Professor Gideon Davies, FMedSci, FRS

Royal Society Ken Murray Research Professor

01904 328260

Structural Enzymology and Carbohydrate Chemistry

Research Summary

My research spans the disciplines of Chemistry and Biology, with a focus on the structural enzymology and chemical biology of proteins involved in the synthesis and degradation of carbohydrates.  Current projects include:

  • the enzyme discovery and the enzymology of biomass conversion, focusing on the human intestinal microbiota and on fungal and bacterial lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases;
  • the O-GlcNAc modification and its role in neurodegeneration;
  • glycan synthesis and degradation in health and disease, probing cancer viral invasion and lysosomal storage diseases;
  • opiate biosynthesis.

Enzyme mechanism and conformational analysis

Selected Recent Publications

  • Complex pectin metabolism by gut bacteria reveals novel catalytic functions
    Ndeh et al. Nature, 2017, 544, 65-70
  • Structural and functional insight into human O-GlcNAcase
    Roth et al., Nature Chem Biol, 2017, 13, 610-612
  • Activity-based probes for functional interrogation of retaining β-glucuronidases
    Wu et al., Nature Chem Biol, 2017, 13, 867–873
  • Detection of Active Mammalian GH31 α‑Glucosidases in Health and Disease Using In-ClassBroad-Spectrum Activity-Based Probes
    Jiang et al., ACS Central Science, 2016, 2, 351-358
  • The molecular basis of polysaccharide cleavage by lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases
    Frandsen et al., Nature Chem Biol, 2016, 12, 298-303
  • YihQ is a sulfoquinovosidase that cleaves sulfoquinovosyl diacylglyceride sulfolipids
    Speciale et al., Nature Chem Biol2016, 12, 215-217
  • Structural characterization of human heparanase reveals insights into substrate recognition
    Wu et al.,  Nature Struct Mol Biol, 2015, 22, 1016-1022
  • Human gut Bacteroidetes can utilize yeast mannan through a selfish mechanism
    Cuskin et al., Nature, 2015, 517, 165–169 
  • A discrete genetic locus confers xyloglucan metabolism in select human gut Bacteroidetes
    J Larsbrink et al., Nature, 2014, 506, 498-502


Gideon Davies received his PhD from the University of Bristol in 1990, and went on to postdoctoral research at EMBL Hamburg and CNRS Grenoble. In 1996 he received a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to work on Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes. He was made a Professor of the University of York in 2001.  He has won many awards including the 2016 iChemE Global Energy award, the 2015 Davy Medal of the Royal Society, the 2014 Khorana Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the 2010 Gabor Medal of the Royal Society. Gideon was elected a a Fellow of The Royal Society in 2010, and as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization the same year.  He was also elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014. Gideon Davies was made a Royal Society Ken Murray Research Professor in 2016.

Professor Gideon Davies

York Research Database link

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For up-to-date publication details please use the Google Scholar or  "full publication list" links below.

Google Scholar profile

Full Publication List, as PDF (PDF  , 535kb)

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Research funders include:

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