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Staff Profile

Dr Steven Cobb

Personal web page

Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42086

(email at


Steven Cobb carried out his PhD with Professor David O’Hagan at St. Andrews University (2001-2005). His work focused on the biosynthesis of fluorinated natural products, in the bacteria Streptomyces cattleya. The highlight of this research was the identification of the first ever naturally-occurring C-F bond forming enzyme (Nature, 2002, 416, 279). Steven was awarded an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Fellowship and moved to the University of Alberta, to work with Professor John Vederas, FRS. During this time he was introduced to the field of peptide chemistry and he worked on the development of new peptide based antibiotics. In October 2007 Steven moved to the Chemistry Department at Durham University as a temporary lecturer, and from this position he was awarded a prestigious Ramsay Memorial Trust Research Fellowship (2008–2010). In 2010 he was appointed to the position of Lecturer and since then he has attracted research funding from various competitive sources as a PI including the Royal Society, the EPSRC, The Wellcome Trust, The Leverhulme Trust, UK industry and he was recently the successful PI on a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant (one of only 100 grants award worldwide from over 2100 applications).

Research Interests

Our group uses a range of methods and techniques in synthetic organic, peptoid and peptide chemistry to tackle interesting and challenging biological problems.

For further details, see my personal web pages

Recent Publications

D. Gimenez, C.A. Mooney, A. Dose, G. Sandford, C. R. Coxon and S.L. Cobb*The application of perfluoroheteroaromatic reagents in the preparation of modified peptide systems” Org. Biomol. Chem., 2017, 15, 4086-4095

D. Gimenez, A. Dose, N.L. Robson, G. Sandford, S. L. Cobb* and C. R. Coxon* “2,2,2-Trifluoroethanol as a solvent to control nucleophilic peptide arylation” Org. Biomol. Chem. 2017, 15,4081-4085

H.L. Bolt, G.A. Eggimann, C.A.B. Jahoda, R. N. Zuckermann, G. J. Sharples*, S.L. Cobb*Exploring the links between peptoid antibacterial activity and toxicity” MedChemComm. 2017, 8(5), 886-896 

Luoa Y., Bolt HL., Eggimann GA., McAuley DF., McMullan R., Curran T., Cobb SL*, Lundy FT* "Peptoid Efficacy against Polymicrobial Biofilms Determined by Using Propidium Monoazide-Modified Quantitative PCR" ChemBioChem, 2017, 18, 111– 118

L. Jiang, R. Lan, T. Huang, C.-F. Chan, H. Li, S. Lear, J. Zong, W.-Y. Wong, M. M.-Lan Lee, B. D. Chan, W.-L. Chan, W.-S. Lo, N.-K. Mak, M. L. Lung, G. S. Taylor, Z.-X. Bian, W. C. S. Tai, G.-L. Law, W.-T. Wong, S.L. Cobb,* and K.-L. Wong,* “EBNA1-targeted probe for the imaging and growth inhibition of tumours associated with the Epstein–Barr virus”, Nat. Biomed. Eng., 2017, 0042 [Highlighted in Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2017, 0059 and in Cell Chemical Biology, 2017, 647-648]

Luoa Y., Bolt HL., Eggimann GA., McAuley DF., McMullan R., Curran T., Cobb SL*, Lundy FT* "Peptoid Efficacy against Polymicrobial Biofilms Determined by Using Propidium Monoazide-Modified Quantitative PCR" ChemBioChem, 2017, 18, 111– 118

Lear S., Munshi T., Hudson AS., Hatton C., Clardy J., Mosely JA., Bull TJ., Sit CS.,* and S. L. Cobb* "Total Chemical Synthesis of Lassomycin and Lassomycin-amide" Org. Biomol. Chem. 2016, 14, 4534-4541

Bolt HL, Eggimann GA, Denny PW,* and Cobb SL.,* Enlarging the chemical space of anti-leishmanials: a structure-activity relationship study of peptoids against Leishmania mexicana, a causative agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis” MedChemComm. 2016, 7, 799-805

Research Groups

Department of Chemistry

  • Bioactive Chemistry and Synthesis
  • Functional Molecules and Materials

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Research Interests

  • Peptide Drug Design and Delivery
  • Peptidomimetics
  • Bioorganic Fluorine Chemistry


Journal Article

  • Steer, A.M., Bolt, H.L., Brittain, W.D.G. & Cobb, S.L. (2018). A Direct Route for the Preparation of Fmoc/OtBu Protected Iodotyrosine. Tetrahedron Letters 59(27): 2644-2646.
  • Webster, A.M. & Cobb, S.L. (2018). Recent Advances in the Synthesis of Peptoid Macrocycles. Chemistry - A European Journal 24(30): 7560-7573.
  • Gimenez, D., Aguilar, J.A., Bromley, E.H.C. & Cobb, S.L. (2018). Stabilising Peptoid Helices Using Non‐Chiral Fluoroalkyl Monomers. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 57(33): 10549-10553.
  • Bolt, Hannah, Kleijn, Laurens, Martin, Nathaniel & Cobb, Steven (2018). Synthesis of Antibacterial Nisin–Peptoid Hybrids Using Click Methodology. Molecules 23(7): 1566.
  • Grigolato, L., Brittain,W.D.G., Hudson,A.S., Czyzewska, M.M & Cobb, S.L (2018). Synthesis of pentafluorosulfanyl (SF5) containing aromatic amino acids. Journal of Fluorine Chemistry 212: 166-170.