Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Head of Department of Chemistry



+44 (0)20 7594 5876a.armstrong




Ms Maria Tortelli +44 (0)20 7594 9286




238ChemistrySouth Kensington Campus





The core expertise of the Armstrong group is synthetic organic chemistry: this includes catalysis, especially organocatalysis, stereocontrolled synthesis, and the synthesis of biologically active compounds.  We apply our skills to the determination of catalytic reaction mechanisms, using in situ reaction monitoring, kinetics and modelling, and to the interface with biology, including protein-ligand engineering, synthesis of molecular probes and new methods for drug discovery. 

Biographical details: Alan Armstrong obtained his BSc in Chemistry (1987) from Imperial College London. He stayed on at Imperial College to carry out work on the total synthesis of the milbemycin and avermectin natural products under the supervision of Professor Steve Ley FRS, obtaining his PhD in 1990. From 1990 to 1992 he was an SERC/NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University, New York, working with Professor Clark Still on the design and synthesis of novel podand ionophores for enantioselective cation binding.  In September 1992, he returned to the UK to take up a Lectureship in Organic Chemistry at the University of Bath, moving on to the University of Nottingham in January 1996. He returned to the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College in September 1999 as Reader in Organic Synthesis and was promoted to Professor in October 2004. He is the recipient of the Royal Society of Chemistry Meldola Medal and Prize for 1995 (1996); a GlaxoWellcome Award for Innovative Organic Chemistry (1996); a Pfizer Academic Award (1999); an AstraZeneca Research Award (1999); the Novartis Young Investigator Award (1999); a Bristol-Myers Squibb Young Investigator Award (2000-2003); the Royal Society of Chemistry Corday-Morgan Medal and Prize for 2002 (2003); and a Novartis Lectureship (2008-2009). From 2011-2015, he held a Royal Society Industry Fellowship with Pfizer Neusentis, aimed at developing new synthetic chemical biology tools to aid drug discovery.  He has been recognised for Excellence in Teaching with the Imperial College Rector's Award (2011) and President's Award (2015).  In 2016, he graduated with an Executive MBA from Imperial College Business School.  



Craven G, Affron D, Allen C, et al., 2018, High-Throughput Kinetic Analysis for Target-Directed Covalent Ligand Discovery., Angew Chem Int Ed Engl

Armstrong A, Ces O, Compte RV, 2017, All aboard for chemistry, Chemistry & Industry, Vol:81, ISSN:0009-3068, Pages:14-15

Sung S, Sale D, Braddock DC, et al., 2016, Mechanistic Studies on the Copper-Catalyzed N-Arylation of Alkylamines Promoted by Organic Soluble Ionic Bases, Acs Catalysis, Vol:6, ISSN:2155-5435, Pages:3965-3974

Alguel Y, Amillis S, Leung J, et al., 2016, Structure of eukaryotic purine/H+ symporter UapA suggests a role for homodimerization in transport activity, Nature Communications, Vol:7, ISSN:2041-1723

Bures J, Armstrong A, Blackmond DG, 2016, Explaining Anomalies in Enamine Catalysis: "Downstream Species" as a New Paradigm for Stereocontrol, Accounts of Chemical Research, Vol:49, ISSN:0001-4842, Pages:214-222

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