November 2021

Gates Foundation funding helped us develop a low cost enzymatic manufacturing route to the Covid-19 therapy Molnupiravir

The drug was recently approved for use in the UK

Well done to Will B, Bruna and Tom. You can see the results of their work here:

October 2021

Nicholas Turner has been elected a Member of Academia Europaea!

October 2021

We welcome new post-doc Charlotte Morrill, and new PhD student Anya Miletic to the group.


September 2021

Rachel and Rebecca’s review of ‘Sustainable Synthesis of Cosmetics Ingredients’ is out now in Natural Product Reports. This review really demonstrates The Beauty of Biocatalysis!

They both said, “This was a fascinating topic to research and we really enjoyed writing it!”

September 2021

Our paper on the ‘Synthesis of Pharmaceutically Relevant 2-Aminotetralin and 3-Aminochroman Derivatives via Enzymatic Reductive Amination’ has just been accepted in Angewandte Chemie!

Well done Joan, James and Vanessa in collaboration with Prozomix and Nouron!

August 2021

Congratulations to Will Birmingham whose paper is out now in Nature Communications. This is our collaboration wih BASF and Technical University of Denmark (DTU): ‘Toward Scalable Biocatalytic Conversion of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural by Galactose Oxidase using Coordinated Reaction Engineering’

The galactose oxidase variant showed improved oxgen binding with turnover numbers of over a million!

August 2021

Congratulations to former group members Sebastian Cosgrove and Juan Mangas-Sanchez on publication of their book chapter!

The chapter is entitled ‘Application of Engineered Biocatalyts for the Synthesis of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs)’ and is published in Protein Engineering: Tools and Applications.

August 2021

It was great to finally see everybody face to face at our group BBQ!

July 2021

Congratulations to Becky Ruscoe who has been awarded one of five teaching internships offered by the School.

The internship allows post-docs who are planning an academic career to acquire teaching experience without having a negative impact on their research.

July 2021

We couldn’t be in Graz for Biotrans 2021 but we decided to celebrate a great conference with our own ‘last night’ event.

We even had music from the Schlossberg Terrace!

July 2021

We very much enjoyed attending Biotrans 2021, even though it was online.

Tom Thorpe gave a fascinating talk on a new activity for imine reductases – more details coming soon!

June 2021

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Horizon Prize.

The award is for the Discovery, Characterisation and Industrial Application of Biocatalysts for Reductive Amination Reactions and is jointly awarded to us, the Grogan group at The University of York, GSK and Prozomix.

May 2021

We welcome Ivelina Valeva to our group as our new technician for our Prosperity Partnership project.

The project is a collaboration with Prozomix and AstraZeneca. You can find out more about Ivelina on our members page!

May 2021

We’re looking forward to Biotrans 2021!

We can’t go to Graz but we can bring a little bit of Graz to Manchester!

April 2021

Our recent paper on continuous flow biocatalysis for cascade reactions is out!

You can read it here:

Well done to Joan, James M and Ryan. This was an excellent example of collaboration with the Flitsch group and former group members Sebastian Cosgrove and Matthew Thompson.


Get an insight into our fields of research



Meet the members of the Turner Lab



Browse our publications



Biocatalysis in Organic Synthesis: The Retrosynthesis Approach
by Nicholas J Turner, Luke Humphreys




February 2021

Professor Nicholas Turner was interviewed on ‘In the Active Site’ podcast

As part of Biotrans 2021, the scientists who are invited to give a lecture are interviewed. You can access the podcasts here

February 2021

Our recent paper on ‘RetroBioCat as a computer-aided synthesis planning tool for biocatalytic reactions and cascades’ was highlighted on the cover of Nature Catalysis.

This amazing cover art was done by Verena Resch from @luminous_lab. She also designed this website!

February 2021

PhD student James Marshall presented his work at the NextGenBiocat conference

James recently published his work on screening of metagenomic IREDs in Nature Chemistry. You can read the paper here

January 2021

Better late than never!

Our review on ‘Enzymatic late-stage modifications’ is out now:

This was a great collaborative effort with colleagues from AZ and the Flitsch group as part of our ‘Prosperity Partnership’ project and is Dr. Christian Schnepel’s first corresponding author paper!
January 2021

Lucian Pirvu joins our group as a Post-doctoral Research Assistant

Read more about him on our members page

May 2020

Professor Nicholas Turner has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)

Fellows are elected based on excellence in science via a peer-review process and are thus some of the most eminent scientists from the UK.

Professor Nicholas Turner FRS | Professor of Chemical Biology

“I am absolutely thrilled to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and delighted to have the opportunity to publicly thank all of the researchers my group who together have enabled this achievement. We have also had a lot of fun on the way which is important. I am also grateful to the University of Manchester for establishing the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology which provides a world class environment and state-of-the-art facilities for our research.”

CoeBio3 phase IV continues with the start of six new PhD students

CoeBio3 is the The Centre of Excellence for Biocatalysis, Biotransformations and Biocatalytic Manufacture.

The centre is based in Manchester but supports PhD students at the University of York, The University of Liverpool and the University of Bristol. The program is supported by industrial affiliates from Merck, GSK, Novartis, AstraZeneca and more….

Professor Nicholas Turner will lead a “Prosperity Partnership” for

Developing new biocatalytic technologies for chemical manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry


This AstraZeneca, Prozomix and The University of Manchester Prosperity Partnership will bring together their expertise to design and develop novel chemical manufacturing technologies, based upon engineered biocatalysts, with the aim of producing new therapeutic complex molecules.

Achieving this goal will require the generation of a new toolbox of biocatalysts that are able to catalyse particularly demanding transformations. This project has the potential to bring new medicines to patients, in addition to developing more sustainable manufacturing processes that reduce the impact on the environment.

Prof Nicholas Turner | Professor of Chemical Biology
Securing this prestigious Prosperity Partnership grant represents a significant step forward for the University of Manchester Industrial Biotechnology Research Beacon and highlights the world leading research being undertaken within the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology.