. 231 (2), 401-407.

    LD Viet, PJ Hylands, PJ Houghton, B Forbes and O. Corcoran. Investigating the wound-healing activity of Alocasia odora (Roxb.) Koch. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 2005, 57, S73-74.

    O. Corcoran and M. Spraul. LC-NMR-MS in drug discovery. Drug Discovery Today, 2003, vol. 8, no. 14, 624-631.

    M. Spraul, A. S. Freund, R. E. Nast, R. S. Withers, W. E. Maas and O. Corcoran. Advancing NMR sensitivity for LC-NMR-MS using a cryoflow probe: Application to the analysis of acetaminophen metabolites in urine. Analytical Chemistry, 2003, vol. 75, no. 6, 1536-1541.

    O. Corcoran, P. S. Wilkinson, M. Godejohann, U. Braumann, M. Hofmann and M. Spraul. Advancing sensitivity for flow NMR spectroscopy: LC-SPE-NMR and capillary-scale LC-NMR. American Laboratory, May 2002, 34, 18-21.

    O. Corcoran, J. C. Lindon, R. Hall, I. M. Ismail and J. K. Nicholson. The potential of 19F NMR spectroscopy for rapid screening of cell cultures for models of mammalian drug metabolism. Analyst, 2001, vol. 126, no. 12, 2103-2016.

    O. Corcoran, R. W. Mortensen, S. H. Hansen, J. Troke and J. K. Nicholson.  HPLC/1H NMR spectroscopic studies of the reactive alpha-1-O-acyl isomer formed during acyl migration of S-naproxen beta-1-O-acyl glucuronide. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2001, vol. 14, no. 10, 1363-1370.

    R. W. Mortensen, O. Corcoran, C. Cornett, U. G. Sidelmann, J. C. Lindon, J. K. Nicholson and S. H. Hansen. S-naproxen-alpha-1-O-acyl glucuronide degradation kinetic studies by stopped-flow high-performance liquid chromatography-1H NMR and high-performance liquid chromatography-UV. Drug Metabolism and Disposition, 2001, vol. 29, no. 4, 375-380.

    C. A. Daykin, O. Corcoran, S. H. Hansen, I. Bjornsdottir, C. Cornett, S. C. Connor, J. C. Lindon and J. K. Nicholson. Application of directly coupled HPLC-NMR to separation and characterization of lipoproteins from human serum. Analytical Chemistry, 2001, vol. 73, no. 6, 1084-1090.

    R. W. Mortensen, O. Corcoran, C. Cornett, U. G. Sidelmann, J. Troke, J. C. Lindon, J. K. Nicholson and S. H. Hansen. LC-1H NMR used for the determination of the elution order of S-naproxen glucuronide isomers in two isocratic reversed-phase LC-systems. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 2001, vol. 24, no. 3, 477-485.

    O. Corcoran, J. K. Nicholson, E. M. Lenz, F. Abou-Shakra, J. Castro-Perez, A. B. Sage and I. D. Wilson. Directly coupled liquid chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and orthogonal acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometry for the identification of drug metabolites in urine: application to diclofenac using chlorine and sulfur detection. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 2000, vol. 14, no. 24, 2377-2384.

    OO Adebola, O Corcoran and WA Morgan. Synbiotics: the impact of potential prebiotics inulin, lactose and lactobionic acid on the survival and growth of lactobacilli probiotics. Journal of Functional Foods. 2014. 10:75-84.

    O. Corcoran, I. D. Wilson and J. K. Nicholson. Rapid multi-component detection of fluorinated drug metabolites in whole urine from a 'cassette' dose study using high resolution 19F NMR spectroscopy. Analytical Communications, 1999, vol. 36, no. 7, 259-261.

    O. Corcoran, M. Spraul, M. Hofmann, I. M. Ismail, J. C. Lindon and J. K. Nicholson. 750 MHz HPLC-NMR spectroscopic identification of rat microsomal metabolites of phenoxypyridines. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 1997, vol. 16, no. 3, 481-489.

    Hylands R, Corcoran O, Jones BC and Smith DA. Species differences in the in vivo metabolism of probe substrates for CYP2 enzymes. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 1994, 37(5):489P-490P.

    O Adebola, O Corcoran and WA Morgan. Protective effects of prebiotics inulin and lactulose from cytotoxicity and genotoxicity in human colon adenocarcinoma cells. Food Research International. 2013. 52:269-274.

    SN Osei-Djarbeng, O Corcoran, SJ Cutler and RR Cutler. Antimicrobial and anti-quorum sensing activities of some Ghanaian medicinal plants.  International Journal of Indigenous Medicinal Plants. 2012. 28:221-226.

    F Watkins, B Pendry, A Sanchez-Medina and O Corcoran. Antimicrobial assays of three native British plants used in Anglo-Saxon medicine for wound healing formulations in 10th century England. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2012. 144:408-415.

    F Watkins, B Pendry, O Corcoran and A Sanchez-Medina. Anglo-Saxon pharmacopoeia revisited: a potential treasure in drug discovery, Drug Discovery Today. 2011, 16: 23/24 1069-1075.

    A Adetutu, WA Morgan and O. Corcoran. Ethnopharmacological survey and in vitro evaluation of medicinal plants used for wound-healing in South-western Nigeria. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2011. 137: 50-56.

    J Gao, WA Morgan, A Sanchez-Medina and O Corcoran. The ethanol extract of Scutellaria baicalensis and its active compounds induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis including upregulation of p53 and BAX in human lung cancer cells. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2011, 254: 221-228.

    Publications


    Funding



    • Biomedical chemistry, identification of drug metabolites from biofluids in metabolism and toxicology studies, clinical diagnostics and metabolic profiling.
    • Characterisation of bioactive drugs from ethnobotanical and microbial sources using chromatography and NMR spectroscopy.
    • Development of analytical tools for reducing and refining the use of animals in pharmaceutical research.
    • Applications of multiple-hyphenated NMR spectroscopy including high performance liquid chromatography coupled to NMR and mass spectrometry: LC-NMR-MS, capLC-NMR, LC-MS-SPE-NMR, and LC-cryoflow NMR spectroscopy.

    Interests

    Portfolio




    PhD Supervision
    Dr Oluwakemi Adebola (2009) ‘The relationship between probiotics, prebiotics and bile acids and the impact on gut health.'
    Dr Adewale Adetutu (2009) ‘Evaluation of wound healing activity of selected Nigerian plants.'
    Dr Jiayu Gao (2010) ‘Investigation of the anti-tumour effects of Scutellaria barbata and Scutellaria baicalensis on human lung cancer cell lines.'
    Dr Samuel Osei-Djarbeng (2010) ‘Bioactivity Guided Isolation and Characterisation of Antimicrobial and Wound healing Constituents of some Ghanaian Medical Plants.'
    Dr Frances Watkins (2013) 'Investigation of antimicrobials from native British plants used in 10th Century Anglo-Saxon wound-healing formulations.'
    Dr Oghenetega Umukoro (2015) 'The effect of alcohol on G-protein gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster.'
    2011- present Alexander Lyons 'Development of novel metabolomic techniques to standardise the identification of metabolic biomarkers allied to exercise, health and disease.'
    2013 - 2016 Divya Shah 'Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activity of natural products derived from Indian phytomedicines'
    2014 - 2017 Catherine Kimber 'Electronic Cigarette Use and Quitting Behaviour: Puffing Topography and Self-titration – the Importance of Nicotine Concentration, User Experience and Device Characteristics'
    2014 - 2017 Benjamin Aleyakpo ' The role of G protein in alcohol-related behaviours in Drosophila'
    Programmes

    BSc (Hons) Forensic Science
    BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

    Module Leader responsible for:

    BS5014 Biological Evidence
    BS6023 Forensic Analysis
    BS6024 Forensic Pathology

    Also teach on:

    BS5006 Biology of Disease
    Expertise

    Biomedical chemistry, identification of drug metabolites from biofluids in metabolism and toxicology studies, clinical diagnostics and metabolic profiling.
    Characterisation of bioactive drugs from ethnobotanical and microbial sources using chromatography and NMR spectroscopy.
    Development of analytical tools for reducing and refining the use of animals in pharmaceutical research.
    Applications of multiple-hyphenated NMR spectroscopy including high performance liquid chromatography coupled to NMR and mass spectrometry: LC-NMR-MS, capLC-NMR, LC-MS-SPE-NMR, and LC-cryoflow NMR spectroscopy.

    Teaching