Mr Vishal Satikuvar

Research project: Mining the Hippo signalling pathway for novel anti-cancer therapeutics


1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetime and with over 200 types it is a complex and devastating disease. In the UK, there are estimated to be 375,000 annual cases with 167,000 deaths and approximately 10 million deaths worldwide. Current treatments for cancer involve chemotherapy or radiotherapy amongst others however, these have harsh side effects and are expensive. Furthermore, with a rise in drug resistance and reduced efficacy of drugs, research into novel therapeutics is needed.

The Hippo signalling pathway was first discovered in Drosophila melanogaster and was found to be conserved in mammals. This pathway is comprised of different kinases such as MST and LATS which are responsible for the phosphorylation of YAP/TAZ proteins. Recently, this pathway has become a promising target for cancer therapeutics due to its role in regulating cell growth. Dysregulation of this pathway causes overexpression of the YAP/TAZ protein leading to uncontrolled cell growth and in-turn can lead to lung, breast, and colorectal cancers to name a few.

Nucleoside drugs were first introduced as an effective treatment for cancers and the project aims to design and synthesise novel anti-cancer therapeutic agents using this class of drugs to target the hippo signalling pathway specifically the YAP/TAZ protein-protein interactions.  Thorough stability and metabolism assays as well as anticancer and toxicity assays will be used to establish the activity and safety profile of the novel compounds.


I completed my BSc in Pharmaceutical Science at Kingston University as well as a Masters by research.  My Masters project was titled 'Synthesis and evaluation for antimicrobial activity of curcumin derivatives and related compounds'. I have a keen interest in medicinal chemistry and cancer research.

I also have carried out a SADRAS project which was looking at learning styles and how they were effected due to the pandemic. I have also worked as a vaccinator for St John's Ambulance delivering life saving covid vaccines. This work has inspired me to go down the route of research and be a part of life changing medicine.  

Areas of research interest

  • Organic Synthesis
  • Natural Products
  • Medicinal Chemistry


  • BSc in Pharmaceutical Science, Kingston University, UK
  • Master's by Research in Medicinal Chemistry, Kingston University, UK

Funding or awards received

  • Graduate Research School Studentship