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Professor Christopher Abell 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


Small-molecule inhibitors that target protein-protein interactions in the RAD51 family of recombinases
DE Scott, AG Coyne, A Venkitaraman, TL Blundell, C Abell, M Hyvönen – ChemMedChem (2014) n/a
Binding Hotspots of BAZ2B Bromodomain: Histone Interaction Revealed by Solution NMR Driven Docking
FM Ferguson, DM Dias, JP Rodrigues, H Wienk, R Boelens, AM Bonvin, C Abell, A Ciulli – Biochemistry (2014) 53, 6706
Design and Structural Analysis of Aromatic Inhibitors of Type II Dehydroquinase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
NI Howard, MV Dias, F Peyrot, L Chen, MF Schmidt, TL Blundell, C Abell – ChemMedChem (2014) 10, n/a
Evolution of enzyme catalysts caged in biomimetic gel-shell beads.
M Fischlechner, Y Schaerli, MF Mohamed, S Patil, C Abell, F Hollfelder – Nature Chemistry (2014) 6, 791
Regioselective Conversion of Arenes to N -aryl-1,2,3-triazoles Using CH Borylation
R Srinivasan, AG Coyne, C Abell – Chemistry (2014) 20, 11680
Pantothenic Acid Biosynthesis in the Parasite Toxoplasma gondii: a Target for Chemotherapy
SN Mageed, F Cunningham, AW Hung, HL Silvestre, S Wen, TL Blundell, C Abell, GA McConkey – Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy (2014) 58, 6345
The Use of Chlorobenzene as a Probe Molecule in Molecular Dynamics Simulations
YS Tan, DR Spring, C Abell, C Verma – J Chem Inf Model (2014) 54, 1821
Supramolecular colloidosomes: Fabrication, characterisation and triggered release of cargo
G Stephenson, RM Parker, Y Lan, Z Yu, OA Scherman, C Abell – Chemical communications (Cambridge, England) (2014) 50, 7048
Validating Fragment-Based Drug Discovery for Biological RNAs: Lead Fragments Bind and Remodel the TPP Riboswitch Specifically
KD Warner, P Homan, KM Weeks, AG Smith, C Abell, AR Ferré-D'Amaré – Chemistry & Biology (2014) 21, 591
Threonine 57 is required for the post-translational activation of Escherichia coli aspartate α-decarboxylase
ME Webb, BA Yorke, T Kershaw, S Lovelock, CM Lobley, ML Kilkenny, AG Smith, TL Blundell, AR Pearson, C Abell – Acta crystallographica. Section D, Biological crystallography (2014) 70, 1166
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336405

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