Liverpool Skylilne

Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences

Dr Andrew Powell

Dr Andrew Powell

Telephone: 0151 231 2487

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Andrew's multidisciplinary research group at LJMU investigates:

1. Developing protein interaction and activity assays.
2. The action of heparan sulfate (animal natural product carbohydrates) and proteins in skin biology (MRSA bacteria, cytokines, growth factors).
3. Developing heparan sulfate-protein interaction specificity screening assays.
4. Purification and analysis of animal or plant heparan sulfate-like, natural product complex polysaccharides.
5. Synthesising and characterising chemical heparin sensors for quantifying heparin amount and activity.
6. Developing and using heparan sulfate saccharide analysis methodology.

Andrew is interested in enquiries from PhD or MPhil student candidates who have funding and are interested in the areas above. Please email him to enquire. A summary of his research history, outside engagement and teaching is below and under other tabs on this website.

Andrew obtained an MBiochem honours degree in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford in 1996. As part of this he conducted a 4 month research project in the world-leading Glycobiology Institute, with Professor Raymond Dwek and Dr David Harvey, on developing and exploiting novel methods in mass spectrometric structural analyis of sialylated negatively-charged N-glycans. The work resulted in Andrew publishing 2 papers, which have now collected over 320 citations.

After graduation, Andrew spent a further year at the Institute with Professor Kurt Drickamer, learning molecular biology and protein expression/biochemistry, whilst working on the oligomeric macro-structure of the asiologlycoprotein receptor.

In 1997 he left Oxford to begin an MRC funded PhD at the University of Birmingham on the Fibroblast Growth Factor/Heparan sulfate signalling system with Professor John Health and Dr Jeremy Turnbull. Here he utilised his glycoanalysis and protein biochemistry skills to investigate the interaction of negatively-charged glycosaminoglycan heparan sulfates (HS) with FGF receptors, innovating an ELISA method for screening heparan sulfate-protein interactions and using optical biosensor methodology (Biacore surface plasmon resonance and IAsys resonant mirror), firstly in-house and then at the University of Liverpool with Professor Dave Fernig, to characterise interaction kinetics and ligand-receptor-heparan sulfate ternary complex formation. The work again resulted in publications, now with over 865 citations collectively.

Whilst conducting this research, Andrew realised novel high-throughput methods were needed for screening protein-saccharide interactions and with Dr Turnbull gained a BBSRC grant to begin developing heparan sulfate glycoarrays.

At the same time, Andrew teamed up with Dr Ed Yates to patent a method for creating highly diverse heparin libraries for drug discovery. Heparins are members of the heparan sulfate family and are natural product pharmaceuticals used to prevent blood clotting ($8 billion market). They are also known bind/regulate 100-1000s of extracellular proteins linked to inflammation, infection, cancer, neurodegeneration and regenerative biology, hence are a rich resource for drug discovery. To exploit the technology, Andrew with Drs Jerry Turnbull and Ed Yates innovated IntelliHep Ltd and reached the final of the 2001 BBSRC business plan competition.

In 2004 the team transferred to the University of Liverpool, where Andrew received the award for 2005 BioNow Bioentrepreneur of the Year, for his work on IntelliHep Ltd. Andrew also innovated and managed two bioprocessing pilot projects with Eden Biodesign at the National Biomanufacturing Centre (that latter became Allergan Biologics), for which he was awarded runner-up for the BioNow Emerging Technology of the year award in 2008. He also gained a second BBSRC grant for exploiting the first generation glycoarrays technology, and later became part of the UK glycoarrays consortium, that consisted of research groups from Imperial, Oxford Manchester, Dundee, East Anglia and Liverpool Universities developing a gold-surface assembled monolayer array platform, which was compatible with all carbohydrates and fluorescence, SPR and mass spectrometry read-outs.

In 2008, Andrew secured a lectureship at Liverpool John Moores University and later became part of the UK glycoarrays consortium steering committee, gaining EPSRC funding with the consortium to supervise a PDRA on robots at the University of Liverpool. Andrew continued his collaboration with Liverpool University, publishing further glycoarray, ELISA and Slit-Robo/HS signalling system papers that now have 500+ citations collectively,

Since 2008, Andrew has also developed independent research and gained funding on current projects listed above. He continues association with IntelliHep Ltd, who are chasing funding to exploit their general know-how in heparin drug discovery and specific patents in Alzheimer Disease, cancer metastasis and spinal repair.

Andrew teaches protein and carbohydrate structure, purification, analysis and interactions at undergraduate and masters level with a focus on technical approaches, real-world context and employability. His teaching approach is heavily focussed on constructive alignment of learning outcomes, teaching activities and assessment. As a result, he uses active learning to promote deeper learning to supplement live-annotation of powerpoints to deliver lecture material. He has received numerous nominations/shortlistings for university teaching, personal tutor, project supervisor and employability awards from students.


1) Develop and use methods/assays to:

a) Characterise biomolecular interactions and structure-function relationships.
b) Purify and Analyse biomolecules.
c) Detect and Quantify biomolecules.

2) Advance

a) Macromolecule drug development and monitoring.
b) Diagnostic/prognostic test development.

To date, Andrew has mostly focussed on proteins and carbohydrates. E.g.:

a) Cell signalling proteins and their receptors.
b) Sulfated carbohydrates from the heparin/heparan sulphate family.

Andrew is coFounder and director of IntelliHep Ltd, a heparin therapuetics spin-out company.

He has supervised ~ 3 postdoctoral researchers,10 masters/PhD students, 5 summer students/interns, 65 honours project students.

Andrew currently uses mainly chromatography, bioconjugation chemistry, plate readers, thermostability/differential scanning fluorimetry, flow cytometry and cellular assays. He collaborates with cell biologists, biophysicists, synthetic chemists and engineers.

Equipment available at LJMU includes multiple BMG and Tecan plate readers (absorbance, fluorescence intensity, fluorescence polarisation, time-resolved fluorescence), BD flow cytometry, Qiagen Q-PCR, numerous HPLCs, Bruker NMR and cell culture.

His research has been funded by the EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC, Rosetrees Trust, Biochemical Society and LJMU.

- Method Development (immunoassays, plate reader assays, optical biosensors, microarrays, bioassays, chromatography).
- Analytical Biochemistry (molecular interactions, structure-function relationships, macromolecule purification & analysis).
- Cell Biology (cell signaling, microbial adhesion, homeostasis & immunity of epithelia, blood coagulation).
- Proteins (e.g. growth factors, cytokines, chemokines, proteases)
- Carbohydrates (e.g. heparin/heparan sulfate/glycosaminoglycans)
- Pharmaceuticals (detection, development, characterisation).

- Twenty three years research experience covering carbohydrate/protein biochemistry, molecular interactions, assay development, macromolecule purification/analysis, cell signalling and microbial adhesion.
- First-hand experience of commercial science, including intellectual property exploitation and contract research as cofounder/director of university spin-out drug discovery company: IntelliHep Ltd.
- Member of UK Glycoarrays Consortium and IBCarb & CBMNet Networks in Industrial Biotechnology, Biochemical Society Local Ambassador, Fellow Higher Education Academy.
- Supervised ~ 65 honours project students, 5 summer students/interns, ~10 masters/PhD students, 3 postdoctoral associates.


2012, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, Postgraduate Certificate for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (High distinction)
2001, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, PhD (Biochemistry)
1996, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, MBiochem with honours (Biochemistry)

Academic appointments

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, Pharmacy & Biomolecular Science, Liverpool John Moores University, 2008 - present
Honarary Fellow, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, 2008 - present

Postgraduate training

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, United Kingdom, University of Liverpool, 2004 - 2008
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, United Kingdom, University of Birmingham, 2001 - 2003
Postgraduate Research Assistant, United Kingdom, University of Birmingham, 2001 - 2001
Postgraduate Research Assistant, United Kingdom, University of Oxford, 1996 - 1997


Journal article

Adeoye RI, Osalaye DS, Ralebitso-Senior TK, Boddis A, Reid AJ, Fatokun AA, Powell AK, Malomo SO, Olorunniji FJ. 2019. Catalytic Activities of Multimeric G-Quadruplex DNAzymes Catalysts, 9 :613-613 DOI Author Url Public Url

Lima M, Cavalheiro RP, Viana G, Meneghetti M, Rudd TR, Skidmore MA, Powell AK, Yates EA. 2016. 19F labelled glycosaminoglycan probes for solution NMR and non-linear (CARS) microscopy. Glycoconjugate Journal, 34 :405-410 DOI Author Url Public Url

Ahmed YA, Yates EA, Moss DJ, Loeven MA, Hussain S-A, Hohenester E, Turnbull JE, Powell AK. 2016. Panels of chemically-modified heparin polysaccharides and natural heparan sulfate saccharides both exhibit differences in binding to Slit and Robo, as well as variation between protein binding and cellular activity. Molecular Biosystems, DOI Author Url Public Url

Meneghetti MC, Hughes AJ, Rudd TR, Nader HB, Powell AK, Yates EA, Lima MA. 2015. Heparan sulfate and heparin interactions with proteins. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12 DOI Author Url Public Url

Solari V, Rudd TR, Guimond SE, Powell AK, Turnbull JE, Yates EA. 2015. Heparan sulfate phage display antibodies recognise epitopes defined by a combination of sugar sequence and cation binding. Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 13 :6066-6072 DOI Public Url

Puvirajesinghe TM, Ahmed YA, Powell AK, Fernig DG, Guimond SE, Turnbull JE. 2012. Array-based Functional Screening of Heparin Glycans. Chemistry & Biology, 19 :553-558 DOI Author Url

Otto DME, Campanero-Rhodes MA, Karamanska R, Powell AK, Bovin N, Turnbull JE, Field RA, Blackburn J, Feizi T, Crocker PR. 2011. An expression system for screening of proteins for glycan and protein interactions. Anal Biochem, 411 :261-270 DOI Author Url

Tissot B, Ceroni A, Powell AK, Morris HR, Yates EA, Turnbull JE, Gallagher JT, Dell A, Haslam SM. 2008. Software tool for the structural determination of glycosaminoglycans by mass spectrometry. Anal Chem, 80 :9204-9212 DOI Author Url

Zhi Z-L, Laurent N, Powell AK, Karamanska R, Fais M, Voglmeir J, Wright A, Blackburn JM, Crocker PR, Russell DA, Flitsch S, Field RA, Turnbull JE. 2008. A versatile gold surface approach for fabrication and interrogation of glycoarrays. Chembiochem, 9 :1568-1575 DOI Author Url

Hussain S-A, Piper M, Fukuhara N, Strochlic L, Cho G, Howitt JA, Ahmed Y, Powell AK, Turnbull JE, Holt CE, Hohenester E. 2006. A molecular mechanism for the heparan sulfate dependence of slit-robo signaling. J Biol Chem, 281 :39693-39698 DOI Author Url

Zhi Z-L, Powell AK, Turnbull JE. 2006. Fabrication of carbohydrate microarrays on gold surfaces: direct attachment of nonderivatized oligosaccharides to hydrazide-modified self-assembled monolayers. Anal Chem, 78 :4786-4793 DOI Author Url

Westblade LF, Ilag LL, Powell AK, Kolb A, Robinson CV, Busby SJW. 2004. Studies of the Escherichia coli Rsd-sigma70 complex. J Mol Biol, 335 :685-692 DOI Author Url

Powell AK, Fernig DG, Turnbull JE. 2002. Fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 and 2 interact differently with heparin/heparan sulfate. Implications for dynamic assembly of a ternary signaling complex. J Biol Chem, 277 :28554-28563 DOI Author Url

Powell AK, Ahmed YA, Yates EA, Turnbull JE. Generating heparan sulfate saccharide libraries for glycomics applications. Nat Protoc, 5 :821-833 DOI Author Url

Rudd TR, Skidmore MA, Guerrini M, Hricovini M, Powell AK, Siligardi G, Yates EA. The conformation and structure of GAGs: Recent progress and perspectives. Curr Opin Str Biol, 20 :567-574 DOI Author Url

Powell AK, Zhi Z-L, Turnbull JE. Saccharide microarrays for high-throughput interrogation of glycan-protein binding interactions. Methods Mol Biol, 534 :313-329 DOI Author Url

Tissot B, Gasiunas N, Powell AK, Ahmed Y, Zhi Z-L, Haslam SM, Morris HR, Turnbull JE, Gallagher JT, Dell A. Towards GAG glycomics: analysis of highly sulfated heparins by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Glycobiology, 17 :972-982 DOI Author Url

Powell AK, Yates EA, Fernig DG, Turnbull JE. Interactions of heparin/heparan sulfate with proteins: appraisal of structural factors and experimental approaches. Glycobiology, 14 :17R-30R DOI Author Url

Yates EA, Jones MO, Clarke CE, Powell AK, Johnson SR, Porch A, Edwards PP, Turnbull JE. Microwave-enhanced reaction of carbohydrates with amino-derivatised labels and glass surfaces. J. Mater. Chem., 13 :2061-2063 DOI

Turnbull J, Powell A, Guimond S. Heparan sulfate: decoding a dynamic multifunctional cell regulator. Trends Cell Biol, 11 :75-82 DOI Author Url

Guile GR, Harvey DJ, O’Donnell N, Powell AK, Hunter AP, Zamze S, Fernandes DL, Dwek RA, Wing DR. Identification of highly fucosylated N-linked oligosaccharides from the human parotid gland. Eur. J. Biochem., 258 :623-656 DOI Author Url

Powell AK, Harvey DJ. Stabilisation of sialic acids in N-linked oligosaccharides and gangliosides for analysis by positive ion matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry. Rapid. Commun. Mass Spectrom., 10 :1027-1032 DOI Author Url

Richardson A, Powell A, Sexton D, Parsons J, Reynolds N, Ross K. MicroRNA-184 Is Induced By Store-Operated Calcium Entry And Regulates Early Keratinocyte Differentiation Journal of Cellular Physiology, accepted


Richardson A, Sexton D, Powell AK, Ross K. 2017. A store-operated calcium entry-dependent regulatory loop between nuclear factor of activated T-cells 1 and miR-184 in keratinocytes Non-Coding RNA: Recent Insights into the Mechanism of Action, Biochemical Society Conference, Edinburgh, UK

Richardson A, Sexton D, Powell AK, Ross K. 2016. Argonaute Expression in Psoriasis and Epidermal Keratinocytes. Inflammatory diseases - mechanisms and clinical perspectives, Maynooth University, Ireland. A Biochemical Society Focused Meeting.

Ahmed YA, Yates EA, Hohenester E, Powell AK, Turnbull JE. 2014. Selective effects of chemically modified heparins and heparan sulfate oligosaccharides on Slit & Robo complex formation and biological activity. Proteoglycans, Gordon Research Conference, Proctor Academy, Andover, NH, USA

Ahmed YA, Loeven MA, Hussain S, Yates EA, Moss DJ, Hohenester E, Turnbull JE, Powell AK. 2014. Selective effects of chemically modified heparins on Slit & Robo complex formation and biological activity 27th International Carbohydrate Symposium (ICS27), Bangalore, India.

Ahmed YA, Atrih AM, Guimond SE, Powell AK, Turnbull JE. 2012. Sequence-specific HS modulation of FGF signalling revealed by an ES-MS sequencing strategy Gordon Research Conference on Fibroblast Growth Factors in Development & Disease, Les Diablerets, Switzerland

Powell A, Zhi Z-L , Ahmed Y, Karamanska R, Fais M, Otto DME, Crocker RP, Yates EA, Field RA, Turnbull JE. 2010. Heparan sulfate saccharide arrays – platform development, library screening and data interpretation. Structural glycobiology and human health, Biochemical Society conference

Ahmed YA, Powell AK, Yates EA, Moss D, Hohenester E, Turnbull JE. 2010. Involvement of Heparan Sulfate in Slit-Robo interactions: Evidence that Specific Sulfate Groups are Essential Structural Glycobiology and human health, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

Powell A, Zhi Z-L, Ahmed Y, Karamanska R, Fais M, Otto DME, Rudd TR, Blackburn JM, Russell DA, Crocker PR. 2009. Development and evaluation of heparan sulfate glycoarrays for protein interaction screening 67th Harden conference (Biochemical Society) - Decoding the biology of heparan sulfate proteoglycans, Robinson College, Cambridge,

Ahmed YA, Powell AK, Yates EA, Moss D, Hohenester E, Turnbull JE. 2009. Involvement of Heparan Sulfate in Slit-Robo interactions: Evidence that Specific Sulfate Groups are Essential The 67th Harden conference: Decoding the biology of heparan sulfate proteoglycans, Robinson College, Cambridge, UK

Powell AK, Ahmed Y, Zhi Z-L, Rudd TR, Nichols R, Fernig DG, Yates EA, Turnbull JE. 2007. Saccharide microarrays for the investigation of heparan-sulfate protein interactions 14th European carbohydrate symposium

Ahmed YA, Powell AK, Guimond S, Atrih A, Turnbull JE. 2007. Investigating the specificity of heparin/ heparan sulfate activity and protein interactions using saccharide libraries FEBS Advanced Lecture Course, Matrix Pathobiology, Signaling and Molecular Targets. Patras, Greece

Coyne V, Ross K, Shriver Z, Wills B, Powell AK. Applying an HPLC structural glycomics strategy to investigate triggers of changes in HS structure Carbohydrate analysis and glycomics: where next? Biochemical Society/Royal Society of Chemistry workshop

Conference publication

Joshi KH, Al-Manasra M, Mason A, Korostynska O, Powell A, Ortoneda Pedrola M, Al-Shamma'a A. 2017. Detection of Heparin Level in Blood using Electromagnetic Wave Spectroscopy Developments in eSystems Engineering (DeSE), 2016 9th International Conference on :329-334 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Richardson A, Sexton D, Powell AK, Ross K. 2017. Defining the Role of Argonautes in Human Epidermal Keratinocytes British Society for Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting 176 :e71-e71


Lavin A, Powell AK. 2014. 2013 Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship Report Heparan sulfate disaccharide analysis using fluorescence labelling and high performance liquid chromatography.

Coyne V, Ross KO, Powell AK. 2011 Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship Report Examining the effects of cytokines on heparan sulfate expression in a HaCaT cell line :193-196

Engagement & Impact

Research Grants Awarded:

LJMU Joint Faculty of Science/Faculty of Health PhD Studentships, Identification of blood biomarkers for antenatal diagnosis of a common congenital heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot., Iain Dykes, Robyn Lotto, Grant value (£): ~$62,000, Duration of research project: 3 years. 2019

LJMU, Development of split G-Quadruplex DNAzymes for construction of gated biosensors, Femi Olorunniji, Amos Fatokun, Theresia Rabelitso-Senior, Amanda Boddis, Amanda Reid, Grant value (£): 15000, Duration of research project: 1 year. 2018

Medical Research Council Industry Engagement Fund 2017-18, Towards novel heparin-based antibiotics for bacterial infection, Grant value (£): 5,000, Duration of research project: 6 months. 2017

Rosetrees Trust, Novel carbohydrate antibiotics for the era of antibiotic resistance, Grant value (£): 19,000, Duration of research project: 2 year. 2017

IBCarb BBSRC Network in Industrial Biotechnology, Enabling heparin-based industrial biotechnology to counteract antibiotic resistance., Grant value (£): 19,728, Duration of research project: 1 year. 2017

HEFCE, Enabling discovery of novel heparin-based therapeutics, Grant value (£): 9951, Duration of research project: 3 months. 2017

HEFCE-QR, Hepsense: Next generation sensors of heparin-type carbohydrates - open heart surgery & beyond., Grant value (£): 63,000, Duration of research project: 3 years. 2016

BBSRC/EPSRC, Advanced glycosaminoglycan sequencing (Collaborator), Dr Mark Skidmore, Grant value (£): £330,445. 2014

Biochemical Society, Quantification of heparin/heparan sulfate carbohydrates, Grant value (£): 1880. 2014

Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship, Developing higher sensitivity High Performance Liquid Chromatography disaccharide composition analysis of heparan sulfate carbohydrates, Grant value (£): 1400. 2013

Biochemical Society Summer Vacation Studentship, Regulation of keratinocyte heparan sulfate expression., Grant value (£): 1,600. 2011

EPSRC, ‘Exploitation of Glycoarrays-Translation to End-use, Haslam SM, Dell A, Feizi T, Crocker PR, Powell AK, JE Turnbull, Russell DA, RA Field, S Flitsch:, Grant value (£): 1,030,438. 2011

HEFCE-QR, Characterisation of the regulation of epithelial FGF systems by heparan sulphate using the HaCaT keratinocyte cell line in different states as a model., Grant value (£): ~57,000. 2009

North West Development Agency, National Biomanufacturing Centre Access Fund Parts 1 & 2., Powell AK (IntelliHep Ltd), Grant value (£): 136,000. 2007

BBSRC, Exploitation of heparan sulfate saccharide microarrays, Powell AK, Fernig DG, Yates EA and Turnbull JE, Grant value (£): 274,000. 2004

BBSRC, Development of heparan sulfate saccharide microarrays, Powell AK and Turnbull, JE, Grant value (£): 99,000. 2000

Other invited event:

Glycobiotechnology, Manchester, UK, Investigating skin-antibiotic activities. 2018

IBCarb Glycan Microarrays 2.0, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, Manchester, Oral presentation - Heparan sulfate interaction studies. 2014

Gordon Research Seminar: Fibroblast Growth Factors in Development & Disease, Les Diablerets Conference Center, Switzerland, Discussion Leader (FGF interactions and signalling). Panel member (Becoming an independent researcher).. 2012

University of Keele Seminar, School of Life Sciences, The Institute for Science & Technology in Medicine, Keele University, Oral presentation - Understanding heparan sulfate carbohydrates: Viral infection and glycoarrays.. 2012

Biochemical Society/Royal Society of Chemistry workshop: Carbohydrate analysis and glycomics: where next?, London, Oral presentation - Applying an HPLC structural glycomics strategy to investigate triggers of changes in heparan sulfate.. 2012

67th Harden conference (Biochemical Society) - Decoding the biology of heparan sulfate proteoglycans, Robinson College, Cambridge, UK, Oral presentation - Development and evaluation of heparan sulfate glycoarrays for protein interaction screening. 2009

Royal Society Glycomics conference, London, Oral presentation - Slide-based fluorescence glycoarrays. 2008

14th European carbohydrate symposium, Lubeck, Germany, Oral presentation - Saccharide microarrays for the investigation of heparan-sulfate protein interactions. 2007

Royal Society Glycomics conference, Liverpool, Oral presentation - The challenge of heparan sulfate microarrays. 2006

Teaching qualification:

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. 2014


Fellow, Higher Education Academy. 2012

Honarary Fellow, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool. 2008

External PGR Supervision - completed students:

University of Liverpool, PhD. 2011

Membership of professional bodies:

Local Ambassador, Biochemical Society. 2010


Emerging Technology Project of the Year (runner up), BioNoW. 2008

BioNow North West Young Biotechnologist of the Year., BioNow. 2005

Industrial connections:

IntelliHep Ltd, Liverpool, UK, Founder & Director. 2002

Media Coverage:, BBSRC impact evidence reports: Carbohydrate based drugs - IntelliHep Ltd..