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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

Chem-map profiles drug binding to chromatin in cells.
Z Yu, J Spiegel, L Melidis, WWI Hui, X Zhang, A Radzevičius, S Balasubramanian
– Nature Biotechnology
(2023)
DNA G‑Quadruplex Recognition In Vitro and in Live Cells by a Structure-Specific Nanobody
S Galli, L Melidis, SM Flynn, D Varshney, A Simeone, J Spiegel, SK Madden, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
(2022)
144,
23096
Identification of putative reader proteins of 5-methylcytosine and its derivatives in Caenorhabditis elegans RNA
IC Navarro, KM Suen, D Bensaddek, A Tanpure, A Lamond, S Balasubramanian, EA Miska
– Wellcome Open Research
(2022)
7,
282
Self-organization of plasticity and specialization in a primitively social insect
S Patalano, A Alsina, C Gregorio-Rodríguez, M Bachman, S Dreier, I Hernando-Herraez, P Nana, S Balasubramanian, S Sumner, W Reik, S Rulands
– Cell Syst
(2022)
13,
768
Early detection of cancer
D Crosby, S Bhatia, KM Brindle, LM Coussens, C Dive, M Emberton, S Esener, RC Fitzgerald, SS Gambhir, P Kuhn, TR Rebbeck, S Balasubramanian
– Science (New York, N.Y.)
(2022)
375,
eaay9040
Single-cell mapping of DNA G-quadruplex structures in human cancer cells (vol 11, 23641, 2021)
WWI Hui, A Simeone, KG Zyner, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– Scientific Reports
(2022)
12,
908
G-quadruplex DNA structures in human stem cells and differentiation
KG Zyner, A Simeone, SM Flynn, C Doyle, G Marsico, S Adhikari, G Portella, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– Nature Communications
(2022)
13,
142
G-quadruplex DNA structures in human stem cells and differentiation
KG Zyner, A Simeone, SM Flynn, C Doyle, G Marsico, S Adhikari, G Portella, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– Nature communications
(2022)
13,
142
Three-dimensional imaging mass cytometry for highly multiplexed molecular and cellular mapping of tissues and the tumor microenvironment.
L Kuett, R Catena, A Özcan, A Plüss, HR Ali, MA Sa’d, S Alon, S Aparicio, G Battistoni, S Balasubramanian, R Becker, B Bodenmiller, ES Boyden, D Bressan, A Bruna, M Burger, C Caldas, M Callari, IG Cannell, H Casbolt, N Chornay, Y Cui, A Dariush, K Dinh, A Emenari, Y Eyal-Lubling, J Fan, A Fatemi, E Fisher, EA González-Solares, C González-Fernández, D Goodwin, W Greenwood, F Grimaldi, GJ Hannon, S Harris, C Jauset, JA Joyce, ED Karagiannis, T Kovačević, R Kunes, AK Yoldaş, D Lai, E Laks, H Lee, M Lee, G Lerda, Y Li, A McPherson, N Millar, CM Mulvey, I Nugent, CH O’Flanagan, M Paez-Ribes, I Pearsall, F Qosaj, AJ Roth, OM Rueda, T Ruiz, K Sawicka, LA Sepúlveda, SP Shah, A Shea, A Sinha, A Smith, S Tavaré, S Tietscher, I Vázquez-García, SL Vogl, NA Walton, AT Wassie, SS Watson, J Weselak, SA Wild, E Williams, J Windhager, C Xia, P Zheng, X Zhuang, P Schraml, H Moch, N de Souza, B Bodenmiller
– Nat Cancer
(2021)
3,
1
Single-cell mapping of DNA G-quadruplex structures in human cancer cells
WWI Hui, A Simeone, KG Zyner, D Tannahill, S Balasubramanian
– Scientific reports
(2021)
11,
23641
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336347

Email address

sb10031@cam.ac.uk