Chris Abell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Chris Abell

Professor Christopher Abell FMedSci FRS.jpg
Chris Abell at the Royal Society admissions day in London, July 2016
Christopher Abell

(1957-11-11) 11 November 1957 (age 61)
EducationUniversity of Cambridge (BA, MA, PhD)
Known forAstex[1]
biosynthesis as targets for the rational design of antimicrobials; fragment-based approaches to enzyme inhibition; and biological nanotechnology
AwardsHickinbottom Award (1991)[citation needed]
Scientific career
FieldsBiological chemistry
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
Brown University
ThesisPolyketide biosynthesis (1982)
Doctoral advisorJames Staunton
Doctoral studentsShankar Balasubramanian[2]
Matthew H. Todd

Christopher Abell FRS FRSC FMedSci[3] (born 11 November 1957)[4] is a British biological chemist. As of 2016, he is Professor of Biological Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Cambridge and Todd-Hamied Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge.[5] On his 2016 election to the Royal Society, the society described his research as having "changed the face of drug discovery."[6]


Abell was educated at St John's College, Cambridge,[4] gaining an Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences in 1979 followed by PhD[7] on the topic of polyketide biosynthesis for research supervised by James Staunton in 1982.[8]

Career and research[edit]

Abell held a research fellowship in the laboratory of David E. Cane at Brown University, Providence, USA, studying terpene biosynthesis (1982–83).[4][8] In 1984, Abell joined the Department of Chemistry of the University of Cambridge, successively holding the positions of demonstrator, lecturer and reader in chemical biology, and becoming Professor in Biological Chemistry in 2002.[4][8] He has held visiting professorships at the Australian National University in Canberra, University of Santiago de Compostela, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, and the Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse.[4][8][9] He has been a fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge since 1986;[citation needed] and is the college's Todd-Hamied Fellow.[10] In 2013 he was appointed the first Director of Postdoctoral Affairs at the University of Cambridge,[11] and in 2016 was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research.

Abell has published over 200 papers.[4] His research interests include vitamin and amino acid biosynthesis as targets for the rational design of antimicrobials; fragment-based approaches to enzyme inhibition; bacterial and plant riboswitches; reactions in microdroplets;[12] and biological nanotechnology.[13] His former doctoral students include Shankar Balasubramanian.[2]

Commercial ventures[edit]

Abell is the co-founder of several companies. In 1999, he co-founded Astex Technology Ltd, which uses fragment-based drug discovery technology to discover cancer therapeutics.[4][9] In 2001, he co-founded Akubio, which developed biosensors for detecting bacteria and viruses; it was acquired by Inverness Medical Innovations in 2008.[14] In 2010, he co-founded Sphere Fluidics to develop microdroplet technology.[15] In 2012 he co-founded Aqdot, a company developing a new microencapsulation technology.[citation needed]


  • Ciulli, Alessio; Abell, Chris (2007). "Fragment-based approaches to enzyme inhibition". Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 18 (6): 489–496. doi:10.1016/j.copbio.2007.09.003. ISSN 0958-1669. PMC 4441723. PMID 17959370.
  • Blundell, Tom L.; Jhoti, Harren; Abell, Chris (2002). "High-throughput crystallography for lead discovery in drug design". Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 1 (1): 45–54. CiteSeerX doi:10.1038/nrd706. ISSN 1474-1784. PMID 12119609.
  • From Microdroplets to Microfluidics: Selective Emulsion Separation in Microfluidic Devices[12]
  • Huebner, A.; Srisa-Art, M.; Holt, D.; Abell, C.; Hollfelder, F.; deMello, A. J.; Edel, J. B. (2007). "Quantitative detection of protein expression in single cells using droplet microfluidics". Chemical Communications (12): 1218–20. doi:10.1039/b618570c. ISSN 1359-7345. PMID 17356761.
  • Kerbarh, Olivier; Ciulli, Alessio; Chirgadze, Dimitri Y.; Blundell, Tom L.; Abell, Chris (2007). "Nucleophile Selectivity of Chorismate-Utilizing Enzymes". ChemBioChem. 8 (6): 622–624. doi:10.1002/cbic.200700019. ISSN 1439-4227. PMID 17335098.
  • Howard, Nigel; Abell, Chris; Blakemore, Wendy; Chessari, Gianni; Congreve, Miles; Howard, Steven; Jhoti, Harren; Murray, Christopher W.; Seavers, Lisa C. A.; van Montfort, Rob L. M. (2006). "Application of Fragment Screening and Fragment Linking to the Discovery of Novel Thrombin Inhibitors†". Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 49 (4): 1346–1355. doi:10.1021/jm050850v. ISSN 0022-2623. PMID 16480269.
  • Bruckbauer, Andreas; Zhou, Dejian; Kang, Dae-Joon; Korchev, Yuri E.; Abell, Chris; Klenerman, David (2004). "An Addressable Antibody Nanoarray Produced on a Nanostructured Surface". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 126 (21): 6508–6509. doi:10.1021/ja0317426. ISSN 0002-7863. PMID 15161251.
  • Bulloch, Esther M. M.; Jones, Michelle A.; Parker, Emily J.; Osborne, Andrew P.; Stephens, Elaine; Davies, Gareth M.; Coggins, John R.; Abell, Chris (2004). "Identification of 4-Amino-4-deoxychorismate Synthase as the Molecular Target for the Antimicrobial Action of (6S)-6-Fluoroshikimate". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 126 (32): 9912–9913. doi:10.1021/ja048312f. ISSN 0002-7863. PMID 15303852.
  • Webb, Michael E.; Stephens, Elaine; Smith, Alison G.; Abell, Chris (2003). "Rapid screening by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to probe binding specificity at enzyme active sites". Chemical Communications (19): 2416. doi:10.1039/b308182f. ISSN 1359-7345.
  • Cooper, Matthew A.; Dultsev, Fedor N.; Minson, Tony; Ostanin, Victor P.; Abell, Chris; Klenerman, David (2001). "Direct and sensitive detection of a human virus by rupture event scanning". Nature Biotechnology. 19 (9): 833–837. doi:10.1038/nbt0901-833. ISSN 1087-0156. PMID 11533641.
  • Albert, Armando; Dhanaraj, Venugopal; Genschel, Ulrich; Khan, Ghalib; Ramjee, Manoj K.; Pulido, Rosaline; Sibanda, B. Lynn; Delft, Frank von; Witty, Michael; Blundell, Tom L.; Smith, Alison G.; Abell, Chris (1998). "Crystal structure of aspartate decarboxylase at 2.2 Å resolution provides evidence for an ester in protein self–processing". Nature Structural Biology. 5 (4): 289–293. doi:10.1038/nsb0498-289. ISSN 1072-8368.
  • Mahapatro, Mrinal; Gibson, Christopher; Abell, Chris; Rayment, Trevor (2003). "Chiral discrimination of basic and hydrophobic molecules by chemical force spectroscopy". Ultramicroscopy. 97 (1–4): 297–301. doi:10.1016/S0304-3991(03)00055-X. ISSN 0304-3991. PMID 12801683.

Awards and honours[edit]

His awards include a Research Fellowship at King's College, Cambridge,[when?] the Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) Prize in Organic Chemistry in 1992,[citation needed] the Hickinbottom Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry,[citation needed] and a Yamada Science Foundation Award.[4][8] In 2008 he was the MIT Novartis Lecturer, and in 2011 was a BIC International Fellow at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.[16] He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2012[17] and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2016.[18]


  1. ^ "Christopher ABELL - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)".
  2. ^ a b Balasubramanian, Shankar (1991). Studies on the reaction mechanism of chorismate synthase. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 60112382. EThOS
  3. ^ "Fellows (FRSC)". The Times. 27 October 2015. p. 57.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Abell, Prof Christopher. In Debrett's People of Today 2012 (accessed 15 January 2012) (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Scientific Advisory Board". 7 April 2013.
  6. ^ 50 leading scientists elected as Fellows of Royal Society, 29 April 2016, retrieved 2 September 2016
  7. ^ Abell, Christopher (1982). Polyketide biosynthesis. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 59312458. EThOS
  8. ^ a b c d e "Abell Group Home Page: Curriculum vitae: Professor Christopher Abell". Archived from the original on 25 September 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) (accessed 15 January 2013)
  9. ^ a b Astex Therapeutics: Scientific Advisors and Clinical Consultants (accessed 5 January 2009)
  10. ^ Christ's College, University of Cambridge: The Fellows of Christ's College Archived 5 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 7 January 2013)
  11. ^ University of Cambridge: New senior post to support post-doc community (accessed 28 November 2013)
  12. ^ a b Theberge, Ashleigh B.; Courtois, Fabienne; Schaerli, Yolanda; Fischlechner, Martin; Abell, Chris; Hollfelder, Florian; Huck, Wilhelm T. S. (2010). "Microdroplets in Microfluidics: An Evolving Platform for Discoveries in Chemistry and Biology" (PDF). Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 49 (34): 5846–5868. doi:10.1002/anie.200906653. ISSN 1433-7851. PMID 18264960.
  13. ^ University of Cambridge: Department of Chemistry: Professor Chris Abell (accessed 5 January 2009)
  14. ^ Vargas L. Recycled Cambridge biosensor technology attracts millions in investment Business Weekly (27 August 2008) (accessed 5 January 2009)
  15. ^ Sphere Fluidics: 2010 News Archived 18 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 7 January 2013)
  16. ^ International Fellows, University of Canterbury – Christchurch. Retrieved 3 December 2013
  17. ^ The Academy of Medical Sciences: Fellows: Newly elected fellows (accessed 7 January 2013)
  18. ^ "Professor Christopher Abell Biography". Royal Society. Retrieved 1 May 2016.