Dr Isolda Romero-Canelón BSc, MSc, PgCert, PhD, MRSC

Dr Isolda Romero-Canelón

School of Pharmacy
Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry

Contact details

School of Pharmacy
Institute of Clinical Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Sir Robert Aitken Institute for Medical Research
Room 323
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

With previous experience in academia, at the University of Los Andes Venezuela, and a very strong record of research, Isolda has recently joined the School of Pharmacy as a Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry. She is involved in the Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) undergraduate degree programme.

Internationally recognised as an up-coming leader in the field of metal-based anticancer agents, Isolda’s research focuses on the development of novel precious-metal complexes that can manipulate the redox state of cancer cells and target mitochondrial pathways as means for antiproliferative activity.


  • PhD, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick, UK
  • Warwick Interdisciplinary Science Postgraduate Certificate in Transferable Skills, University of Warwick, UK
  • MSc, Department of Chemistry, University of Los Andes, Venezuela
  • Basic university teaching training postgraduate certificate. University of Los Andes. Venezuela
  • BSc equivalent, Department of Chemistry, University of Los Andes, Venezuela


  • MPharm: Chemistry for Pharmacists

Other activities

  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)
  • Member of the Biochemical Society
  • Member of the European Association for Cancer Research
  • Regular reviewer for the following journals: Chemical Science, ACS Inorganic Chemistry, Transition Metal Chemistry, RSC Advances, BMC Cancer, Dalton Transactions

Appointments held:           

2017      Lecturer in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Birmingham, UK

2017      Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick, UK

2016      Senior Research Fellow, Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick, UK

2012-15 ERC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Chemistry, UoW, UK

2013      Aggregate* Professor Inorganic Chemistry. University of Los Andes. Venezuela

2007-12 Assistant* Professor Inorganic Chemistry. University of Los Andes. Venezuela. (On study leave Oct 2009- Dec 2012)      

2005-7   Instructor*. Inorganic Chemistry. University of Los Andes. Venezuela

*according to the Venezuelan academic system, university tenure positions are established through five ranks as: Instructor, Assistant Professor, Aggregate Professor, Associate Professor and Full Professor-Chair.

Invited oral contributions to conferences:


  • 13th European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference, EUROBIC, Budapest, Hungary. Organometallic osmium anticancer complexes: insights into their cellular mechanism of action. 
  • The Controlling Cancer Summit, 2016, London. Precious metals for cancer treatment - a novel approach


  • The International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies, Pacifichem 2015, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Overcoming platinum resistance using small-molecule antineoplastic agents
  •  1st International Symposium on Clinical and Experimental Metallodrugs in Medicine, CEMM Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Cellular Redox Balance and the Mechanism of Action of Osmium-organometallic Anticancer Drugs
  • 17th International Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry, ICBIC17, Beijing, China. In-cell catalysis: a new approach to cancer treatment
  • 13th International Symposium on Applied Bioinorganic Chemistry ISABC13, Galway, Ireland. In-cell catalysis: a new approach to cancer treatment


  • 12th European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference, EUROBIC, Zurich, Switzerland. Exploiting combination therapy for metal-based anticancer agents
  • Dalton Research Conference, University of Warwick, UK. Multi-targeted organometallic anticancer complexes with redox mechanisms of action


  • WHAM EU-COST Action CM1105, Barcelona, Spain. Novel ROS-inducing Organometallic Anticancer Agents
  • Medicinal Redox Inorganic Chemistry Conference. Erlangen, Germany. Novel ROS-inducing Organometallic Anticancer Agents.
  • Working Group 4 meeting. EU-COST Action CM1105, Olomouc, Czech Republic. Overcoming cisplatin and oxaliplatin resistance in vitro using small-molecule osmium antineoplastics


  • First WHAM EU-COST Action CM1105. Granada, Spain. Organometallic anticancer complexes at Warwick
  • Postgraduate symposium Department of Chemistry. University of Warwick, UK. Insights into the mechanism of action of ruthenium half-sandwich arene complexes bearing N,N-chelating ligands


Recent publications


Lam, YPY, Wootton, CA, Hands-Portman, I, Wei, J, Chiu, CKC, Romero-Canelon, I, Lermyte, F, Barrow, MP & O’Connor, PB 2020, 'Determination of the aggregate binding site of amyloid protofibrils using electron capture dissociation tandem mass spectrometry', Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 267-276. https://doi.org/10.1021/jasms.9b00053

Ballesta, A, Billy, F, Coverdale, JPC, Song, J-I, Sanchez-Cano, C, Romero-Canelón, I & Sadler, PJ 2019, 'Kinetic analysis of the accumulation of a half-sandwich organo-osmium pro-drug in cancer cells', Metallomics, vol. 11, no. 10, pp. 1648-1656. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9mt00173e

Sanchez-Cano, C, Gianolio, D, Romero-Canelón, I, Tucoulou, R & Sadler, PJ 2019, 'Nanofocused synchrotron x-ray absorption studies of the intracellular redox state of an organometallic complex in cancer cells', Chemical Communications , vol. 55, no. 49, pp. 7065-7068. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9CC01675A

Oliveira, C & Romero-Canelón, I 2019, 'Palladium (II) complexes with thiosemicarbazones derived from pyrene as topoisomerase IB inhibitors', Dalton Transactions, vol. 48, no. 44, pp. 16509-16517. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9DT02570G

Shi, H, Wang, Q, Venkatesh, V, Feng, G, Young, LS, Romero-Canelón, I, Zeng, M & Sadler, PJ 2019, 'Photoactive platinum(IV) complex conjugated to a cancer-cell-targeting cyclic peptide', Dalton Transactions, vol. 48, no. 24, pp. 8560-8564. https://doi.org/10.1039/C9DT00909D

Finnegan, ME, Visanji, N, Romero-canelon, I, House, E, Rajan, S, Mosselmans, JFW, Hazrati, L, Dobson, J & Collingwood, JF 2019, 'Synchrotron XRF imaging of Alzheimer’s disease basal ganglia reveals linear dependence of high-field magnetic resonance microscopy on tissue iron concentration', Journal of Neuroscience Methods, vol. 319, pp. 28-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2019.03.002

Kladnik, J, Kljun, J, Burmeister, H, Ott, I, Turel, I & Romero-Canelón, I 2019, 'Towards identification of essential structural elements of organoruthenium(II)-pyrithionato complexes for anticancer activity', Chemistry: A European Journal, vol. 25, no. 62, pp. 14169-14182. https://doi.org/10.1002/chem.201903109

Coverdale, JPC, Romero-Canelón, I, Sanchez-cano, C, Clarkson, GJ, Habtemariam, A, Wills, M & Sadler, PJ 2018, 'Asymmetric transfer hydrogenation by synthetic catalysts in cancer cells', Nature Chemistry, vol. 10, pp. 347-354. https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2918

Larnaudie, SC, Brendel, JC, Romero-Canelón, I, Sanchez-Cano, C, Catrouillet, S, Sanchis, J, Coverdale, JPC, Song, J-I, Habtemariam, A, Sadler, PJ, Jolliffe, KA & Perrier, S 2018, 'Cyclic Peptide–Polymer Nanotubes as Efficient and Highly Potent Drug Delivery Systems for Organometallic Anticancer Complexes', Biomacromolecules, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 239-247. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.7b01491

Lam, YPY, Wootton, CA, Hands-portman, IJ, Wei, J, Chiu, CKC, Romero-Canelón, I, Lermyte, F, Barrow, MP & O'connor, PB 2018, 'Does deamidation of islet amyloid polypeptide accelerate amyloid fibril formation?', Chemical Communications , vol. 54, no. 98, pp. 13853-13856. https://doi.org/10.1039/C8CC06675B

Chen, F, Soldevila-Barreda, JJ, Romero-Canelón, I, Coverdale, JPC, Song, J-I, Clarkson, GJ, Kasparkova, J, Habtemariam, A, Brabec, V, Wolny, JA, Schünemann, V & Sadler, PJ 2018, 'Effect of sulfonamidoethylenediamine substituents in Ru arene anticancer catalysts on transfer hydrogenation of coenzyme NAD by formate', Dalton Transactions. https://doi.org/10.1039/c8dt00438b

Gatti, A, Habtemariam, A, Romero-Canelón, I, Song, J-I, Heer, B, Clarkson, GJ, Rogolino, D, Sadler, PJ & Carcelli, M 2018, 'Half-Sandwich Arene Ruthenium(II) and Osmium(II) Thiosemicarbazone Complexes: Solution Behavior and Antiproliferative Activity', Organometallics, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 891-899. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.organomet.7b00875

Coverdale, JPC, Bridgewater, HE, Song, J-I, Smith, NA, Barry, NPE, Bagley, I, Sadler, PJ & Romero Canelon, I 2018, 'In vivo selectivity and localization of reactive oxygen species (ROS) induction by osmium anticancer complexes that circumvent platinum-resistance', Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 61, no. 20, pp. 9246–9255. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b00958

Review article

Chopra, V, Sangarappillai, R, Romero-Canelón, I & Jones, AM 2020, 'Lysyl oxidase like-2 (LOXL2): an emerging oncology target', Advanced Therapeutics, vol. 3, no. 2, 1900119. https://doi.org/10.1002/adtp.201900119

Romero-Canelón, I 2019, 'Designing ruthenium anticancer drugs: what have we learnt from the key drug candidates?', Inorganics, vol. 7, no. 3, 31. https://doi.org/10.3390/inorganics7030031

View all publications in research portal