UCL School of Pharmacy


Dr Jess Healy

UCL Excellence Fellow in Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry

Tel: 020 7753 5961

Research interests

  • The use of synthetic chemistry to develop tool compounds to further our understanding of biological processes and to develop novel therapies
  • Fragment based drug discovery and kinetic target guided synthesis for lead/tool molecule identification
  • Development of bespoke libraries and novel chemistries compatible with kinetic target guided synthesis
  • Particular therapeutic area of interest is antimicrobial resistance and we have a number of projects ongoing in this area. Targets under investigation include thiol dependant detoxification enzymes such as the glyoxalases and S-transferases, beta-lactamases and cell biosynthesis
  • Research Cluster: Drug Discovery

Teaching interests

  • MPharm 2nd year medicinal chemistry and synthetic chemistry laboratory practical
  • MSc in Drug Discovery and Development
  • Hosting and supervision of MPharm and MSc project students

Collaborations and partnerships

  • Development of β-lactamase inhibitors in collaboration with Dr Shozeb Haider, UCL School of Pharmacy
  • Towards the development of novel treatments for TB in collaboration with Dr Sanjib Bhakta, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Towards the development of small molecule therapeutics for improving regeneration and functional recovery following preripheral nerve damage in collaboration with Dr James Philips, UCL Eastman Dental School
  • YjeE as a target for antibacterial drug discovery with Dr Sean Nair, UCL Eastman Dental School


  • BSc Chem (Hons), 1st, University College Cork, 2006
  • PhD in Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, 2010

Dr Jess Healy


UCL School of Pharmacy
29/39 Brunswick Square


  • UCL Excellence Fellow in Pharmaceutical Chemical Biology
    SoP Pharmaceutical & Bio Chemistry
    UCL School of Pharmacy

Joined UCL


My research interests include multi-drug resistance in bacteria and the development of antimicrobials with novel mechanisms of action to combat this. In particular, I’m interested in using a combination of kinetic target guided synthesis, a process whereby the protein ‘catalyzes’ the synthesis of its own best inhibitor through a combination of concentration effects and optimal size-shape complementarity within the binding site, and more traditional fragment based drug discovery to identify leads for a number of detoxification proteins: glyoxalase I, glyoxalase II and glutathione-S-transferase. Selective and potent probes for these enzymes will allow investigation of their roles in antibiotic resistance and their validation as targets for drug discovery.

Award year Qualification Institution
2011 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Medical Sciences
University of Aberdeen
2006 BSc
Bachelor of Science
University College Cork

Jess received her BSc. in Chemistry from University College Cork in 2006. PhD studies in Medical Sciences were carried out under the supervision of Prof. Ian R. Booth and Dr Stuart Conway at the University of Aberdeen. This involved the development of small molecule probes targeting a bacterial potassium efflux system, Kef, to investigate the molecular mechanism of activation and to validate it as a target for the development of novel antibacterial agents. Subsequent postdoctoral work, continuing this research, was carried in Dr Stuart Conway’s laboratory at the University of Oxford. Jess was appointed as an Excellence Career Fellow in Pharmaceutical Chemical Biology at the UCL School of Pharmacy in September 2013.