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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.


Machine learning for target discovery in drug development
T Rodrigues, GJL Bernardes
– Current opinion in chemical biology
Proteome-wide survey of cysteine oxidation using a norbornene probe.
LJ Alcock, M Langini, K Stühler, M Remke, MV Perkins, GJL Bernardes, JM Chalker
– Chembiochem
Enhancement of the Anti-Aggregation Activity of a Molecular Chaperone Using a Rationally Designed Post-Translational Modification.
PR Lindstedt, FA Aprile, MJ Matos, M Perni, JB Bertoldo, B Bernardim, Q Peter, G Jiménez-Osés, TPJ Knowles, CM Dobson, F Corzana, M Vendruscolo, GJL Bernardes
– ACS Cent Sci
Evaluation of linker length effects on a BET bromodomain probe.
R Traquete, E Henderson, S Picaud, PMSD Cal, F Sieglitz, T Rodrigues, R Oliveira, P Filippakopoulos, GJL Bernardes
– Chemical Communications
Ethynylbenziodoxolone Reactivity in Cysteine Bioconjugation
SR Adusumalli, GJL Bernardes
– Chem
Overexpression of osmosensitive Ca2+-activated channel TMEM63B promotes migration in HEK293T cells
M Marques, I Albuquerque, S Vaz, G Bernardes
– Biochemistry
Overexpression of Osmosensitive Ca
MC Marques, IS Albuquerque, SH Vaz, GJL Bernardes
– Biochemistry
Natural product-drug conjugates for modulation of TRPV1-expressing tumors
C Baker, T Rodrigues, BP de Almeida, NL Barbosa-Morais, GJL Bernardes
– Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Tetrazine-Triggered Release of Carboxylic-Acid-Containing Molecules for Activation of an Anti-inflammatory Drug
S Davies, L Qiao, BL Oliveira, CD Navo, G Jiménez-Osés, GJL Bernardes
– Chembiochem
Dissecting celastrol with machine learning to unveil dark pharmacology.
T Rodrigues, BP de Almeida, NL Barbosa-Morais, GJL Bernardes
– Chem Commun (Camb)
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336305

Email address


Trinity Hall