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Ruben Tomas

Ruben Tomás is a Research Fellow joint with The University of Warwick and Cryologyx, an early-stage biotechnology company based in Coventry, UK. Ruben focuses on the development of next-generation cryoprotectants to expand the storage and transportation of cell-based products used in drug discovery and diagnostics.

Ruben completed his PhD in the Gibson group focusing on "Metabolic Oligosaccharide Engineering for Glycocalyx Remodelling with Synthetic Polymers", under the supervision of Professor Matthew Gibson (supervisor; Department of Chemistry and Warwick Medical School) and Dr Daniel Mitchell (co-supervisor; Warwick Medical School). Glycocalyx engineering through metabolic labelling, a technique pioneered by Carolyn Bertozzi, allows the installation of azide groups onto the cell surface through the use of unnatural azide modified sugars to hijack the promiscuous biosynthetic pathway of endogenous glycans. Subsequent biorthogonal installation of synthetic polymers conjugated to biomolecules, drugs or fluorescent dyes allows non-native functionality to be introduced, probing biological processes and enhancing cell-based therapies. The use of cell and molecular biology techniques have been utilised to determine the biocompatibility and efficiency of such approaches (Biomacromolecules, 2019; ACS Macro Lett., 2018).

Cell surface labelling with azido sugars and small molecule probes

Fig. 1. Cell surface modification with azido sugars and bioorthogonal small molecule probes.

We also focus on improving the cryopreservation formulations of cells, with recent efforts targetted towards improving the cryopreservation of stem cells using polymer derivatives of natural antifreeze proteins, whilst retaining their pluripotent status.

Academic Background

PhD in Analytical Science at The University of Warwick (2017-2021)


MSc in Molecular Analytical Science at The University of Warwick (2016-2017)

Graduated with Pass with Distinction.

Activities and Societies: Student Staff Liason Officer for Molecular Analytical Science at The University of Warwick (2017). Outreach Officer for The University of Warwick's Chemistry Society (2017). STEM ambassador for The Royal Society of Chemistry (2017-onwards).

BSc (Hons) in Forensic Science at Nottingham Trent University (2013-2016)

Graduated with First Class Honours.

Activities and Societies: Course Representative for Forensic Science at Nottingham Trent University (2014). Student member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (2013-2016).

Previous Research

University of Warwick, MSc Research Project 2

July 2017 - September 2017

Electrochemical sensing directly in bodily fluids – a move towards point of care and in vivo analysis

Supervised by Professor Julie Macpherson (Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group, Department of Chemistry) and Dr Tony Bristow (Astra Zeneca, Industry Supervisor).

University of Warwick, MSc Research Project 1

April 2017 - July 2017

Conquering poor resolution in fast magic angle spinning solid-state NMR spectra of noncrystallisable protein assemblies.

Supervised by Dr Józef Lewandowski (The University of Warwick's Solid State NMR Group, Department of Chemistry) and Dr Peter Gierth (Bruker, Industry Supervisor).

Nottingham Trent University, Final Year Project

Jan 2016 - April 2016

Dye-Doped Silica Nanoparticles and Microparticles for Fingermark Enhancement.

Supervised by Dr Muriel Funck (School of Science & Technology, Nottingham Trent University).

Nottingham Trent University, Summer Placement

July 2015 - September 2015

Synthesis of Novel Antimalarial Compounds derived from the Codinaeopsin Scaffold.

Supervised by Dr Liam Duffy (School of Science & Technology, Nottingham Trent University).


1. Alex Murray, Tom R. Congdon, Ruben M.F. Tomás, Peter Kilbride, Gibson, M.I., Biomacromolecules, 2021., "Red Blood Cell Cryopreservation with Minimal Post-Thaw Lysis Enabled by a Synergistic Combination of a Cryoprotecting Polyampholyte with DMSO/Trehalose".

2. Ruben M. F. Tomás and Matthew I. Gibson, Chem. Sci., 2021, 12, 4557-4569. "Covalent Cell Surface Recruitment of Chemotherapeutic Polymers Enhances Selectivity and Activity".

3. Kathryn A Murray, Ruben M. F. Tomás, and Matthew I. Gibson, ACS Appl. Bio Mater., 2020, 3 (9), 5627-5632. "Low DMSO Cryopreservation of Stem Cells Enabled by Macromolecular Cryoprotectants".

4. Ruben M. F. Tomás, Matthew I. Gibson. ACS Macro Lett., 2020, 9 (7), 991-1003. "100th Anniversary of Macromolecular Science Viewpoint: Re-Engineering Cellular Interfaces with Synthetic Macromolecules Using Metabolic Glycan Labeling".

Notable features: Invited Viewpoint for 100th Anniversary of Macromolecular Science, ACS Editors' Choice, Top Most Accessed Paper Jun-Nov 2020, 3rd Most Accessed Paper 2020-21, ACS Macro Letters Coverpage.


5. Hadyn L. Parker, Ruben M. F. Tomás, Christopher M. Furze, Collette S. Guy, Elizabeth Fullam.Org. Biomol. Chem., 2020,18, 3607-3612. "Asymmetric trehalose analogues to probe disaccharide processing pathways in mycobacteria".

6. Ruben M. F. Tomás, Trisha L. Bailey, Muhammad Hasan, Matthew I. Gibson, Biomacromolecules, 2019, 20 (10), 3864-3872. "Extracellular Antifreeze Protein Significantly Enhances the Cryopreservation of Cell Monolayer".


7. Trisha L. Bailey, Christopher Stubbs, Kathryn Murray, Ruben M. F. Tomás, Lucienne Otten, Matthew I. Gibson, Biomacromolecules, 2019, 20 (8), 3104-3114. "Synthetically Scalable Poly(ampholyte) Which Dramatically Enhances Cellular Cryopreservation".

Notable features: Warwick Press Release, Science Daily, Med India, News(wise),, Select Science, Under Technology, Health News Digest, Infosalus, IOM3.

8. Ruben M. F. Tomás and Matthew I. Gibson, Biomacromolecules, 2019, 20 (7), 2726-2736. Optimization and Stability of Cell-Polymer Hybrids Obtained by ‘Clicking’ Synthetic Polymers to Metabolically-Labeled Cell Surface Glycans.

Notable features: Biomacromolecules Coverpage, ACS Editors' Choice Article, Chemical and Engineering News, Top Most Accessed Paper June 2019


9. Ruben M. F. Tomás, Benjamin Martyn, Trisha L. Bailey, Matthew I. Gibson, ACS Macro Lett., 2018, 7(11), 1289–1294. "Engineering Cell Surfaces by Covalent Grafting of Synthetic Polymers to Metabolically-Labeled Glycans"

Notable features: Most access Nov/Dec 2018


10. Sarah‐Jane Richards, Adam Jones, Ruben M. F. Tomás, Matthew I. Gibson, Chem. A Eur. J., 2018, 24 (52), 13758–13761. "Photochemical “In‐Air” Combinatorial Discovery of Antimicrobial Co‐polymers".

Notable features: Warwick press release, Highlighted a 'hot' paper.


07/20 Talk prize winner at MAS CDT annual conference.

06/20 ACS Macro Letters cover page feature.

06/20 ACS Editors’ Choice.

06/20 Chemical Biology Warwick Postgraduate Symposium Presentation Prize

07/19 ACS Editors’ Choice.

07/19 Biomacromolecules cover page feature.

06/19 Talk prize winner at MAS CDT annual conference.

09/18 - 09/19 University of Warwick Chair of student staff liason committee.

06/18 Poster prize winner at MAS CDT annual conference.

09/17- 09/18 MAS CDT Secretary of student staff liason committee.

05/17 Poster prize winner at MAS CDT annual conference.

09/16 MAS scholarship awarded by the Engineering & Physical Science Research Council.

07/16 Winner of the Trent Institute for Learning and Teaching Research in Undergraduate Studies in the School of Science and Technology 15/16 for the best research project

09/13 - 07/16 NTU Undergraduate Studies Scholarship

Conferences Presentations

07/20 MAS CDT annual conference, Virtual, UK (Oral)

06/20 Macro Group YRM, Virtual, UK (Oral)

06/20 Warwick Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium, Coventry, UK (Oral)

01/20 4th Chemical Ligation Meeting, Le Studium, Orleáns, France (Poster & Oral)

06/19 MAS CDT annual conference, Somerset, UK (Poster & Oral)

05/19 Warwick Postgraduate Symposium, University of Warwick, UK (Poster)

07/19 MAS CDT annual conference, Bakewell, UK (Poster & Oral)

Contact Information



Orcid ID:

MOAC Department, Top floor Senate House, Universty of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL.

MAS 2016

MAS Cohort ChemballMAS Cohort Christmas


Ruben Tomas


Senate House

The University of Warwick.