Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Research Associate



+44 (0)20 7594 3058r.kelwick Website




Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr Richard Kelwick is a recent Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow and an entrepreneurially driven researcher, at Imperial College London, with expertise in both cancer biology and synthetic biology.

Dr Kelwick has a Ph.D. in cancer biology (Prof. Dylan Edwards group, UEA), during which he researched the protective roles of metalloproteinases in cancer. His research led to mechanistic insights into the protective roles of a disintegrin-like and metalloprotease with thrombospondin type motif 15 (ADAMTS15) in breast cancer. Upon moving to Imperial in 2013, Dr Kelwick joined Prof. Paul Freemont’s group (Section of Structural and Synthetic Biology) where he developed expertise in cell-free synthetic biology. In particular, he generated several microbial and mammalian cell-free transcription-translation systems for cell-free biologics and biomaterials production. Moving forward, Dr Kelwick aims to apply his expertise in both cancer biology and synthetic biology towards the development of novel extracellular vesicle (EV) biosensors and isolation methods.

>Successful grant applications (>£400k) Lead or co-applicant: SynbiCITE PoC (2015), Imperial Confidence in Concept Award (2018), BBSRC Pathfinder (2019), Impact Accelerator Account (2019), CRUK Imperial Centre Development Fund (2020) and BBSRC Follow-on-Fund (2020).

>Member of Imperial Postdocs and Fellows Enterprise Network (IPFEN) Committee 

>Successful entries in several business competitions (e.g. Techcelerate 2018, OneStart 2016 and Lean Launchpad 2015 with Steve Blank and Jerome Engel). Also, founding president of the UEA Enterprise and Engagement Club [2010 - 2012].

>Author of 12 peer reviewed publications that span my research interests in synthetic biology, cancer biology and EV biology.

>External speaker at University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, several Kenyan research institutions, and at national and international scientific conferences (e.g. UKEV 2019, IET 2016, ECCSB 2017 [Switzerland]).

>A passion for science communication and public engagement. Interviewed on Persian TV (Manoto 1). Organised or supported events in the Science Museum, V&A museum, Tate Modern, Google London Campus, the Imperial Festival [2016; 2017] and at Harris City Academy Crystal Palace. Advisor of several iGEM teams.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Kelwick R, Webb A, Freemont P, 2020, Biological materials: the next frontier for cell-free synthetic biology, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Vol:8, ISSN:2296-4185

Kelwick RJR, Ricci L, Chee SM, et al., 2019, Cell-free prototyping strategies for enhancing the sustainable production of polyhydroxyalkanoates bioplastics, Synthetic Biology, Vol:3, ISSN:2397-7000

Webb AJ, Kelwick R, Freemont PS, 2017, Opportunities for applying whole-cell bioreporters towards parasite detection, Microbial Biotechnology, Vol:10, ISSN:1751-7915, Pages:244-249

Kelwick RJR, Webb AJ, MacDonald JT, et al., 2016, Development of a Bacillus subtilis cell-free transcription-translation system for prototyping regulatory elements, Metabolic Engineering, Vol:38, ISSN:1096-7184, Pages:370-381

Webb AJ, Kelwick R, Doenhoff MJ, et al., 2016, A protease-based biosensor for the detection of schistosome cercariae, Scientific Reports, Vol:6, ISSN:2045-2322

Kelwick R, Bowater L, Yeoman KH, et al., 2015, Promoting microbiology education through the iGEM synthetic biology competition, FEMS Microbiology Letters, Vol:362, ISSN:0378-1097

Kelwick R, Desanlis I, Wheeler GN, et al., 2015, The ADAMTS (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin motifs) family., Genome Biology, Vol:16, ISSN:1474-760X, Pages:113-113

Kelwick R, Kopniczky M, Bower I, et al., 2015, A Forward-Design Approach to Increase the Production of Poly-3-Hydroxybutyrate in Genetically Engineered Escherichia coli, PLOS One, Vol:10, ISSN:1932-6203

Kelwick R, Wagstaff L, Decock J, et al., 2015, Metalloproteinase-Dependent and -Independent processes contribute to inhibition of breast cancer cell migration, angiogenesis and liver metastasis by a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs-15, International Journal of Cancer, Vol:136, ISSN:0020-7136, Pages:E14-E26

Kelwick R, MacDonald JT, Webb AJ, et al., 2014, Developments in the Tools and Methodologies of Synthetic Biology, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, Vol:2

Wagstaff L, Kelwick R, Decock J, et al., 2011, The roles of ADAMTS metalloproteinases in tumorigenesis and metastasis, Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark, Vol:16, ISSN:1093-9946, Pages:1861-1872

Wagstaff L, Kelwick R, Decock J, et al., 2010, ADAMTS15 metalloproteinase inhibits breast cancer cell migration, Breast Cancer Research, Vol:12


Webb AJ, Kelwick R, Wang Y, et al., 2019, AL-PHA beads: bioplastic-bsaed protease biosensors for global health, British Society for Parasitology Autumn Symposium, Belfast, UK

Kelwick R, Webb AJ, Wang Y, et al., 2019, ISEV2019 Abstract Book. PT09.10: Protease biomarker detection using functionalised bioplastic-based biosensors, ISEV 2019, Co-Action Publishing, ISSN:2001-3078

Webb AJ, Landeryou T, Kelwick R, et al., 2019, SPECIFIC NUCLEIC ACIDS LIGATION FOR DETECTION OF SCHISTOSOMES: SNAILS, 68th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-for-Tropical-Medicine-and-Hygiene (ASTMH), AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, Pages:182-182, ISSN:0002-9637

Webb AJ, Allan F, Kelwick R, et al., 2018, Protease-based bioreporters for the detection of schistosome cercariae, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) 67th Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Kelwick R, Webb AJ, Macdonald JT, et al., 2016, Development of a bacillus subtilis cell-free transcriptiontranslation system

Thesis Dissertations

Kelwick R, The role of A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin Motifs-15 (ADAMTS-15) in Breast Cancer

More Publications