Chemical and Structural Biology

Specific research areas include structural biology: analysis of the molecular structure of biological macromolecules (most notably proteins) and study of the fundamental structural and chemical bases for biological and biochemical processes; development of methods (crystallographic and computational) to support and enable structural biology research; chemical biology: the use of small molecules to probe and exploit cellular biology; and the exploitation of enzymes in biocatalysis. All of this work is underpinned by facilities for cryo electron microscopy (to be installed in 2018), protein characterisation, crystallisation, X-Ray diffraction, biomolecular NMR, and mass spectrometry.

Members of this research theme includes the YSBL group as well as researchers in organic and inorganic chemistry. There is significant collaboration with the Department of Biology.


  • Jon Agirre - New approaches to carbohydrate model building, refinement, validation and visualisation
  • Fred Antson - Protein-nucleic acid interactions
  • Jamie Blaza - Cryo-Electron Microscopy
  • Marek Brzozowski - Structural endocrinology; Membrane proteins; Development of methods for protein crystallisation
  • Kevin Cowtan - Automated protein structure solution
  • Gideon Davies - Structural enzymology and carbohydrate chemistry
  • Caroline Dessent - Physical chemistry of gas-phase biological ions; Gas-phase inorganic chemistry; Mass spectrometry
  • Simon Duckett - Organometallic chemistry and reaction mechanisms
  • Martin Fascione - Chemical glycobiology, synthetic carbohydrate chemistry,  chemical/enzymatic modification of proteins
  • Gideon Grogan - Structure, function and application of novel biocatalysts
  • Roderick Hubbard - Structure-based drug discovery
  • Avtar Matharu - Green and Sustainable Chemistry: biobased chemicals, processes and materials
  • Peter O'Brien - Development of New Methods in Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Alison Parkin - Electrochemical insights into redox-active metalloproteins, bacterial metabolism and catalysis
  • Seishi Shimizu - Solvents, solvation, and solubility; Statistical thermodynamics of biomolecules, drugs, and food
  • Jane Thomas-Oates - Analytical science; Biological mass spectrometry
  • Paul Walton - Bioinorganic chemistry
  • Tony Wilkinson - Structure and function of proteins involved in regulation
  • Lianne Willems - Chemical Biology of Carbohydrates and Carbohydrate-Processing Enzymes
  • Keith Wilson - Structure-function relationships of biological macromolecules using protein crystallographic techniques