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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry


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


Facile Installation of Post-translational Modifications on the Tau Protein via Chemical Mutagenesis.
PR Lindstedt, RJ Taylor, GJL Bernardes, M Vendruscolo
– ACS chemical neuroscience
In Vivo Pretargeting Based on Cysteine-Selective Antibody Modification with IEDDA Bioorthogonal Handles for Click Chemistry
VFC Ferreira, BL Oliveira, A D'Onofrio, CM Farinha, L Gano, A Paulo, GJL Bernardes, F Mendes
– Bioconjugate chemistry
Systematic Activity Maturation of a Single-Domain Antibody with Non-canonical Amino Acids through Chemical Mutagenesis
PR Lindstedt, FA Aprile, P Sormanni, R Rakoto, CM Dobson, GJL Bernardes, M Vendruscolo
– Cell chemical biology
Structural Characterization of an Unprecedented Lectin-like Antitumoral anti-MUC1 Antibody
J Macías-León, IA Bermejo, A Asín, A García-García, I Compañón, E Jiménez-Moreno, H Coelho, V Mangini, IS Albuquerque, F Marcelo, JL Asensio, GJL Bernardes, HJ Joshi, R Fiammengo, O Blixt, R Hurtado-Guerrero, F Corzana
– Chem Commun (Camb)
A Structural Ensemble of a Tau-Microtubule Complex Reveals Regulatory Tau Phosphorylation and Acetylation Mechanisms
F Brotzakis, P Lindstedt, R Taylor, G Bernardes, M Vendruscolo
– biorxiv
Structure of a protective epitope reveals the importance of acetylation of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A capsular polysaccharide.
P Henriques, L Dello Iacono, A Gimeno, A Biolchi, MR Romano, A Arda, GJL Bernardes, J Jimenez-Barbero, F Berti, R Rappuoli, R Adamo
– Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
MeCLICK-Seq, a Substrate-Hijacking and RNA Degradation Strategy for the Study of RNA Methylation
S Mikutis, M Gu, E Sendinc, ME Hazemi, H Kiely-Collins, D Aspris, GS Vassiliou, Y Shi, K Tzelepis, GJL Bernardes
– ACS Cent Sci
Mechanistic insights into transition metal-mediated bioorthogonal uncaging reactions
E Latocheski, GM Dal Forno, TM Ferreira, BL Oliveira, GJL Bernardes, JB Domingos
– Chemical Society reviews
Sequential dual site-selective protein labelling enabled by lysine modification
MJ Matos, L Brown, B Bernardim, A Guerreiro, G Jiménez-Osés, GJL Bernardes
– Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Serine-Selective Bioconjugation
JC Vantourout, SR Adusumalli, KW Knouse, DT Flood, A Ramirez, NM Padial, A Istrate, K Maziarz, JN deGruyter, RR Merchant, JX Qiao, MA Schmidt, MJ Deery, MD Eastgate, PE Dawson, GJL Bernardes, PS Baran
– J Am Chem Soc
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336305

Email address


Trinity Hall