Chemical Biology

artist visualization of Target-Induced and Equipment-Free DNA Amplification

Chemical Biology is the application of chemistry to solve biological problems:

Chemical Biology at McMaster applies chemical techniques and tools to study and manipulate of biological systems.  This includes studying interactions between small molecules and macromolecules (proteins and nucleic acids), and molecules of all sizes (polymers) with biological systems, including cells and whole organisms. Much of this work involves preparing, characterizing and delivering compounds (from small molecules all the way to antibodies) that might be used as drugs or diagnostics. We synthesize new complexing agents to deliver transition metals to specific organs in the body for use in radio-imaging such as MRI, PET scans, and other medical applications. We also develop analytical techniques for metabolomics research, and biosensors to rapidly diagnose infections. 

Areas of specialty include:

  • In vivo delivery
  • Drug and metabolite detection
  • Bioimaging
  • Biosensors

Our researchers:

Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology | McMaster University has 13 registered members
Paul Berti
Professor
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Research Interests:

Transition-state analysis in biochemical systems; enzyme mechanisms

John Brennan
Professor, Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry
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Research Interests:

Bioanalytical chemistry; fluorescence spectroscopy; biosensors

Philip Britz-McKibbin
Professor
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Research Interests:

Bio-analytical chemistry; metabolomics; biomarker discovery; clinical chemistry; capillary electrophoresis/separation science; mass spectrometry; chemometrics/bioinformatics; bimolecular interactions; drug screening; newborn screening; population health; early detection/prevention of human diseases

Fred Capretta
Associate Professor
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Research Interests:

Phospha-adamantanes in organopalladium cross-coupling reactions; carbenoid-based synthesis; synthesis of bioactive compounds

Paul Harrison
Associate Professor, Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies)
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Research Interests:

Natural Products: how cells make these antibiotics, and how they work; fooling the biosynthetic machinery into using non-natural precursors to make non-natural, natural products

Adam Hitchcock
Professor
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Research Interests:

Materials analysis by synchrotron based soft X-ray microscopy, instrumentation, fuel cells, in situ methods, electrochemistry, magnetotactic bacteria, 4D imaging

Yingfu Li
Professor
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Nathan Magarvey
Associate Professor
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James McNulty
Professor
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Research Interests:

Organic Synthesis; Medicinal Chemistry; Natural Products; Organocatalysis; Transition-metal Catalysis;Total Synthesis

Giuseppe Melacini
Professor, Associate Chair (Graduate Studies)
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Research Interests:

Pre-clinical molecular pharmacology of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer; intrinsically unstructured amyloidogenic proteins: protein kinases & signaling; functional protein dynamics and allosteric regulation; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)

Jose Moran-Mirabal
Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair in Micro- and Nanostructured Materials
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Research Interests:

Micro- and nanostructured materials fabrication, characterization and applications; nanocellulose surface chemistry; biosensors; super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, biomolecular interactions

John Valliant
Professor
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Research Interests:

Medicinal inorganic and radiopharmaceutical chemistry

Ryan Wylie
Assistant Professor
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Research Interests:
Protein polymer conjugates: Antibody therapeutics, bioreactors, bio-inks
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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Chemistry & Chemical Biology