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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

 
Portrait of sb10031
Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Nucleic acids are fundamental to life. Our research is focused on the chemical biology of nucleic acids, and employs the principles of chemistry and the molecular sciences to address questions of importance in biology and medicine. Projects are inherently interdisciplinary and will provide scope for a diversity of intellectual and experimental approaches that include: organic synthesis, biophysics, molecular and cellular biology and genomics. Our scientific goals are problem-driven, which constantly raises the need to invent new methodology.

 

A major interest is to elucidate and manipulate mechanisms that control the expression of genes (either transcription, or translation). We are particularly interested in the role of non-canonical nucleic acid structures that control gene expression (e.g. G-quadruplexes, micro RNA and RNA structures in the 5' untranslated regions of mRNAs). Our goal is to design and synthesise small organic molecules that target such structures and alter the expression of certain genes of interest. Such small molecule gene regulators are valuable tools to study mechanisms in biology and will also open up new approaches for therapeutics and molecular medicine, particularly for diseases characterized by aberrant expression of certain genes (e.g. various cancers).

Our fundamental science will inevitably create opportunities for translation and commercialisation. One such example was our invention (with Professor David Klenerman) of new DNA sequencing technology ("Solexa sequencing") that was commercialised as a Cambridge University spinout company (now part of Illumina Inc.) and is used routinely for applications in genomics, including human genome sequencing. 

Hear Shankar Balasubramanian discuss some of the group's research.

Watch Professor Balasubramanian discuss his research

Take a tour of the Balasubramanian Lab

Publications

RNA G-quadruplex structures control ribosomal protein production
D Varshney, SM Cuesta, B Herdy, UB Abdullah, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– Scientific Reports
(2021)
11,
22735
Chemical profiling of DNA G-quadruplex-interacting proteins in live cells
S Balasubramanian, X Zhang, J Spiegel, S Adhikari, S Martinez Cuesta
– Nature Chemistry
(2021)
13,
626
Reduced Bisulfite Sequencing: Quantitative Base-Resolution Sequencing of 5-Formylcytosine.
MJ Booth, S Balasubramanian
– Methods Mol Biol
(2021)
2272,
3
Promoter G-quadruplex folding precedes transcription and is controlled by chromatin.
J Shen, D Varshney, A Simeone, X Zhang, S Adhikari, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– Genome Biol
(2021)
22,
143
G-quadruplexes are transcription factor binding hubs in human chromatin
J Spiegel, SM Cuesta, S Adhikari, R Hänsel-Hertsch, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– Genome Biology
(2021)
22,
117
Landscapes of cellular phenotypic diversity in breast cancer xenografts and their impact on drug response
D Georgopoulou, M Callari, OM Rueda, A Shea, A Martin, A Giovannetti, F Qosaj, A Dariush, S-F Chin, LS Carnevalli, E Provenzano, W Greenwood, G Lerda, E Esmaeilishirazifard, M O'Reilly, V Serra, D Bressan, IMAXT Consortium, GB Mills, HR Ali, SS Cosulich, GJ Hannon, A Bruna, C Caldas
– Nature communications
(2021)
12,
1998
TET2 is a component of the estrogen receptor complex and controls 5mC to 5hmC conversion at estrogen receptor cis-regulatory regions
R Broome, I Chernukhin, S Jamieson, K Kishore, EK Papachristou, S-Q Mao, CG Tejedo, A Mahtey, V Theodorou, AJ Groen, C D'Santos, S Balasubramanian, AM Farcas, R Siersbæk, JS Carroll
– Cell Rep
(2021)
34,
108776
Selective Chemical Functionalization at N6‑Methyladenosine Residues in DNA Enabled by Visible-Light-Mediated Photoredox Catalysis
M Nappi, A Hofer, S Balasubramanian, MJ Gaunt
– J Am Chem Soc
(2020)
142,
21484
Natural, modified DNA bases.
MK Bilyard, S Becker, S Balasubramanian
– Current Opinion in Chemical Biology
(2020)
57,
1
Single-molecule visualization of DNA G-quadruplex formation in live cells
M Di Antonio, A Ponjavic, A Radzevičius, RT Ranasinghe, M Catalano, X Zhang, J Shen, L-M Needham, SF Lee, D Klenerman, S Balasubramanian
– Nat Chem
(2020)
12,
832
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336347

Email address

sb10031@cam.ac.uk