Imperial College London

Imperial strengthens expertise in computational chemistry and drug discovery

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Dr Kim Jelfs and Dr James Bull

Dr Kim Jelfs and Dr James Bull

Royal Society University Research Fellows, Dr Kim Jelfs and Dr James Bull will be part of the Department of Chemistry in White City.

As Royal Society University Research Fellows, Dr Kim Jelfs and Dr James A Bull have already been identified as exceptional scientists with the potential to become leaders in their field.

The Department is thrilled they have chosen to develop their careers at Imperial, and looks forward to seeing what will emerge from their labs.

Introducing Dr Kim Jelfs…

Dr Kim Jelfs

Dr Kim Jelfs

 

Just as an architect’s sketch is the first step to constructing a building, our work could one day allow for the computational design of new materials to become a reliable precursor to synthesis in the laboratory.

– Dr Kim Jelfs

Royal Society University Research Fellow

Dr Kim Jelfs graduated from University College London (UCL) with a First Class Honours MSci degree in Chemistry. She then obtained her PhD in Chemistry via the Royal Institution of Great Britain at UCL.

From November 2009 until March 2010, Kim was a research visitor at the Universitat de Barcelona, where she conducted research with Professor Stefan Bromley. She then joined the University of Liverpool as a post-doctoral research associate before coming to Imperial in 2013. “‘I was attracted by the strength of Imperial’s research portfolio and the potential for collaboration” she says.

Kim’s research field is computational materials discovery, particularly in the area of molecular materials. As she explains: “We would like to design systems by deducing their properties from a simple chemical sketch or idea. However, when we simply draw a molecule, we do not know what properties it will have or how it will assemble - and in many cases we can’t be confident that it can be synthesised at all.”

Kim and her team are busy developing computer programs to design these systems, which could one day enable the automated discovery of a range of molecular materials. “Just as an architect’s sketch is the first step to constructing a building, our work could one day allow for the computational design of new materials to become a reliable precursor to synthesis in the laboratory”.

Introducing Dr James A Bull…

Dr James A Bull

Dr James A Bull

James is one of today’s brightest young stars in UK synthetic organic chemistry. We are delighted to have him in the Department.

– Professor Alan Armstrong

Head of the Department of Chemistry

James 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 before returning to Cambridge to obtain his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Steven Ley.

In 2007, James joined the group of Professor André B Charette as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Université de Montréal, Canada. Since arriving at Imperial in 2009 as a Ramsay Fellow and then becoming an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship holder, James’s independent research career has truly flourished. He has now completed a well-deserved ‘full set’ of prestigious Fellowship awards by winning a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, which began in January 2016.

“James is one of today’s brightest young stars in UK synthetic organic chemistry” says Head of Department Professor Alan Armstrong. “We are delighted to have him in the Department.”

The new chemistry James is developing has provided access to several highly novel ‘fragment’ building blocks with enormous potential in drug discovery.

– Professor Alan Armstrong

Head of the Department of Chemistry

James describes his research as “targeting heterocyclic compounds, often crucial components of drug compounds. We develop methods for the synthesis and divergent functionalisation of new heterocyclic motifs, aiming to provide new strategies and design elements for medicinal chemists to exploit in drug discovery efforts.” He collaborates very effectively with several drug companies; indeed, the potential of his work was recently recognised by an Open Innovation Drug Discovery Award by the pharmaceutical company Lilly. Professor Alan Armstrong explains: “The new chemistry James is developing has provided access to several highly novel ‘fragment’ building blocks with enormous potential in drug discovery”.

As well as his research achievements, James has made excellent contributions to teaching in the Department, delivering highly-rated lecture courses and workshops, and providing outstanding training and mentorship to his PhD students, who have won several national awards for their poster and oral presentations.

Imperial’s commitment to early career researchers

Imperial is determined to attract the brightest young researchers and to see them thrive, and offers Imperial Junior Research Fellowships to rising stars. Such awards are only possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters. If you would like to help, please visit the giving pages of our website to see how your gift could make a difference in this and other areas.

Reporters

Jenn Rowater

Jenn Rowater
Advancement

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6697
Email: j.rowater@imperial.ac.uk

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Imogen Ashfield

Imogen Ashfield
Advancement

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 0979
Email: @imperial.ac.uk

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