The Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research
at the Cruciform Building
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Prof Dave (Dai) Selwood
- 020 7679 6716 /

Medicinal Chemistry

Our laboratory conducts research on the edge of chemistry and biology using the latest techniques and developing new ones for the study of biological systems. We collaborate extensively with biologists in academia and industry.

Some of the lab’s current research projects are shown below.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

  • Learn about our new prototype MS drug.
  • Neuroprotection, using sodium channel blockers to maintain nerve function in MS.

New cancer agents

  • SMoCs, Small Molecule Carriers of biomolecules.
  • FLIP protein as a cancer target.
  • Angiogenesis as a cancer target.


  • Design of novel non-peptide agonists for NPR-C.
  • Mitochondrial targeting of therapeutic agents - cyclosporin.

Fragment based drug design



Masters in drug design (MSc and MRes)
Established from 2010, this course is an in depth study of modern drug design methods from bioinformatics to molecular modeling and fragment based drug design. Sections on intellectual property and marketing provide a solid background for anyone considering a career in the pharmaceutical and health industries.

For more information click here.

Chem3204: Principles of drug design. (Antiviral and anticancer chemotherapy).
This is part of the third year course for chemistry undergraduates taking the medicinal chemistry options (UCL department of chemistry).
A systematic look at new anti-viral therapies taking HIV as an example. We investigate the life cycle of HIV and examine the places where therapeutic intervention can take place.

For more information on Chem3204 click here

MSc Cancer
• Introduction to medicinal chemistry. An introduction to medicinal chemistry, from the early days of Paul Erlich to modern structure based techniques.
• Overview of small molecule anticancer drug development
• Small molecule drug design : Molecular modeling (with Dr Paul Gane)

For more information click here.

Selected publications

Malouitre S, Dube H, Selwood D, Crompton M. Mitochondrial targeting of cyclosporin A enables selective inhibition of cyclophilin-D and enhanced cytoprotection after glucose and oxygen deprivation. Biochem. J. (2010) 425, 137–148 doi:10.1042/BJ20090332

Chan AWE, Laskowski RA, Selwood DL. Chemical fragments that hydrogen bond to Asp, Glu, Arg, and His side chains in protein binding sites. J Med Chem. (2010) 53(8):3086-94.

Jarvis A, Allerston CK, Jia H, Herzog, Garza-Garcia A, Winfield N, Ellard K, Aqil R,  Lynch R, Chapman C, Hartzoulakis B, Nally J, Stewart M, Cheng L, Menon M, Tickner M, Djordjevic S, Driscoll PC, Zachary I, Selwood DL. Small molecule inhibitors of the neuropilin-1 vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) interaction. J. Med. Chem. (2010) 53 (5), pp 2215–2226. DOI: 10.1021/jm901755g

Clutterbuck LA, Posada CG, Visintin C, Riddall DR, Lancaster B, Gane PJ, Garthwaite J, and Selwood DL. Oxadiazolylindazole Sodium Channel Modulators are Neuroprotective toward Hippocampal Neurones. J. Med. Chem. (2009) 52(9):2694-707. DOI: 10.1021/jm801180p

Okuyama M, Laman H, Kingsbury SR, Visintin C, Leo E, Eward KL, Stoeber K, Boshoff C, Williams GH, Selwood DL. (2007). Small molecule mimics of an α-helix for rapid and efficient transport of proteins into cells. Nature Methods 4(2), 153-159.

Leiper J, Nandi M, Torondel B, Murray-Rust J, Malaki M,O’Hara,B., Rossiter,S., Anthony,S., Madhani,M., Selwood,D., Smith,C., Wojciak-Stothard,B., Rudiger,A., Stidwill,R., McDonald,N.Q., Vallance,P. (2007). Disruption of methylarginine metabolism impairsvascular homeostasis. Nature Medicine 13(2), 198-203.


Academic Career

1995 - to date Head of Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London.

2005 - to date Founder and director of Canbex Ltd

2001 - Jun 2006 Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, NCE discovery Ltd (Medicinal chemistry company now Domainex Ltd)

1993 - Senior Research Scientist, , Wellcome Research Laboratories, Beckenham, Kent

1983 - World Heath Organisation funded postdoctorate working on river blindness

1982 - PhD, University of Southampton.



Cancer Research UK


MS Society UK

The National MS Society, Fast Forward Group USA

UCL Business

Wellcome Trust



Rotate L-mouse / Menu R-mouse
PTD helical domain

Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research - The Cruciform Building - University College London
Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT -------------------------- Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 2000 Copyright © 1999-2008 UCL