The Chemical Biology and Precision Synthesis Section develop chemistry to understand biology.


Synthesis and methodology

Our expertise is built on a sound foundation of synthetic organic chemistry. We achieve the most challenging syntheses, for example the complex natural product, Nakadomarin A. We develop groundbreaking synthetic methods.  In some, we combine many synthetic steps into a single concise procedure.  In others, absolute stereocontrol and catalysis are used, e.g. to make carbohydrate-like polymers.


Structural design

We carefully design synthetic targets for biological functions.  Stapled peptides mimic protein-protein interactions.  Computational methods explore the ways in which amino acids interact, so that function can be designed into synthetic peptides.  Molecular probes based on precise mechanisms allow us to identify short-lived reactive species in living organisms.


Biomedical science

With our collaborators, we address the most difficult problems in biomedicine: 

  • cardiovascular disease 
  • dementia
  • heart attack 
  • stroke
  • cancer 
  • inflammation 
  • transplant  

Our compounds include diagnostics such as novel PET and SPECT tracers for imaging neurological diseases.  We also uncover the mechanisms of disease and develop therapeutics.

Naturally we have a wide network of collaborators including biochemists, molecular biologists, medics, and evolutionary biologists.

Click below to see our interests.


Dr Alistair Boyer - Stereocontrolled synthesis and catalysis

Prof. Stephen Clark - Total synthesis of complex natural products

Dr David France - Drug conjugates, anti-parasitics, anti-bacterials

Prof. Richard Hartley - Molecular probes, prodrugs, ROS sensors, targeting, cardiovascular, inflammation, malaria

Dr Jesko Köhnke - Natural product biosynthesis and engineering, enzymes, anti-infectives, host-pathogen interactions

Dr Andrew Jamieson - Peptides, peptidomimetics, ion channels, pain regulation, HDAC inhibitors, cancer

Dr Joëlle Prunet - Stereocontrol, functionalised polymers, metathesis, total synthesis of natural products

Dr Andrew Sutherland - PET and SPECT tracers, diagnostics, neurological diseases, cancer, fluorophores, one-pot multi-reaction catalytic processes

Dr Drew Thomson - Designer peptides, computer modeling


Full CBPS Staff