Dr James Hodgkinson

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

School/Department: Chemistry, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3985



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 UKRI, LD3, and The Royal Society.


Chemical Probe Synthesis and Chemical Biology

My research is focused on the synthesis of novel chemical probes and their applications in studying biological processes otherwise challenging to study by genetic approaches alone. We are currently interested in developing chemical probes for class I Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes and their protein partners that exist within seven distinct class I HDAC multiprotein corepressor complexes. We are in a prime position to achieve this within the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology and collaborate with the research groups of Professor John Schwabe and Professor Shaun Cowley in this area. Applications include using our chemical probes to investigate novel protein-protein interactions within HDAC corepressor complexes, and developing heterobifunctional molecules including proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) for the targeted degradation of class I HDACs and associated partners via the proteasome. Our goal is that our validated chemical probes will reveal new knowledge and biology of the protein of study and aid the discovery of new therapeutics to treat diseases such as cancer. Importantly, we also want our chemical probes to have applications for others in the research community.

Current group members:

Megan Coulson, Wiktoria Pytel, Urvashi Patel, Jack Bettam, Tianzhou Liu, Dhvani Umeshkumar

See the Group Page


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.  

Identification of new quorum sensing autoinducer binding partners in Pseudomonas aeruginosa using photoaffinity probes, Y. R. Baker, J. T. Hodgkinson, B. I. Florea, E. Alza, W. R. J. D. Galloway, L. Grimm, S. M. Geddis, S. J. Walsh, H. S. Overkleeft, M. Welch, D. R. Spring, Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 7403.

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.

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 - Charnwood Discovery, Loughborough, UK, 9th Nov 2023
  • Invited speaker - Next-Generation Degraders & Glues Conference, London, 20-22nd June 2023
  • Invited speaker - Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Remote, 20th June 2023
  • Invited speaker - Driving Innovation in Midlands Healthcare, Charnwood Molecular, UK, 25th April 2023 
  • Invited speaker - Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, 10th Feb 2023
  • Invited speaker - IPDD - Structure-based Drug Design meeting, LINXS, Lund, Sweden, 14th-15th November 2022 
  • Invited speaker - University of Sussex, 19th October 2022
  • Invited speaker - 30th Annual GP2A Conference, Trinity College, Dublin, 24th-28th, August 2022
  • Invited speaker - Keele University, 17th August, 2022
  • 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), 23rd April 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
  • Invited speaker - RSC East Midlands organic section meeting, Leicester, 5th April 2017

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