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Professor of Biological and Biomedical Chemistry

What we do...

Our research focusses on the molecular structure of biological tissues.  The bulk of structural tissues such as bone, muscle, tendon and skin, is the so-called extracellular matrix.  This extracellular material gives the tissue its essential mechanical properties, for instance the stiffness and toughness of bone, the elasticity of skin.  The molecular structure of the extracellular matrix is complex and subject to equally complex chemistry on a daily basis.  This leads to structural changes, which in ageing, in diseases such as cancer and degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis can be substantial.  Cells take their cues from the molecular structure of the extracellular matrix that surrounds them, and so their behaviour changes when the extracellular matrix structure changes.  This results in aberrant cell behaviour in cancer for instance, and imperfect tissue repair after damage in ageing.

The major paradigm in our research is that normal cell behaviour can be restored by restoring normal extracellular matrix structure. Our work aims to generate the understanding needed to drive development of new therapeutics for degenerative diseases.

You can read more about our research here.

We are funded by... 

The European Research Council, the Medcical Research Council, the British Heart Foundation, Cycle Pharmaceuticals and Cambridge Oncology.

Watch Professor Melinda Duer discuss her research

Take a two-minute tour of the Duer Lab


Antimicrobial and in silico studies of the triterpenoids of Dichapetalum albidum.
MA Chama, GA Dziwornu, E Popli, E Mas-Claret, B Egyir, DM Ayine-Tora, KB-A Owusu, DG Reid, D Osei-Safo, M Duer, D Mulholland, A Bender
– Heliyon
Metabolic acids impact bone mineral maturation
Y Li, R Li, DG Reid, JT Lunn, KH Müller, D Laurencin, C Bonhomme, EA Ossa, NAJM Sommerdijk, MJ Duer
Using sequence data to predict the self-assembly of supramolecular collagen structures
AM Puszkarska, D Frenkel, LJ Colwell, MJ Duer
– Biophysical Journal
Molecular conformations and dynamics in the extracellular matrix of mammalian structural tissues: Solid-state NMR spectroscopy approaches.
A Murgoci, M Duer
– Matrix biology plus
Mechanical adaptation of brachiopod shells via hydration-induced structural changes.
J Ihli, AS Schenk, S Rosenfeldt, K Wakonig, M Holler, G Falini, L Pasquini, E Delacou, J Buckman, TS Glen, T Kress, EHR Tsai, DG Reid, MJ Duer, M Cusack, F Nudelman
– Nature communications
Incorporation of nanogels within calcite single crystals for the storage, protection and controlled release of active compounds
O Nahi, AN Kulak, T Kress, Y-Y Kim, OG Grendal, MJ Duer, OJ Cayre, FC Meldrum
– Chem Sci
A Ca-43 nuclear magnetic resonance perspective on octacalcium phosphate and its hybrid derivatives
D Laurencin, Y Li, MJ Duer, D Iuga, C Gervais, C Bonhomme
– Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry
Pigmentation Chemistry and Radical-Based Collagen Degradation in Alkaptonuria and Osteoarthritic Cartilage
WY Chow, BP Norman, NB Roberts, LR Ranganath, C Teutloff, R Bittl, MJ Duer, H Oschkinat
– Angewandte Chemie
DNA Damage Response: A Molecular Lynchpin in the Pathobiology of Arteriosclerotic Calcification.
M Duer, AM Cobb, CM Shanahan
– Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol
Pigmentation Chemistry and Radical-Based Collagen Degradation in Alkaptonuria and Osteoarthritic Cartilage.
WY Chow, BP Norman, NB Roberts, LR Ranganath, C Teutloff, R Bittl, MJ Duer, JA Gallagher, H Oschkinat
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
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01223 336483

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