Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery (BCDD)

a multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative research division, encompassing both fundamental research and translational research.

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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.

Mode of Action group

The principal goal of the group is to define the specific molecular targets of compounds that are active against Kinetoplastid parasites.

Please get in touch with us if you have a phenotypically active compound and would like to investigate its mode of action.

Find out more about the Mode of Action group

Head of Division

Deputy Head of Division

Academic staff



Key contacts

Name Role Email
Shona McInroy Lab Manager
Jamie Curran Lab Manager
Susan Ross Senior Technical Support
Kirstie Hughes PA to Prof Ian Gilbert
Diane Purves PA to Prof Alessio Ciulli
Debbie Tarver PA to Prof Sir Mike Ferguson & DDU Director
Deborah Moorjani Secretary
Professor David Gray Public Engagement Champion
Scott Hendry Senior Technical Support
Cavan Short Lab Management Support Technician
Euan Waugh Lab Management Support Technician
Margo Petrie Senior Division Secretary


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