Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Research Associate



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




Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus




Cancer and extracellular vesicles


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are released or shed by many different cell types and are capable of influencing cellular behaviour and human physiology. EVs are composed of complex molecular signatures of lipids, small molecules, nucleic acids and proteins that can sometimes synergistically elicit physiologically relevant changes in either local or distant cells, tissues and organs. Since exosomes and other classes of EVs (e.g. microvesicles) are emerging as powerful disease biomarkers and as therapeutics they have an enormous potential to transform biomedicine. 

Selected Publications:

*Kelwick, R. J. R., Webb, A. J., Wang, Y., Heliot, A., Allan, F., Emery, A. M., et al. (2021). AL-PHA beads: Bioplastic-based protease biosensors for global health applications. Mater. Today. doi:10.1016/j.mattod.2021.02.018.

*Kelwick, R., Webb, A.J., Wang, Y., Heliot, A., and Freemont, P. (2020) ISEV2020 Abstract Book, Poster PS13.12: AL-PHA beads: a library of extracellular vesicle-associated metalloproteinase biosensors. J. Extracell. Vesicles, 9:sup1, DOI: 10.1080/20013078.2020.1784511

*Kelwick, R., Heliot, A., and Freemont, P. (2020) ISEV2020 Abstract Book, Poster LBS02.07: Heterogeneity and batch variation of HEK293 extracellular vesicles. J. Extracell. Vesicles, 9:sup1, DOI: 10.1080/20013078.2020.1784511

*Kelwick, R., Webb, A.J., Wang, Y., Allan, F., and Freemont, P. (2019). ISEV2019 Abstract Book Poster PT09: Protease biomarker detection using functionalised bioplastic-based biosensors. J. Extracell. Vesicles 8, 1593587. doi: 10.1080/20013078.2019.1593587

*Kelwick, R., Desanlis, I., Wheeler, G. N., & Edwards, D. R., (2015). The ADAMTS (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin motifs) family. Genome Biol. 16, 113.

*Kelwick, R., 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. Int. J. cancer 136, E14-26.

Wagstaff, L., Kelwick, R., Decock, J., & Edwards, D. R., (2011). The roles of ADAMTS metalloproteinases in tumorigenesis and metastasis. Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed. 16, 1861–72.

cell-free systems and synthetic biology

show research


Cell-free systems that are based on cellular extracts were originally developed as experimental systems to understand fundamental aspects of molecular biology, cellular biochemistry and for in vitro protein production. Synthetic biology approaches are enabling the re-purposing of cell-free systems as coupled in vitro transcription–translation characterisation platforms for the prototyping of DNA based parts, devices and systems. Cell-free transcription-translation systems have been employed to rapidly prototype DNA regulatory elements, logic systems, medical biosensor devices and biomaterials.

Selected Publications:

Kelwick, R. J. R., Webb, A. J., Freemont, P., (2020). Biological materials: the next frontier for cell-free synthetic biology. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.00399

Kelwick, R., Ricci, L., Chee, S. M., Bell, D., Webb, A. J., and Freemont, P. S. (2018). Cell-free prototyping strategies for enhancing the sustainable production of polyhydroxyalkanoates bioplastics. Synth. Biol. 3. doi:10.1093/synbio/ysy016.

Kelwick, R., Webb, A. J., MacDonald, J. T., & Freemont, P. S., (2016). Development of a Bacillus subtilis cell-free transcription-translation system for prototyping regulatory elements. Metab. Eng. 38, 370–381.

Kelwick, R., MacDonald, J. T., Webb, A. J., & Freemont, P., (2014). Developments in the tools and methodologies of synthetic biology. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 2, 60.