Chemical biology and medicinal chemistry

A member of our chemistry research team exploring chemical biology and medicinal chemistry

We focus on the application of chemical approaches to problems in biology and medicine. Our research is underpinned by expertise in synthesis, medicinal chemistry, molecular recognition, enzymology, biophysical and analytical methods and nanoscience. We develop underpinning chemical methods, which we apply to understand biological mechanisms and to develop new ways to treat disease.

Chemical biology

Applying chemical methods to the study of biological problems is a key interest in the group. Research in this area focuses on:

  • Chemical tools and approaches for interrogating biology
  • Elucidation of fundamental biological mechanisms
  • Engineered and modified proteins: methods and applications.

These research interests are largely coordinated through the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology.

Medicinal chemistry

We focus on the discovery and optimisation of bioactive molecules for a wide range of potential therapeutic targets. Research in this area focuses on:

  • Early-stage drug discovery
  • Targeted delivery systems for imaging and/or therapeutics
  • Technologies for disease diagnosis.

Many of these activities are undertaken in collaboration with the University's biomedical research groups.


  • Computer cluster dedicated to ligand design
  • A facility for screening small molecule libraries
  • A suite dedicated to the high-throughput synthesis of small molecules
  • Integrated laboratories for chemical biology research.

Access to all major structural biology and biophysical techniques is available through the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology. The £17million Astbury BioStructure laboratory has internationally-leading facilities for cryo-electron microscopy and biological NMR.

Links with industry

We have strong links to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, and many projects are undertaken in collaboration with industry.

Research team

If you are interested in collaborating with us or joining our research team, please get in touch. View all members of the chemical biology and medicinal chemistry group.

PhD projects

We have opportunities for prospective PhD students. Potential projects can be found in the postgraduate research project opportunities directory.

We also contribute to the following doctoral training programmes: