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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

Reader in Chemical Biology

Dr. Gonçalo Bernardes is a Reader in Chemical Biology, a Royal Society University Research Fellow & a Fellow of Trinity Hall College, Cambridge.

What we do

Nature has its own machinery for modifying the structure of proteins. In our research, we’re attempting to mimic this machinery to gain significant therapeutic benefits. We’re engineering chemical reactions that enable us to modify proteins while allowing to choose the precise location in the protein’s structure where we want to install these modifications.

This work has a whole range of applications. For example, we’re currently developing ways of selectively labelling proteins in living cells: this can help us monitor the proteins associated with particular diseases without interfering either with the protein’s structure, function, activity and location or upsetting the cell’s normal functions. Another important potential application for this work is linking cytotoxic drug molecules (molecules that are poisonous to cells) to antibodies and then using the antibody to deliver the drug in a very targeted way to the diseased tissue. This could improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments and reduce their side effects.

These are two examples from among our lines of research that use site-selective and bioorthogonal chemistry to address challenges in biology and medicine. We hope our methods may in future be used in laboratories around the world to help develop new drugs with improved effectiveness and reduced side-effects for some of the most common diseases such as cancer.


We are funded by the Royal Society, by research council grants in both countries (EPSRC and FCT Portugal), and by the EU including through a European Research Council Starting and Proof-of-Concept Grants

For further information on our research and for oportunities, please check our research group website.

Watch Dr Bernardes discuss his research

Take a tour of the Bernardes Lab


Accelerating Reaction Rates of Biomolecules by Using Shear Stress in Artificial Capillary Systems
TA Hakala, EV Yates, PK Challa, Z Toprakcioglu, K Nadendla, D Matak-Vinkovic, CM Dobson, R Martínez, F Corzana, TPJ Knowles, GJL Bernardes
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
Dichloro Butenediamides as Irreversible Site-Selective Protein Conjugation Reagent.
V Laserna, D Abegg, CF Afonso, EM Martin, A Adibekian, P Ravn, F Corzana, GJL Bernardes
– Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)
Dichloro Butenediamides as Irreversible Site‐Selective Protein Conjugation Reagent
V Laserna, D Abegg, CF Afonso, EM Martin, A Adibekian, P Ravn, F Corzana, GJL Bernardes
– Angewandte Chemie
A Platform for Site-Specific DNA-Antibody Bioconjugation by Using Benzoylacrylic-labelled Oligonucleotides.
J Konč, L Brown, DR Whiten, Y Zuo, P Ravn, D Klenerman, GJL Bernardes
– Angew Chem Int Ed Engl
Combating small-molecule aggregation with machine learning
K Lee, A Yang, Y-C Lin, D Reker, GJL Bernardes, T Rodrigues
– Cell Reports Physical Science
METTL1-mediated m7G modification of Arg-TCT tRNA drives oncogenic transformation.
EA Orellana, Q Liu, E Yankova, M Pirouz, E De Braekeleer, W Zhang, J Lim, D Aspris, E Sendinc, DA Garyfallos, M Gu, R Ali, A Gutierrez, S Mikutis, GJL Bernardes, ES Fischer, A Bradley, GS Vassiliou, FJ Slack, K Tzelepis, RI Gregory
– Mol Cell
Exploration of Long-Chain Vitamin e Metabolites for the Discovery of a Highly Potent, Orally Effective, and Metabolically Stable 5-LOX Inhibitor that Limits Inflammation
K Neukirch, K Alsabil, C-P Dinh, R Bilancia, M Raasch, A Ville, I Cerqua, G Viault, D Bréard, S Pace, V Temml, E Brunner, PM Jordan, MC Marques, K Loeser, A Gollowitzer, S Permann, J Gerstmeier, S Lorkowski, H Stuppner, U Garscha, T Rodrigues, GJL Bernardes, D Schuster, D Séraphin, P Richomme, A Rossi, AS Mosig, F Roviezzo, O Werz, J-J Helesbeux, A Koeberle
– Journal of medicinal chemistry
Arylethynyltrifluoroborate Dienophiles for on Demand Activation of IEDDA Reactions.
Z Zawada, Z Guo, BL Oliveira, CD Navo, H Li, PMSD Cal, F Corzana, G Jiménez-Osés, GJL Bernardes
– Bioconjug Chem
The role of reversible and irreversible covalent chemistry in targeted protein degradation
H Kiely-Collins, GE Winter, GJL Bernardes
– Cell Chem Biol
Protein Conjugation by Electrophilic Alkynylation Using 5‑(Alkynyl)dibenzothiophenium Triflates
V Laserna, A Istrate, K Kafuta, TA Hakala, TPJ Knowles, M Alcarazo, GJL Bernardes
– Bioconjugate chemistry
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336305

Email address


Trinity Hall