Imperial College London

Dr James A Bull

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Reader in Synthetic Chemistry



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




501bMolecular Sciences Research HubWhite City Campus





  • Small ring synthesis
  • Fragments and lead-like compounds
  • Catalysis
  • C–H Functionalisation
  • Carbenoid reagents
  • Target Synthesis

Lead-oriented synthesis for medicinal chemistry:

Our main focus is the synthesis of heterocyclic and small ring derivatives, particularly through the functionalization of the intact rings. Chiral small ring heterocycles offer ideal properties as scaffolds for quality lead compounds or fragments for drug discovery, due to their low molecular weight, desirable physical properties, as well as defined 3-dimensional shape. We are developing methods to access diverse heterocyclic derivatives containing 4-, and 5-membered ring structures.

Catalytic methods in synthesis:

We are developing new catalytic reactions for the derivatisation of complex systems, notably involving C–H functionalisation and transition metal catalysed sp3-sp2 cross coupling reactions. Particularly we focus on the use of more sustainable, inexpensive transition metals as catalysts such as copper and iron salts. We are also developing catalytic methods to address industrially important reactions, through the design of metallic and non-metallic catalytic systems that that are efficient, cost effective and environmentally benign.

Target oriented synthesis:

We are interested in the synthesis of target molecules for a variety of applications. This includes biologically active natural or unnatural products as well as the synthesis of fluorescent molecular imaging agents. 



    show research
    • EPSRC
    • The Royal Society
    • Ramsay Memorial Trust
    • AstraZeneca
    • Pfizer UK/US
    • GSK
    • Lilly UK
    • Nuffield Foundation
    • DAAD


    Dr Silvia Diez-Gonzalez, Chemistry, Imperial College College, 2014

    Dr Philip Miller, Chemistry, Imperial College London, 2012

    Dr Andrew Ashley, Chemistry, Imperial College London, 2012

    Dr Marina Kuimova, Chemistry, Imperial College London, 2012

    Research Staff