Welcome to the Davis Group website

Our research comes under the broad heading of the chemistry of Carbohydrates and Proteins. The reactions and manipulation of sugars and proteins have fascinated organic chemists for over a century and this work is culminating today in a host of new drugs for treating diseases.

It is becoming increasingly clear that oligosaccharides (carbohydrates in small clusters) and alterations in proteins (modifications) are examples of chemically complex biological markers that can act in important recognition processes such as microbial infection, cancer metastasis and cellular adhesion in inflammation, in addition to many intracellular communication events. Their remarkable structural diversity means that they can often mediate highly specific and therefore complex processes. The application of an understanding of such systems on a fundamental level leads to the design, synthesis and modification of potential therapeutic and biotechnologically applicable systems.

In January 2004 we moved from the historical Dyson Perrins Laboratory to the new Chemistry Research Laboratory. You can explore the Virtual Tour of the CRL, in particular the 360° paroramas of our write-up area and one of our lab (Quicktime software required).

Our research is supported by the EPSRC, the BBSRC, the MRC, the Gates Foundation, UCB-Celltech, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, the EU, Glycovaxyn, Cancer Research UK, and the Royal Society.

Last updated: 31-07-2014

Latest publication

Creation of a Gated Antibody as a Conditionally Functional Synthetic Protein, Nat. Commun. 2014, 5, 4388


Lingbing Kong's paper on a new antibiotic strategy was the cover of Nature Chemistry.NatChem 2013

Lukas Lercher's paper on Suzuki-biology applied to DNA has been chosen as a Very Important Paper (VIP) by the referees at Angewandte Chemie. It describes the mildest current method for chemically altering DNA.

Lingbing Kong's Nature Chemistry paper has been highlighted in Chemistry World and C&EN and in a News and Views article in Nature Chemistry. It describes a new way to weaken the capsular polysaccharide of Escherichia coli to allow the host's immune system to attack and kill the pathogen. This could pave the way for new antibiotic drugs that make it harder for pathogenic bacteria to develop resistance.

Chris Spicer won the gold medal in the SET for Britain poster competition at the House of Commons by presenting his work on new Pd chemistry for modifying proteins to politicians and a panel of expert judges.

Anaelle Dumas, Chris Spicer, Mark Gao and Angel Lin have had their forthcoming paper on Self-Liganded Suzuki protein PEGylation highlighted as a 'hot paper' in Angew. Chem.

A paper describing the use of the Suzuki coupling to modify the glycocalyx of E coli by Chris Spicer has featured on the cover of Chem. Commun.

Christopher Spicer won 1st prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry Poster Symposium held in London on Dec 3rd for his work on Pallado-Biology.

News archives

Prof Ben G. Davis
University of Oxford
Chemistry Research Laboratory
Mansfield Road
Oxford, OX1 3TA, UK
Phone: + 44 (0)1865 275652
Fax: + 44 (0)1865 275674