Dr James Hodgkinson

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

School/Department: Chemistry, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2105



James completed his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Queens University Belfast (2007) followed by a PhD at the University of Cambridge (2011). After a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College Cambridge he was appointed as a lecturer at the University of Leicester (2016) and is currently an Associate Professor in chemistry and chemical biology. Research in the lab has been supported by the EPSRC, BBSRC, LD3, and The Royal Society.


Research within the Hodgkinson Group is focused on the synthesis of novel chemical probes and compound libraries designed to study biological processes otherwise challenging by genetic approaches. We are specifically interested in developing chemical probes for Class I Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes and other protein partners that exist in Class I HDAC multiprotein complexes. Class I HDACs and their associated complexes have been implicated in diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Applications include using our chemical probes to investigate novel ligand-protein interactions and protein-protein interactions within HDAC complexes, and developing heterobifunctional molecules including proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) for the targeted degradation of Class I HDACs and their associated complex partners in cancer cells. Our overall goal and vision is that our validated chemical probes will have direct applications for use by the members of chemical biology and biology communities in revealing new biology, studying disease and ultimately aiding the discovery of new therapeutics.



Selected publications:

  • Optimization of Class I Histone Deacetylase PROTACs Reveals that HDAC1/2 Degradation is Critical to Induce Apoptosis and Cell Arrest in Cancer Cells, J.P. Smalley, I.M. Baker, W.A. Pytel, L.Y. Lin, K.J. Bowmann, J.W.R. Schwabe, S.M. Cowley, J.T. Hodgkinson, J. Med. Chem. 2022, 65, 5642-5659.
  • PROTAC-mediated degradation of class I histone deacetylase enzymes in corepressor complexes, J. P. Smalley, G. E. Adams, C. J. Millard, Y. Song, J. K. S. Norris,  J. W. R. Schwabe, S. M. Cowley, J. T. Hodgkinson, Chem. Commun. 2020, 56, 4476-4479.
  • HDAC3 deacetylates the DNA mismatch repair factor MutSβ to stimulate triplet repeat expansions, G.M. Williams, V. Paschalis, J. Ortega, F. W. Muskett, J.T. Hodgkinson, G. Li, J.W.R. Schwabe, R.S. Lahue. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2020, 117, 23597-23605.
  • Bifunctional HDAC Therapeutics: One Drug to Rule Them All? J.P. Smalley, S.M. Cowley, J.T. Hodgkinson, Molecules, 2020, 25, 4394.
  • Siderophore-Antibiotic Conjugate Design - New Drugs for Bad Bugs? K. H. Negash, J. K. S. Norris, J. T. Hodgkinson, Molecules, 2019, 24, 3314.
  • A new pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) binding partner: MexG, J. T. Hodgkinson, J. Gross, Y.R. Baker, D.R. Spring, M. Welch, Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 2553-2562.

For full publication list see:



James supervises projects in organic chemistry and chemical biology. His projects are in the research areas areas of:

- Chemical Biology
- Medicinal Chemistry
- Synthetic Organic Chemistry,
- Drug Discovery

Please contact me directly for enquires regarding opportunities for PhD studentships or postdoctoral positions.  


James is the course leader for the Pharmaceutical degree course and lectures modules in organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Press and media


Fellow of the Higher Education Academy



Invited speaker - SCI Conference: Targeting protein degradation 3 – from discovery to the clinic, Society of Chemical Industry, London, 8th and 9th June 2022

Invited speaker - University of Nottingham, 11th May, 2022

Invited speaker - University of York, 19th Nov, 2021

Invited speaker - Young Chemists 2021, Imperial College London (remote), 23.04.2021

Invited speaker - RSC Chemical Biology and Bio-Organic Group (CBBG) Forum, 10th Jan 2020

Invited speaker - Polymicrobial Meeting, Cambridge, 11th Dec 2019 

Invited speaker - Gregynog Synthesis Workshop, Wales, 13th Sept 2018

Poster presentation - Astbury Conversation, Leeds, 16th April 2018

Invited speaker - RSC East Midlands organic section meeting, Leicester, 5th April 2017



Back to top
arrow-downarrow-down-3arrow-down-2arrow-down-4arrow-leftarrow-left-3arrow-left-2arrow-leftarrow-left-4arrow-rightarrow-right-3arrow-right-2arrow-right-4arrow-uparrow-up-3arrow-up-2arrow-up-4book-2bookbuildingscalendar-2calendarcirclecrosscross-2facebookfat-l-1fat-l-2filtershead-2headinstagraminstagraminstagramlinkedinlinkedinmenuMENUMenu Arrowminusminusrotator-pausec pausepinrotator-playplayc playplussearchsnapchatsnapchatthin-l-1thin-l-2ticktweettwittertwittertwitterwechatweiboweiboyoutubeyoutube