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Department of Chemistry

Dr David R.W. Hodgson

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Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42123

(email at


David Hodgson read Natural Sciences in Cambridge, and pursued a Ph.D. with Professor Anthony J. Kirby focusing on biological catalysis and physical organic chemistry. David moved to a PDRA position in Toronto with Professor J. B. Jones to explore subtilisin bioconjugates for directed proteolysis of protein targets. Supported by a Royal Society-Fulbright post-doctoral fellowship, David moved to Buffalo NY, to work on in vitro selection of ribozymes with Professor Hiroaki Suga. David then took up a lectureship in Durham in 2003, focusing on using physical organic chemistry, particularly towards biological problems. He works on nucleosides, nucleotides and nucleic acids, and enzymes that process these species. He also has strong interests in nucleic acid and protein bioconjugates, carbohydrate polymers and commercially relevant enzyme systems. He was Director of Undergraduate Studies in Chemistry 2009-2014, and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2013.

Research Overview

The DRWH group uses physical organic chemistry to approach biological and synthetic chemistry problems. Key themes are the use of kinetics and the understanding and exploitation of physico-chemical properties to enable more effective synthetic and bioconjugation procedures.

We have developed convenient phosphorylation methods, and apply our results with protein kinase, polymerase and cyclase enzymes. We study reactivity in water, and apply this towards effective synthetic and bioconjugation procedures. We also use polysaccharide-based biopolymers as feedstocks for new materials. We work within the Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis, and Biological Chemistry research groups, linking to collaborators in Durham through the Biophysical Sciences Institute. We also collaborate with several groups outside the UK.

Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids

We use aqueous and non-aqueous approaches to prepare nucleosides, nucleotides and phosphate ester mimics. We use our chemistry to provide substrates and mechanistic understanding in enzyme systems.

Reactivity in Water and Bioconjugations

We use kinetic understanding and speciation control alongside our synthetic techniques to provide effective conjugations and synthetic methods. 


Biopolymers are abundant, renewable resources that offer frameworks for elaboration into new materials. In collaboration, we have applied our approaches towards both chitinous and cellulosic materials.

Selected Publications

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