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Sheenagh Aiken

Post-doctoral Fellow

Research Interests

I am a synthetic organic chemist by training but I have long been fascinated by the advances and challenges in drug discovery. I am interested in strategies for complex molecule synthesis, whether that’s potentially bioactive natural products and their analogues, or novel small molecules, and then to investigate the interplay between molecular structure and biological function or activity. I am co-supervised by Professor Paul Brennan in the Centre for Medicines Discovery and Professor Yang Shi at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and collaborating with Professor Chris Schofield in the Department of Chemistry. The primary aim of my postdoctoral research is to design and synthesise novel chemical probes for newly discovered RNA m6A enzymes with potential applications in cancer.


I completed my undergraduate studies in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, followed by a MSc in Chemical Research at Queen’s University Belfast (project supervised by Dr William P. D. Goldring) and then 18 months working as a graduate medicinal chemist in industry, synthesising drug-like molecules for oncology and immuno-oncology targets. My doctoral research on the application of lithiation–borylation methodology to the total synthesis of polyketide natural products was supervised by Professor Varinder K. Aggarwal at the University of Bristol. After my PhD, I stayed in Bristol as a postdoc in the Aggarwal group and then working with Professor Tim Gallagher, before moving to Oxford to take up my current position.