Yr Athro Nigel Richards

Professor Nigel Richards

Professor of Biological Chemistry

School of Chemistry

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

The Richards laboratory studies the relationship between the structure and function of enzymes that either catalyze chemically interesting reactions or are potential targets for the development of drugs against cancer or tuberculosis. In addition, several projects aimed at creating new tools for synthetic biology are underway, with an emphasis on enzymes that can manipulate DNA and RNA containing expanded genetic alphabets both in vitro and in live cells. Our work relies on an interdisciplinary approach at the interface of chemistry, physical organic chemistry, biophysics, biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology and medicinal chemistry and involves a wide range of techniques. For more information, click on the 'Research' tab above.

B.Sc. (Hons.), Imperial College, University of London (1980), PhD Cambridge University (1980-83).

Commonwealth Foundation (Harkness) Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Columbia University, New York (1983-1985), University Lecturer Department of Chemistry, University of Southampton  (1985-1990), Assistant Professor in Chemistry, University of Florida (1990-1996), Associate Professor in Chemistry, University of Florida (1996-2003), Full Professor in Chemistry, University of Florida (2003-2012), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010), Full Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (2012-2015). Since 2015: Professor of Biological Chemistry, Cardiff School of Chemistry.

CH2317 Chemical Biology III: Biosynthetic Approach to Natural Products

CHT214 Biocatalysis I: Modern Approaches to Biocatalysts

The Richards laboratory studies the relationship between the structure and function of enzymes that either catalyze chemically interesting reactions or are potential targets for the development of drugs against cancer or tuberculosis. In addition, several projects aimed at creating new tools for synthetic biology are underway, with an emphasis on enzymes that can manipulate DNA and RNA containing expanded genetic alphabets both in vitro and in live cells. Our work relies on an interdisciplinary approach at the interface of chemistry, physical organic chemistry, biophysics, biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology and medicinal chemistry and involves a wide range of techniques. The main research themes are:

Computational Biology

Our group uses computational methods in order to complement experimental studies into enzyme catalysis and evolution, synthetic biology and medicinal chemistry. Advanced quantum mechanical (QM) methods, including coupled-cluster, DFT and QM/MM calculations, are used to model the structure and electronic properties of a variety of systems, including novel nucleobases used in expanded genetic alphabets, enzyme reaction mechanisms and transition state structures, and how protein environments modulate transition metal reactivity. We also force field-based classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and enhanced sampling methods to explore the dynamical properties of DNA and RNA molecules containing non-standard nucleobases, and the free energy of interaction in enzyme/inhibitor and protein/nucleic acid complexes.

Fundamental Studies of Enzyme Catalysis and Enzyme Evolution

The molecular basis by which enzymes, particularly those that are transition metal-dependent, catalyze chemically unusual transformations are studied in a multi-disciplinary approach. The goal of current projects is to examine how metals generate substrate-based radicals, which can then undergo reactions for which there is no organic chemical precedent.

Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology capitalizes on advances in genomics and proteomics and new insights from chemical and physical studies into the molecular mechanisms by which biological molecules perform their cellular function. Our projects aim to understand the structure and properties of DNA and RNA containing additional nucleobases, and to develop novel reagents (endonucleases and polymerases) by which non-standard nucleobases can be manipulated. In addition, we are involved in reengineering several enzymes in order to obtain variants that can be introduced into cells and used for the synthesis of important chemicals and synthetic intermediates.

Medicinal Chemistry/Synthesis.

Small molecule chemistry together with mechanistic studies of enzymes for the development of selective inhibitors that can be used to treat (i) sarcoma and breast cancer, and (ii) bacterial infections, with a particular emphasis on Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the causative agent of tuberculosis).