Research in the Department of Chemistry draws on the interface between physical and life sciences to explore new chemistry frontiers and deliver fundamental solutions for a sustainable and healthy society. We are known for our work on the chemistry of life and have growing expertise in chemical biotechnology and green chemistry.
The research excellence and vibrancy of Chemistry at King’s was reflected in our 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results, which saw the subject ranked 5th on Grade Point Average, with 98 % of research assessed as internationally excellent and 63 % as world-leading 4*. Research impact received the highest 4* rating across the board.
These results illustrate the strength and breadth of Chemistry across King’s and the impact of our research on addressing societal and health challenges, including the outstanding translational activities of King’s Health Partners. We are expanding our efforts to collaborate with industry including through a spin-out on novel peptide cancer treatment and partnering with a start-up on quantum computing for drug development. Find out more about collaborating with the Department.
Our research falls into three themes:
The chemistry of life – chemistry for a healthy society
A goal of our chemistry of life research is to usher in a new era of functional biology by moving from a descriptive picture of life sciences to a quantitative understanding using chemical principles.
Our research in chemistry is informed by our understanding of biology. We take a whole-scale view to understand how molecules work together to generate cellular life, combining chemical and synthetic biology with biophysical, computational and synthetic chemistry.
Biotechnology traditionally harnesses biological processes in the development of new technologies and products. The department is ideally placed to introduce a chemical angle to significantly broaden the reaction space.
We aim to address key challenges around the behaviour of biomolecules at interfaces with synthetic materials. Bio-inspired chemical systems also present innovative routes to new molecules that are critical to tackle societal challenges via routes such as super-charged biocatalysts that can breakdown plastics or quantify pollutants.
Chemistry for a sustainable society
We are exploring clean sustainable energy, capitalising on our expertise with organic, polymer and materials science.
An objective is to develop materials and devices which can convert waste products into useful energy and combine useful electronic properties without the need for rare, hard-to-come-by resources.
Our knowledge of biological systems gives us a manifest advantage in green chemistry and adapting reactions to interface with the environment towards sustainable, clean and adaptative technologies.
Working with others
We are actively engaged with the Frances Crick Institute through our King’s Chemistry at the Crick (KemCrick) programme.
Together with the Physics Department Biological Physics and Soft Matter Group, we lead the Centre for the Physical Science of Life.
We also collaborate widely with King’s Division of Cancer Studies on cancer stem cells and strong connections with King’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Science as well as biotech and Pharma, to develop therapeutic opportunities arising from our research.
The integration of Chemistry in biomedical research at King’s is broader than the direct involvement of the Chemistry Department. Chemists, directly embedded in Department of Imaging Chemistry and Biology, in both drug discovery and delivery in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, in Nutrition, in the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics and in the Dental Institute, expand our opportunities for research and teaching.
KemCrick - King's Chemistry at the Crick
We are keen participants of the King’s-Crick partnership with joint PhD students and several staff working at the Frances Crick Institute:
King's-Crick group leaders in Physical Science
Lecturer in Chemistry
Lecturer in Chemistry
Group leader (Satellite Laboratory)
Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Biophysics
Group leaders (Programmatic Satellite Laboratory)