Imperial College London

Dr James A Bull

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 5811j.bull Website




313Royal College of ScienceSouth Kensington Campus





Dr James A Bull is a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry.

Dr Bull’s research focuses on the development of efficient synthetic and catalytic methods to access novel structural motifs and heterocycles of interest in drug discovery.

Group Webpages

For further details of the Bull group, see:

Biographical details

James Bull graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2001 with a First Class Honours MSci degree in Natural Sciences, Chemistry and the Raphael Prize for Organic Chemistry. He then spent a year working at GlaxoSmithKline Stevenage as a Research Scientist in the Medicinal Chemistry Department.

He returned to Cambridge in 2003 to undertake PhD research with Professor Steven V Ley. He completed the total synthesis of bisoxazole antifungal natural product bengazole A and analogues.

In 2007 he joined the group of Professor André B. Charette as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Université de Montréal, Canada. Here he developed an intramolecular Simmons-Smith cyclopropanation reaction.

In 2009 he began independent research at Imperial College London as a Ramsay Memorial Research Fellow (2009-2011), working in the laboratories of Professor Alan Armstrong. From 2011 to 2015 Dr Bull held an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship on "Novel strategies to access chiral heterocycles as potential lead compounds in drug discovery". In January 2016 Dr Bull started a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

PhD Position Available 

Preparation and Reactions of Diazo Compounds in Flow to Avoid Isolation of Unstable Reagents

Applications are sought from exceptional candidates for a fully funded 3-year PhD studentship in continuous flow synthesis, starting October 2017. The project will jointly supervised by Dr Jason Hallett (Chemical Engineering), Dr James Bull and Dr Philip Miller (Chemistry). The studentship is supported by Pharamcat and is co-funded by GSK and Imperial College London.  

This project will develop reliable and efficient continuous flow processes for the synthesis and reactions of diazo compounds, with scalability and safety as key considerations. The project will provide excellent training in synthesis, flow chemistry, and reactor development.

Details of the formal application process can be found here: APPLY

Group News

For more Bull group news, see:

May 2017: Our paper on the use of transient directing groups for C-H arylation of tertiary alkyl aldehydes is out in Chem. Sci. 

January 2017: Our work on the synthesis of NH-sulfoximines through chemoselective N and O transfer is out now in Chem. Commun.

October 2016: Rosie's work in collaboration with Pfizer on the catalytic synthesis of 3,3-diaryloxetanes is out now in Chem. Eur. J. as a "Hot paper".

September 2016: Our Chemical Reviews paper all about oxetanes is online. 

Congratulations to Dr Davis and to Dr Affron who both pass their PhD vivas.

May 2016: Our work on the synthesis of sulfoximines is out online in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (Open Access). [Video of the protocol]

April 2016: Rosie and Stephen both win prizes for presenting their work. 

January 2016: James starts a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

December 2015: James receives the Eli Lilly OIDD Award for Outstanding Contribution to Compound Screening

December 2015: James receives the Thieme Chemistry Journal Award 2016

For more Bull group news, see:

Also see: @jamesabull



Kuimova MK, Kubankova M, Lopez Duarte, et al., Probing supramolecular protein assembly using covalently attached fluorescent molecular rotors, Biomaterials, ISSN:1878-5905

Sherin PS, Lopez-Duarte I, Dent MR, et al., 2017, Visualising the membrane viscosity of porcine eye lens cells using molecular rotors, Chemical Science, Vol:8, ISSN:2041-6520, Pages:3523-3528

Shimolina LE, Izquierdo MA, López-Duarte I, et al., 2017, Imaging tumor microscopic viscosity in vivo using molecular rotors, Scientific Reports, Vol:7

St John-Campbell S, White AJP, Bull JA, 2017, Single operation palladium catalysed C(sp 3 )–H functionalisation of tertiary aldehydes: investigations into transient imine directing groups, Chem. Sci., ISSN:2041-6520

Tota A, Zenzola M, Chawner SJ, et al., 2017, Synthesis of NH-sulfoximines from sulfides by chemoselective one-pot N- and O-transfers, Chemical Communications, Vol:53, ISSN:1359-7345, Pages:348-351

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