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Department of Chemistry

Portrait of rcg28

There is a strong interest in the development of novel molecular property calculations and data analysis methods combined with the simulation of biomolecules and materials. Current research interests include drug discovery methods (SAR, simulation of biomolecules and ADME) and molecular data analysis (complexity analysis, deep learning) as well as drug discovery projects against specific targets. Recent work has seen compounds evaluated in human clinical studies in Addenbrooke's hospital.


This example is a simulation of Apelin, a peptide, within the Apelin G-Protein Coupled Receptor (Hypertension (2015) 65, 834). Simulations like this helped us design the first Apelin receptor biased agonists (being investigated for use in in Pulmonary Hypertension) and competitive antagonists (being investigated for use in glioblastoma- brain tumours (Brain (2017) - in press)).




Career highlights

I gained my Ph.D. (supervisor Prof. Peter Murray-Rust) in X-ray Crystallography, computational chemistry and Organic Synthesis from the University of Stirling.  One of the highlights was the first co-crystallisation of a reactant and product of a chemical reaction in a single crystal. 

As a Senior Research Scientist at the Wellcome Foundation I guided the development of the Computer-aided Molecular Design group. This included Protein Crystallography (the first in a pharmaceutical company), Molecular Transport properties and Electrochemistry.  I designed the GASP and GOLD computer programs which are used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry (6000 citations), I am a co-inventor of Zomig (a drug for migraine with ca. $6B in sales) and invented two other compounds at Wellcome that entered Phase-2 clinical development. 

As Vice President for Collaborative Research at Tripos Inc., a biotechnology company in St. Louis Mo. we created the first commercial screening library, Optiverse (100K compounds), and I assisted in setting up three biotechnology companies (Arena Pharmaceuticals, Phase-1 Molecular Toxicology and Signase).  I obtained and directed a significant BBSRC grant with University College London (discovering activators of soluble guanylate cyclise and working with The Technology Partnership to develop the Baseplate robot) and managed collaborative research and contract research in drug discovery with many large Pharmaceutical companies. Two of the research programs resulted in drugs for obesity (lorcaserin) and sleep disorders/alzheimers (nelotanserin).

In 1999 I moved to the University of Cambridge as Founding Director of the Unilever Centre for Molecular Sciences Informatics, a new institute as part of the Chemistry department, now the Centre for Molecular Informatics, part of the Theoretical Group.

I have served on the boards of a number of emerging biotech and technology companies and serve on a number of grant awarding bodies and am a Fellow of Clare College Cambridge. I have been a consultant to many large pharma companies. I have additionally received over £20M in grants over the last ten years, from Wellcome Trust, NHS, EPSRC, BBSRC, DTI, MRC and Pharmaceutical and software companies.

I was recently elected Professor of Computational Medicine at Imperial College London, and direct several groups working on Big Data projects in diverse areas such as metabonomics, clinical data analysis, imaging (the first imaging of a tumour in 3D using mass spectrometry - Chem. Sci. 2017), bioinformatics and machine learning.


I provide a lecture course to second year students on molecular informatics and a course in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery.


In 2016-17 I have given Lectures in the USA and several European countries. I was awarded a 2013-14 Novartis Chemistry lectureship, enabling five lectures worldwide.


The Centre for Molecular Informatics has four research groups, Glen, Goodman, Bender and Colwell with currently about forty research staff. Further information is available from Mrs. Susan Begg, the admistrative secretary of the Centre for Molecular Informatics.

Further Funding Information

We receive funding from most research councils, the EU, charities and companies. We thank them all and are very grateful to all our funders, particularly Unilever.


Target Fishing: A Single-Label or Multi-Label Problem?
AM Afzal, HY Mussa, RE Turner, A Bender, RC Glen
– arXiv
Analysis of Differential Efficacy and Affinity of GABA A (α1/α2) Selective Modulators
QU Ain, RM Owen, K Omoto, R Torella, KC Bulusu, DC Pryde, RC Glen, JE Fuchs, A Bender
– Molecular Pharmaceutics
Cardiac action of the first G protein biased small molecule apelin agonist.
C Read, CM Fitzpatrick, P Yang, RE Kuc, JJ Maguire, RC Glen, RE Foster, AP Davenport
– Biochemical pharmacology
Multiple-parameter Optimization in Drug Discovery: Example of the 5-HT1B GPCR.
RC Glen, WRJD Galloway, DR Spring, G Liwiki
– Mol Inform
11th German Conference on Chemoinformatics (GCC 2015) : Fulda, Germany. 8-10 November 2015.
U Fechner, C de Graaf, AE Torda, S Güssregen, A Evers, H Matter, G Hessler, NJ Richmond, P Schmidtke, MHS Segler, MP Waller, S Pleik, J-E Shea, Z Levine, R Mullen, K van den Broek, M Epple, H Kuhn, A Truszkowski, A Zielesny, JH Fraaije, RS Gracia, SM Kast, KC Bulusu, A Bender, A Yosipof, O Nahum, H Senderowitz, T Krotzky, R Schulz, G Wolber, S Bietz, M Rarey, MO Zimmermann, A Lange, M Ruff, J Heidrich, I Onlia, TE Exner, FM Boeckler, M Bermudez, DS Firaha, O Hollóczki, B Kirchner, CS Tautermann, A Volkamer, S Eid, S Turk, F Rippmann, S Fulle, N Saleh, G Saladino, FL Gervasio, E Haensele, L Banting, DC Whitley, JS-D Oliveira Santos, R Bureau, T Clark, A Sandmann, H Lanig, P Kibies, J Heil, F Hoffgaard, R Frach, J Engel, S Smith, D Basu, D Rauh, O Kohlbacher, FM Boeckler, JW Essex, MS Bodnarchuk, GA Ross, AR Finkelmann, AH Göller, G Schneider, T Husch, C Schütter, A Balducci, M Korth, F Ntie-Kang, S Günther, W Sippl, LM Mbaze, F Ntie-Kang, CV Simoben, LL Lifongo, F Ntie-Kang, P Judson, J Barilla, MV Lokajíček, H Pisaková, P Simr, N Kireeva, A Petrov, D Ostroumov, VP Solovev, VS Pervov, N-O Friedrich, K Sommer, M Rarey, J Kirchmair, E Proschak, J Weber, D Moser, L Kalinowski, J Achenbach, M Mackey, T Cheeseright, G Renner, G Renner, TC Schmidt, J Schram, M Egelkraut-Holtus, A van Oeyen, T Kalliokoski, D Fourches, A Ibezim, CJ Mbah, UM Adikwu, NJ Nwodo, A Steudle, BB Masek, S Nagy, D Baker, F Soltanshahi, R Dorfman, K Dubrucq, H Patel, O Koch, F Mrugalla, SM Kast, QU Ain, JE Fuchs, RM Owen, K Omoto, R Torella, DC Pryde, R Glen, A Bender, P Hošek, V Spiwok, LH Mervin, I Barrett, M Firth, DC Murray, L McWilliams, Q Cao, O Engkvist, D Warszycki, M Śmieja, AJ Bojarski, N Aniceto, A Freitas, T Ghafourian, G Herrmann, V Eigner-Pitto, A Naß, R Kurczab, AJ Bojarski, A Lange, MB Günther, S Hennig, FM Büttner, C Schall, A Sievers-Engler, F Ansideri, P Koch, T Stehle, S Laufer, FM Böckler, B Zdrazil, F Montanari, GF Ecker, C Grebner, A Hogner, J Ulander, K Edman, V Guallar, C Tyrchan, J Ulander, C Tyrchan, W Klute, F Bergström, C Kramer, QD Nguyen, R Frach, P Kibies, S Strohfeldt, S Böttcher, T Pongratz, D Horinek, SM Kast, B Rupp, R Al-Yamori, M Lisurek, R Kühne, F Furtado, K van den Broek, L Wessjohann, M Mathea, K Baumann, SZ Mohamad-Zobir, X Fu, T-P Fan, A Bender, MA Kuhn, CA Sotriffer, A Zoufir, X Li, L Mervin, E Berg, M Polokoff, WD Ihlenfeldt, WD Ihlenfeldt, J Pretzel, Z Alhalabi, R Fraczkiewicz, M Waldman, RD Clark, N Shaikh, P Garg, A Kos, H-J Himmler, A Sandmann, C Jardin, H Sticht, TB Steinbrecher, M Dahlgren, D Cappel, T Lin, L Wang, G Krilov, R Abel, R Friesner, W Sherman, IA Pöhner, J Panecka, RC Wade, S Bietz, KT Schomburg, M Hilbig, M Rarey, C Jäger, V Wieczorek, LM Westerhoff, OY Borbulevych, H-U Demuth, M Buchholz, D Schmidt, T Rickmeyer, T Krotzky, P Kolb, S Mittal, E Sánchez-García, MS Nogueira, TB Oliveira, FB da Costa, TJ Schmidt
– Journal of Cheminformatics
Improving the prediction of organism-level toxicity through integration of chemical, protein target and cytotoxicity qHTS data
CHG Allen, A Koutsoukas, I Cortés-Ciriano, DS Murrell, TE Malliavin, RC Glen, A Bender
– Toxicology research
A note on utilising binary features as ligand descriptors
HY Mussa, JBO Mitchell, RC Glen
– Journal of Cheminformatics
Molecular mechanism of a specific capsid binder resistance caused by mutations outside the binding pocket
H Braun, J Kirchmair, MJ Williamson, VA Makarov, OB Riabova, RC Glen, A Sauerbrei, M Schmidtke
– Antiviral research
Computational design and first-in-human studies of a biased (functionally selective) Apelin GPCR agonist
R Glen, A Davenport
Knowledge-based approach to the parameterization of small molecule force fields based on crystal structures
F Roessler, O Korb, R Glen, P Bond
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