Chemical Medicine

Researchers based in the School of Chemistry are engaged in numerous collaborative cross-disciplinary projects with colleagues in Biology and Medicine.

Current areas of active translational research include: developing new antimicrobial treatments; therapies for inflammation (including lung disease and acute pancreatitis); understanding and treating degenerative diseases such as sensory neuropathy, Parkinson’s and age-related macular degeneration; treatment and diagnosis of cancer (including breast, brain, lung, liver and bile-duct cancers); systems to improve the success of organ transplants (kidney, liver and lung); and developing new drug design technologies.

Industrial partners include AstraZeneca, GSK, Optos, Ingenza, Evotec, UCB, iSci, Reminova, Leica Biosystems, Syngenta, Charles River Laboratories.

Three core activities underpin our portfolio of collaborative and translational research projects in chemical biology and medicine.

Biophysical Characterisation

  1. Studying biomacromolecular structure, dynamics and interactions using high-field NMR and mass spectrometry;
  2. Analysis of complex mixtures of metabolites from cells and tissues using a combination of NMR, mass spectrometry, Raman spectroscopy and chemometrics;
  3. Biomolecular structural analysis using X-ray crystallography, mass-spectrometry and transmission and cryo-electron microscopy;
  4. Analysis of biomolecular interactions using time-resolved fluorescence spectoscopy;
  5. The design and development of new drug- and ligand-screening tools using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

Synthesis, Biocatalysis and Materials Chemistry

  1. Developing new intracellular bio-orthogonal labelling strategies for stimulated Raman spectroscopy and high-resolution cellular imaging;
  2. Producing and screening arrays of biomaterials for the control of cell growth and adhesion;
  3. Engineering and producing enzymes optimised to carry out new bio-catalytic functions;
  4. Making new fluorescent reporters for in vivo diagnosis and surgical guidance;
  5. Design and manufacture of biologically inspired nanomachines using components such as DNA and protein.
  6. Understanding the structure and formation of mineralised tissues; development of bio-inspired composite materials.

Computation and Modelling

  1. Developing molecular simulation methods to quantify the structure, dynamics and thermodynamics of molecular recognition processes;
  2. Developing novel computational methods for ligand and drug design;
  3. Data handling for multimodal imaging experiments;
  4. Developing ways to model bio-catalysis.

Associated Centres for Doctoral Training

The coordinator for this theme is Dr Colin Campbell. Any general enquiries should be directed to For more specific enquiries please refer to the members list below.

Chemical Medicine Research Staff