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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


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 F420 to the conserved protein Rv1155 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
EH Mashalidis, AG Gittis, A Tomczak, C Abell, CE Barry, DN Garboczi – Protein Science (2015) 24, 729
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) n/a
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 (2015) 10, 296
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 (2015) 10, 116
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
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336405

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