Chemical Biology is the development and application of molecular tools and techniques for biological and biomedical understanding, and industrial/clinical benefit. These include protein-nucleic acid, lipid-drug, lipid-nucleic acid & protein-protein interactions. Despite their importance as biological intervention targets, their exploitation is hampered by:

  • large contact surface areas
  • lack of identifiable binding pockets
  • low binding partner concentrations
  • multiple interaction times & length-scales
  • limited understanding of how interactions generate higher order functions.

The development of quantitative molecular technologies coupled with automation and robotics able to address these bottlenecks is vital to generating the quantity, quality and type of curated datasets needed for predictive modelling, exploitation by Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning approaches and industrial, commercial and medical deployment. From enabling biomedical research by unlocking mechanisms of disease, to stimulating agrochemical design, chemical biology is pivotal in reducing product and healthcare costs.

For more than 20 years the Institute of Chemical Biology Centre for Doctoral Training has been recognised as a flagship PhD training centre and established Imperial as a world leader in Chemical Biology training and research.

Our bold new vision, developed with over 100 partners, redefines what should be expected from a CDT. It will be the first to fuse PhD & Postdoctoral (PDRA) training through a 5-year venture: 1-year MRes + 3-year PhD + 1 year ELEVATE PDRA Fellowship. Our programme will enable our students to work across the physical/mathematical-life science and human-machine interfaces. This will address the need for career ready PhD & PDRA graduates able to embrace the Lab of the Future concept, at the heart of our remit.

Emerging molecular technologies, dovetailed with industry 4.0 breakthroughs in robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning will revolutionise the state of the art for making, measuring, modelling and manipulating molecular interactions in biological systems, leading to novel R&D workflows. These will unlock rapid design-test cycles with the advances and biological insight generated being exploitable in industrial and medical applications, tackling societal challenges. 

Addressing a civic priority, the CDT talent and technology portfolios will play a key role as the engine for one of Europe’s fastest expanding Life-Science districts, the 100-acre White City Innovation District. Through a series of strategic partnerships with Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the NHS, The NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre and key figures from venture capital, tech-accelerators and local developers, the CDT will drive stakeholder engagement and be integrated into regional development. This will be supported by one of the largest Chemical Biology communities in the world through the internationally leading Institute of Chemical Biology (>165 research groups) and strategic partners, foremost in therapeutics, agri-science, personal-care, bio/med-tech, Government facilities, alongside an SME business club and additional organisations, for example the BBC.

Within this ecosystem, students will develop molecular technologies, integrated with Lab of the Future platforms to tackle biological/clinical challenges. Tech transfer and clinical trial specialists will support all projects to aid translation of CDT breakthroughs.

Our programme with EDI, student empowerment and cohort formation at its core, fuses blue skies and translational research with professional skills courses and workplace training. Students will emerge with a knowledge of molecular technologies, sustainable product development, lean innovation and early-stage commercialisation. Our multi-disciplinary supervision model comprises a 1-year MRes + 3-year PhD and optional 1 year ELEVATE Fellowship, where graduates will benefit from a 2-month module including leadership training followed by 10 month in-work placements.