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Dr Salvador Tomas

Lecturer in Chemical Biology

Contact details

tel: +44 (0)20 7079 0791
fax: +44 (0)20 7631 6246

About Dr Salvador Tomas

Birkbeck Explains series: Dr Tomas explains what abiogenesis is (June 2019)

Dr Tomas gave a talk at Science Week 2019: Synthesising Life [video: 68 mins] and blog.

Research interests

  • Dr Tomas’ research focuses on the study of molecular recognition and self-assembly phenomena in aqueous media. Current efforts are directed to understand the emerging properties in complex systems by the systematic stepwise increase of the system complexity. The general approach is based on the use of well designed, synthetic molecular receptors and ligands that allow a rigorous characterization of their self-assembling properties. Dr Tomas’ research can be summarized in the following lines:

    • Study of the molecular recognition properties of metalloporphyrins in aqueous media.
    • Developing sensor materials in aqueous solutions based on self assembled molecular receptors.
    • Developing stimulus-responsive, self-assembled long range assemblies (e.g. hydrogelators).
    • Using synthetic models to probe molecular recognition (receptor clustering, ligand binding, cooperative effects) in or near lipid membranes.
    • HPLC as a high-throughput method to characterise drug-lipid membrane interactions and drug-membrane protein interactions.
    • Study of micro and nanocompartmentalized systems (i.e. lipid vesicles) and the role they played in the origin of life


  • Cooperative induction in double H-bonding donor/acceptor compounds: Chains vs. ribbons. R. Prohens , A. Portell, C. Puigjaner, R. Barbas, X. Alcobé, M. Font-Bardia, S. Tomas. Cryst. Eng. Comm. , 2012,14, 5745.
  • Cooperativity in Solid-State Squaramide. R. Prohens, A.  Portell, C.  Puigjaner, R. Barbas, S. Tomas, X. Alcobe, M. Font-Bardia, K.  Harris, Cryst. Growth Des., 2011, 11, 3725.
  • Versatile low-molecular-weight hydrogelators: achieving multiresponsiveness through a modular design. L. Milanesi, C. A. Hunter, N. Tzokova, J. P. Waltho, S. Tomas, Chem. Eur. J., 2011, 17, 9753.
  • Mutual modulation between membrane-embedded receptor clustering and ligand binding in lipid membranes. S. Tomas, L. Milanesi, Nature Chem., 2010, 2, 1077.
  • Hydrophobically self-assembled nanoparticles as molecular receptors in water. S. Tomas, L. Milanesi, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2009, 131, 6618.
  • Effect of free versus liposomal-complexed pentamidine isethionate on biological characteristics of Acanthamoeba castellanii in vitro. R. Siddiqui, A. Syed, S. Tomas, J. Prieto-Garcia, N. A. Khan, J. Med. Microbiol., 2009, 58, 327.
  • A pulse-radiolysis approach to fast reductive cleavage of a disulfide bond to uncage enzyme activity. L. Milanesi,  S. Tomas, C. A. Hunter, J. A. Weinstein, R. Edge, S. Navaratnam, J. P. Waltho, J. Best, Free Radical Biology & Medicine. 2008, 45, 1271.