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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


Optimization of Inhibitors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Pantothenate Synthetase Based on Group Efficiency Analysis.
AW Hung, HL Silvestre, S Wen, GP George, J Boland, TL Blundell, A Ciulli, C Abell – ChemMedChem (2016) 11, 38
Supracolloidal Architectures Self-Assembled in Microdroplets.
X Xu, F Tian, X Liu, RM Parker, Y Lan, Y Wu, Z Yu, OA Scherman, C Abell – Chemistry (2015) 21, 15516
Formation of Cucurbit[8]uril-Based Supramolecular Hydrogel Beads Using Droplet-Based Microfluidics.
X Xu, EA Appel, X Liu, RM Parker, OA Scherman, C Abell – Biomacromolecules (2015) 16, 2743
Supramolecular hydrogel microcapsules via cucurbit[8]uril host-guest interactions with triggered and UV-controlled molecular permeability
Z Yu, J Zhang, RJ Coulston, RM Parker, F Biedermann, X Liu, OA Scherman, C Abell – Chem. Sci. (2015) 6, 4929
Differentially Addressable Cavities within Metal-Organic Cage-Cross-Linked Polymeric Hydrogels
JA Foster, RM Parker, AM Belenguer, N Kishi, S Sutton, C Abell, JR Nitschke – Journal of the American Chemical Society (2015) 137, 9722
Selective Targeting of the TPX2 Site of Importin-α Using Fragment-Based Ligand Design.
RS Holvey, E Valkov, D Neal, M Stewart, C Abell – ChemMedChem (2015) 10, 1232
The Application of Ligand-Mapping Molecular Dynamics Simulations to the Rational Design of Peptidic Modulators of Protein-Protein Interactions.
YS Tan, DR Spring, C Abell, CS Verma – Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation (2015) 11, 3199
High-throughput detection of ethanol-producing cyanobacteria in a microdroplet platform.
S Abalde-Cela, A Gould, X Liu, E Kazamia, AG Smith, C Abell – J R Soc Interface (2015) 12, 20150216
Surface-immobilised micelles via cucurbit[8]uril-rotaxanes for solvent-induced burst release.
C Hu, Y Zheng, Z Yu, C Abell, OA Scherman – Chemical communications (Cambridge, England) (2015) 51, 4858
Molecular insights into the binding of coenzyme Fto the conserved protein Rv1155 from
EH Mashalidis, AG Gittis, A Tomczak, C Abell, CE Barry, DN Garboczi – Protein Science (2015) 24, 729
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336405

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