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Dr Jehangir Cama

Dr Jehangir Cama


 Living Systems Institute T03.01


Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD


Jehangir completed an undergraduate BSc. (Hons.) degree in Physics at St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi, before joining Trinity College, Cambridge to study Parts II and III of the Natural Sciences Tripos (Physics). He continued at Trinity and at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge for his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Ulrich Keyser, where he focused on understanding antibiotic transport across biomimetic membrane systems. This is of particular relevance for Gram-negative bacteria, whose double membrane cell envelope is a formidable permeability barrier that protects these cells from small molecule antibiotics. Understanding the physical processes governing Gram-negative drug permeation is a crucial challenge facing antibiotic developers, who are working to counteract the alarming spread of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens across the globe. Jehangir continued this research as a PDRA in Prof. Keyser's group, and was also a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge.

Besides studying antibiotic permeation, Jehangir was also part of a multi-centre consortium which included participants from the National Physical Laboratory, the STFC Hartree Centre, IBM Research and the Universities of Cambridge and Exeter, that is developing a new pipeline of polypeptide antibiotics. These peptides circumvent the permeability barrier of Gram-negatives by directly attacking and lysing bacterial membranes. Jehangir has been involved in the development of assays to quantify the efficacy and safety of these new drugs.  

Jehangir's technical expertise is in the development of microfluidic technologies for quantitative biology and biosensing. Recent projects include:

  • Quantifying antibiotic accumulation label-free in Gram-negative bacteria in well-defined microenvironments. Collaboration with Dr. Stefano Pagliara, Prof. Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova, Dr. Margaritis Voliotis and Dr. Jeremy Metz (LSI, Exeter) and Prof. Matthew Cooper and Dr. Mark Blaskovich (University of Queensland).
  • Quantifying antibiotic permeation across specific lipid and protein pathways using biomimetic lipid vesicles. Collaboration with Prof. Ulrich Keyser (Cambridge), Prof. Mathias Winterhalter (Jacobs University, Bremen) and Prof. Christopher Dowson (Warwick).
  • Developing assays to quantify the efficacy and safety of novel polypeptide antibiotics. Collaboration with Dr. Max Ryadnov (NPL, Teddington), Prof. Ulrich Keyser (Cambridge), Dr. Stefano Pagliara (LSI, Exeter), IBM Research, the STFC Hartree Centre, with further involvement from industry partners. 
  • Studying the biophysical aspects of indole signalling and its effects on bacterial metabolism. Collaboration with Dr. David Summers (Dept. of Genetics, Cambridge).

Jehangir was an Industry Research Fellow at the Living Systems Institute in Exeter from Feb. 2019 to Feb. 22; he is now an Associate. In addition to his research, he worked towards the development of research collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners. As part of his industry facing activities, he jointly initiated and led the development of a strategic partnership between the University of Exeter and the UK's Medicines Discovery Catapult, to facilitate the efficient clinical and commercial translation of biomedical research at Exeter. Based on an earlier collaboration, he has also spun-out a med-tech company with colleagues in Cambridge, where he is a co-founder and director.

Research Themes: Membrane transport, antibiotic resistance, microfluidics, label-free optical detection, bacterial signalling, med-tech. 

View my profile on the Mathematics website.



Research networks

Jointly initialised and led the development of a strategic partnership between the University of Exeter and the Medicines Discovery Catapult. The partnership aims to bring industrial rigour and knowledge to bear on the earliest stages of biomedical research, to facilitate the efficient clinical and commercial translation of medicines discovery research taking place in Exeter. The partnership will include novel funding modalities, collaborative research, people transfer, knowledge exchange and much more besides, and establishes a new paradigm for Catapult-University collaboration in the UK. 


Supervision / Group

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