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University of Exeter Medical School

 Alexander Cowley

Alexander Cowley

PhD student


 01392 722858

 Medical School Building 


Medical School Building, St Luke's Campus, Magdalen Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


I completed an enjoyable and challenging three-year undergraduate degree at Durham before taking on a position as a scientific healthcare and research associate at a medical communications firm in Cheshire. After eight months I decided my heart lies in research, so I successfully applied to Newcastle University and spent the 2015-16 academic year on a research Masters course. I majored in cancer studies and sat separate modules in drug discovery, the cell cycle and statistics. My MRes project at Newcastle looked at the effects of graphene nanoparticles on cellular metabolism. This laboratory experience perfectly complements my current doctoral project, researching the optimal conditions for successfully targeted photodynamic therapy (PDT) in non-melanoma skin cancers.


  • BSc (Hons.) Biomedical Sciences (2014) – Durham University
  • MRes Cancer Studies (2016) – Newcastle University

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Research interests

I work in the Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at the Medical School in St Luke’s campus. My primary supervisor is Professor Paul Winyard; my co-supervisors are Dr Gary Smerdon (based at the Diving Disease Research Centre in Plymouth), Dr Alison Curnow (at Penryn campus, Cornwall) and Dr Daniel Ferguson (University of Bristol).

Broadly speaking, my academic and research interests lie in the fields of oncology, pharmacology and cell cycle / cell signalling processes. A perfect project for me would overlap all these areas of biomedical science, which is why I am so fortunate to be working on PDT.

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