University of Dundee

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery

The Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery (BCDD) is a multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative research division, encompassing both fundamental research and translational research. Some of the activities are as follows:

We have a large team working on the kinetoplastid parasites, where we are working to unravel their basic biology, understand phenomena such as antigenic variation, validate new drug targets, establish the mode of action of new and experimental drugs and elucidate mechanisms of drug resistance.

We have strengths in bioinformatics and chemoinformatics, where we are seeking to mine the ever-increasing amounts of data to understand basic biology and design potential new therapeutic agents.

We utilise a variety of biophysical methods to discover new ligands for proteins and to characterise their interactions. Structural biology techniques are also used to characterize proteins and understand the molecular basis of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions.

To facilitate translational research, we have established the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), which is an integrated multidisciplinary team that works to translate basic science into drug leads and drug candidates. The DDU has expertise in high throughput screening, molecular pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, drug metabolism & pharmacokinetics, computational chemistry and biophysical methods, much of it gained within the BioPharma industry. The focus of the DDU’s work is in two main areas. For diseases of the developing world, we are seeking to develop safe and affordable medicines for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and the kinetoplastid diseases. Secondly, our innovative targets programme seeks to translate emerging high impact biology into potential drug discovery programmes for diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease.

BCDD Protein Production Team

PPT is a team of expert scientists, dedicated to the production of quality protein for translational research. We provide a complete service, from construct design to purified product. Using three different expression systems, E.coli, Pichia pastoris and Baculovirus, we express both intracellular and secreted proteins.

For further information contact the BCDD Protein Production Team.

Principal Investigators

Dr Alessio Ciulli
Reader in Chemical and Structural Biology
Chemical and Structural Biology of Protein-Protein Interactions
Professor Alan Fairlamb CBE, FLS, FRSE, FMedSci, FSB
Professor of Biochemistry and Wellcome Principal Research Fellow
Biochemical Drug Targets in Parasites
Professor Mike Ferguson CBE FRS FRSE FMedSci
Regius Professor and Associate Dean for Research Strategy
Molecular parasitology, glycobiology and drug discovery
Professor Mark Field
Professor of Cell Biology and Parasitology
Molecular parasitology, intracellular transport, gene expression, eukaryotic evolution
Professor Ian Gilbert FRSC
Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Head of the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Design and synthesis of potential therapeutic agents
Dr David Gray
Head of Biology
Molecular Pharmacology and Compound Screening
Professor Andrew Hopkins FRSC
Chair of Medicinal Informatics and SULSA Research Professor of Translational Biology
Chemoinformatics, chemogenomics and drug discovery
Professor David Horn
Professor of Parasite Molecular Biology
Antigenic variation, drug resistance and RNAi screens in trypanosomes
Professor Bill Hunter FRSE, FMedSci, FRSC
Professor of Structural Biology
Protein structure and function; fundamental chemical biology and early stage antimicrobial drug discovery
Professor Irwin McLean FRS FRSE FMedSci
Professor of Human Genetics
Dermatology and Genetic Medicine - treating genetic disease
Dr Kevin Read
Head of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics
Drug discovery, lead optimisation and preclinical development
Professor Paul Wyatt FRSE
Professor of Drug Discovery and Head of the Drug Discovery Unit
The discovery of therapeutics for neglected diseases and the translation of novel biology through small molecule drug discovery

Associate Principal Investigators

Professor Van Steensel
Clinical Professor of Genetic Dermatology
Genetic dermatology - from the clinical identification of novel disorders to ciliary biology