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Dave Selwood

Medicinal Chemistry
Dave Selwood

 020 7679 6716

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)

  • 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


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.


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.

 Further publication information can be viewed at


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.

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.

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