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Professor Christopher Abell FRS FMedSci

Portrait of ca26

One of the biggest challenges in biological chemistry is the design of small molecules that interact selectively with macromolecules. We are pioneering the development of the use of fragments to address this challenge. This approach involves close synergistic interaction between synthetic organic chemistry, biophysics and structural biology. We are using fragment-based methods to identify inhibitors of enzymes from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and to develop small molecules that modulate protein-protein interactions. We are also keen to explore new applications for fragments e.g. to identify molecules that modulate the activity of riboswitches, and to assign function to orphan proteins.

Our second major area of research is to develop the use of microdroplets in microfluidics as a novel experimental platform for biological chemistry. This research is highly interdisciplinary and involves biological chemistry, microfluidics, nanofabrication, laser spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. We are particularly interested in looking at cells in droplets, e.g. bacteria to study quorum sensing, algae for bio-fuel development.


For a full list of publications, see


A fragment profiling approach to inhibitors of the orphan M. tuberculosis P450 CYP144A1
ME Kavanagh, J Chenge, A Zoufir, KJ McLean, AG Coyne, A Bender, AW Munro, C Abell
Biomimetic Supramolecular Polymer Networks Exhibiting both Toughness and Self-Recovery
J Liu, CSY Tan, Z Yu, Y Lan, C Abell, OA Scherman
– Adv Mater
Cucurbit[n]uril-Based Microcapsules Self-Assembled within Microfluidic Droplets: A Versatile Approach for Supramolecular Architectures and Materials.
J Liu, Y Lan, Z Yu, CSY Tan, RM Parker, C Abell, OA Scherman
– Accounts of Chemical Research
Aqueous interfacial gels assembled from small molecule supramolecular polymers
AS Groombridge, A Palma, RM Parker, C Abell, OA Scherman
– Chem. Sci.
Structural Characterization and Ligand/Inhibitor Identification Provide Functional Insights into the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Cytochrome P450 CYP126A1.
JT Chenge, LV Duyet, S Swami, KJ McLean, ME Kavanagh, AG Coyne, SEJ Rigby, MR Cheesman, HM Girvan, CW Levy, B Rupp, JP von Kries, C Abell, D Leys, AW Munro
– J Biol Chem
Engineering Archeal Surrogate Systems for the Development of Protein–Protein Interaction Inhibitors against Human RAD51
T Moschetti, T Sharpe, G Fischer, ME Marsh, HK Ng, M Morgan, DE Scott, TL Blundell, A R Venkitaraman, J Skidmore, C Abell, M Hyvönen
– Journal of molecular biology
Disrupting the Constitutive, Homodimeric Protein-Protein Interface in CK2 beta Using a Biophysical Fragment-Based Approach
W-G Seetoh, C Abell
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
Fragment-based approaches to TB drugs
C Marchetti, DSH Chan, AG Coyne, C Abell
– Parasitology
Insight into Protein Conformation and Subcharging by DMSO from Native Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry
DS-H Chan, D Matak-Vinković, AG Coyne, C Abell
– ChemistrySelect
Microcapsule Buckling Triggered by Compression-Induced Interfacial Phase Change
AR Salmon, RM Parker, AS Groombridge, A Maestro, RJ Coulston, J Hegemann, J Kierfeld, OA Scherman, C Abell
– Langmuir
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336405

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