We are part of the School of Chemistry and are based in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB).

Our research group has interests in synthetic and biological chemistry encompassing methodology, target synthesis, carbohydrate chemistry of various types, biocatalysis and heterocycle chemistry. Our group has developed new routes to complex heparin-related oligosaccharides, and this technology underpins ongoing routes to various heparin-related targets. This includes patented key synthetic chemistry and commercial applications and licencing are currently being undertaken via UMIP.



Novel terpenoid chiral diol which catalyzes asymmetric aldol reactions

dendrimer component

extended ‘orthogonal toggle’ trichloromethyl benzimidazole

Stacked network of dendron dimers

Updated 22 Aug 2017

Chemistry software



CRUK and Leukemia Research SPONSORSHIP

Prof Peter Gilbert - an academic at Manchester - died of pancreatic cancer a few days before his son’s 11th birthday. A few months later David’s teenage cousin died of leukemia. Peter’s son, David had his hair shaved off in a special School assembly to raise support for cancer charities. It grew back now (a bit!) but the he decided to keep it short...! If you want to sponsor CRUK or Leukemia research through him please visit his sites below. They remain indefinitely open for direct donations in memory of his Dad - so far, his sponsorship has raised over £1300.

CRUK:   http://www.justgiving.com/davidgilbert97/

Leukemia&Lymphoma:   http://www.justgiving.com/david-gilbert97



2018 in

A heparin-related pentasaccharide

  1. Bullet Our report of the first synthesis of a heparin-like oligosaccharide on gram-scale (a jump from literature mg scale syntheses!) is out in Orglett and has been highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News (Xmas 2012 issue!) as a step-change in scalability of heparin-like oligosaccharide synthesis!

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no llamas were harmed in the making of this haircut

  1. Bullet Chemical Science paper: Gavin’s paper on the synthesis of a series of per-O6-sulfated heparanoid dodecassaccharides reports the first synthesis of 10-mer and 12-mer O6-sulfated heparins.

  1. Bullet Nature:Communications paper: Our paper on a new tetrasaccharide-based synthesis of a dodecassaccharide, developing new end-labelling chemistry for pharmokinetics studies was published.

To search, read and download Open Access University Publications:

Research Studentships Information and VacanciesAllVacancies.html
Carbohydrate chemistry/medicinal chemistry /biocatalysis/materials PhDs - please email to discussAllVacancies.html

Output news

  1. Bullet JACS paper: Uesugi’s group in Japan made use of Gavin’s long synthetic HS sequences to provide data added to their exciting work on cell clustering effects.

  1. Bullet ACS Catalysis paper: David’s work in collaboration with the Scrutton lab is reported in a paper on a new reductase enzyme, with structural and mechanistic studies from the Scrutton group.

  1. Bullet ChemComm paper: Following our prior publication on bacterial signalling molecule DPD in a collaboration with Manchester School of Pharmacy, a new synthetic F-analogue has been prepared and shown dramatically impact bacterial growth and luminescence.

Novel C2 polyaryl dendrimer

A pentasaccharide

  1. Bullet J Org Chem paper: The group’s work demonstrating the synthesis and applications of iduronate bicyclic lactones for heparin fragment synthesis is out in JOC (Feb 2015). Further applications to oligosaccharide synthesis are underway.

IP and commercialization supported through

hello guys!!

Commercialization of any oligosaccharide synthesis, applications and synthesis and design of fragments for heparin synthesis developed at Manchester, is being undertaken via UMIP.

Any queries on such use should be directed to our lab.

Applications of University IP and know-how for commercial purposes is managed via UMIP. Any such developments or know-how is the legal property of the University of Manchester and misuse or commercialization will be subject to legal action.

Virtually all of the work in the group involves organic synthesis. We are part of the School of Chemistry's Synthesis and Chemical Biology Research Groups.

  1. Bullet *Highlight*: The group’s heparin-related work has been selected as a research highlight for the Annual EPSRC National Mass Spec report (March 2015).

  1. Bullet ChemComm: Our large scale synthesis of a site-programmed  heparin dodecassacharide is reported in ChemComm (Aug2015) and shows that single sulfate location regulates both in vitro and in vivo biology mediated by two biomedically-important chemokines. This enables future programmed synthesis of site-specific drug candidates, and work in this area is ongoing in colaboration with the Jayson lab at the Paterson Institute/Christie Hospital.

  1. Bullet Chemical Science: Our synthesis of the longest synthetic heparin-related oligosaccharides by using our tetrasaccharide block strategy, and the use of new NMR methods to support and quantify anomeric integrity, is now out. A further report on this paper will be published. *PAPER GOES HOT ARTICLE* July ‘hot’ article at ChemSci and subject of a Chemistry World highlight article.

  1. Bullet ACS Synthetic Biology paper: Aisling and David’s work in collaboration with the Scrutton lab is reported in this paper on a key synthetic biology engineering of terpene synthesis in E.coli.

hello XXX1507 back again...

  1. Bullet OBC long oligosaccharides paper: Gavin’s work on synthesis of heparan sulfate and LMWH-type 10-mers and 12-mers bearing conjugation tag has bene published in OrgBiomolChem, complimenting this labs recent paper on longer synthetic heparins.

  1. Bullet ChemPhysChem paper: Observabability of synthetic single saccharides and their microscopic encapsulation has been demonstrated in a paper accepted in ChemPhysChem.

  1. Bullet Angewandte: In collaboration with Scrutton and Leys labs work using synthetic substrates and site-modified enzymes has identified an unusual mechanistic switch from reduction to ene reaction.