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Professor David Brown

Professor of Structural Biology

School of Biosciences


David joined the School of Biosciences in October 2011. He obtained his first degree in Biophysics at the University of Leeds in 1998 and then went on to study for his PhD in Structural Biology at the Institute of Cancer Research studying drug/DNA interactions. David then was awarded an SERC personal fellowship to focus on drug discovery at Kings College University of London where he worked on structural studies of complexes of inhibitors of Thymidine Kinase from Herpes Simplex Virus.

He then spent 15 years at Pfizer working on a large number of drug discovery programmes for a wide range of disease areas including Cardiovascular, Tissue Repair, Sexual Health, Allergy and Respiratory, Antifungals, Antivirals. David became Director of Structural Biology and Biophysics Group which utilised techniques such as NMR, X-ray crystallography, Mass Spectrometry, ITC and SPR to investigate protein structure and function and elucidate mode of action of ligand binding. During his time at Pfizer David solved the first structure of a Phosphodiesterase (PDE5 – the biological target of Viagra) which was a novel enzyme class to understand the function, mechanism and modes of inhibition. David is a member of the Protein Form and Function Group.

ORCID ID:0000-0003-4605-4779

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Blaazer, A. et al. (2018). Targeting a Subpocket in Trypanosoma brucei Phosphodiesterase B1 (TbrPDEB1) Enables the Structure-Based Discovery of Selective Inhibitors with Trypanocidal Activity. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry [Online] 61:3870-3888. Available at:
Whitewood, A. et al. (2018). Chlamydial virulence factor TarP mimics talin to disrupt the talin-vinculin complex. FEBS Letters [Online] 592:1751-1760. Available at:
Lawrence, A. et al. (2018). Construction of Fluorescent Analogs to Follow the Uptake and Distribution of Cobalamin (Vitamin B 12 ) in Bacteria, Worms, and Plants. Cell Chemical Biology [Online]. Available at:
Jones, P. et al. (2016). Design and Synthesis of a Pan-Janus Kinase Inhibitor Clinical Candidate (PF-06263276) Suitable for Inhaled and Topical Delivery for the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases of the Lungs and Skin. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry [Online] 60:767-786. Available at:
Skerratt, S. et al. (2016). The Discovery of a Potent, Selective, and Peripherally Restricted Pan-Trk Inhibitor (PF-06273340) for the Treatment of Pain. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry [Online] 59:10084-10099. Available at:
Adams, P. et al. (2016). Outcome of the First wwPDB/CCDC/D3R Ligand Validation Workshop. Structure [Online] 24:502-508. Available at:
Palmer, D. et al. (2014). The structure, function and properties of sirohaem decarboxylase - an enzyme with structural homology to a transcription factor family that is part of the alternative haem biosynthesis pathway. Molecular Microbiology [Online] 93:247-261. Available at:
Deery, E. et al. (2012). An enzyme-trap approach allows isolation of intermediates in cobalamin biosynthesis. Nature Chemical Biology [Online] 8:933-940. Available at:
Phillips, C. et al. (2011). Design and Structure of Stapled Peptides Binding to Estrogen Receptors. Journal of the American Chemical Society [Online] 133:9696-9699. Available at:
Hughes, S. et al. (2011). Fragment based discovery of a novel and selective PI3 kinase inhibitor. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters [Online] 21:6586-6590. Available at:
Luban, J. et al. (2010). HIV Capsid is a Tractable Target for Small Molecule Therapeutic Intervention. PLoS Pathogens [Online] 6:e1001220. Available at:
Owen, D. et al. (2009). Identification, synthesis and SAR of amino substituted pyrido[3,2b]pyrazinones as potent and selective PDE5 inhibitors. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters [Online] 19:4088-4091. Available at:
Fish, P. et al. (2007). Selective Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator Inhibitors. 4. 1-(7-sulfonamidoisoquinolinyl)guanidines. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry [Online] 50:2341-51. Available at:
Palmer, M. et al. (2007). Design of second generation phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry [Online] 7:405-419. Available at:
Bunnage, M. et al. (2007). Discovery of potent & selective inhibitors of activated thrombin-activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor for the treatment of thrombosis. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry [Online] 50:6095-6103. Available at:
O'Brien, S. et al. (2005). Computational Tools for the Analysis and Visualization of Multiple Protein-Ligand Complexes. Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling [Online] 24:186-194. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 16 [See all in KAR]


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Structure, function and mechanism of protein inhibition for drug targets, in particular phosphodiesterases and kinases.

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  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • British Crystallographic Association
  • Co-Founder of CANGENX (a Structural Biology and Biophysics CRO)
  • CCP4 Executive Committee
  • Chair of MXWG (Macromolecular Crystallography Working Group ) for DIAMOND
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Enquiries: Phone: +44 (0)1227 823743

School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NJ

Last Updated: 28/08/2013