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Professor Christopher Abell FRS FMedSci

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


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 CK2β 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-Vinkovic, 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
Label-Free Analysis and Sorting of Microalgae and Cyanobacteria in Microdroplets by Intrinsic Chlorophyll Fluorescence for the Identification of Fast Growing Strains.
RJ Best, JJ Lyczakowski, S Abalde-Cela, Z Yu, C Abell, AG Smith
– Anal Chem
Dual-responsive supramolecular colloidal microcapsules from cucurbit[8]uril molecular recognition in microfluidic droplets
Z Yu, Y Lan, RM Parker, W Zhang, X Deng, OA Scherman, C Abell
– Polymer Chemistry
Hierarchical Self-Assembly of Cellulose Nanocrystals in a Confined Geometry.
RM Parker, B Frka-Petesic, G Guidetti, G Kamita, G Consani, C Abell, S Vignolini
– ACS Nano
Substrate Fragmentation for the Design of M. tuberculosis CYP121 Inhibitors.
ME Kavanagh, JL Gray, SH Gilbert, AG Coyne, KJ McLean, HJ Davis, AW Munro, C Abell
– ChemMedChem
Inhibition of Ral GTPases Using a Stapled Peptide Approach.
JC Thomas, JM Cooper, NS Clayton, C Wang, MA White, C Abell, D Owen, HR Mott
– J Biol Chem
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336405

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