Dr Richard Hopkinson

Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry

School/Department: Chemistry, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5185



Hopkinson Group


I did my DPhil in Chris Schofield’s group in Oxford chemistry working on the biochemistry of histone methyllysine demethylase enzymes. I then did a postdoc in Oxford Chemistry and the Structural Genomics Consortium working on demethylase inhibition.

In 2013, I was awarded the William R Miller Junior Research Fellowship in Molecular Aspects of Biology at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, to work on formaldehyde biochemistry and biology.

I arrived in Leicester as a lecturer in chemical biology in November 2017, where our work has focused on defining the biology of biological aldehydes.


Understanding the functional role of formaldehyde in health and disease

My research is focused on understanding how reactions between biomolecules and reactive small molecules, most notably formaldehyde, affect biological systems in health and disease. Formaldehyde, the simplest aldehyde, is a highly-reactive and often toxic electrophile that is a by-product of enzymatic demethylation reactions in human cells. The mechanisms underpinning formaldehyde toxicity are poorly understood, which is likely a consequence of its complex and uncharacterised reactivity with biomolecules, often involving unstable intermediates. My research uses chemical/synthetic, biochemical and cellular methods to identify and characterise the complex biologically relevant chemistry of formaldehyde with biomolecules. Ultimately, we hope to define the mechanisms underpinning formaldehyde homeostasis and biology in health and disease.

Further details can be found on my group website: Hopkinson Group.



  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Committee member for the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Biology and Bioorganic Group
  • EPSRC Peer Review College member


Winner of the Inorganic Biochemistry Discussion Group Young Investigator's Award, 2018.


  • MChem (Oxford)
  • DPhil (Oxford)
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