Dr Robert Britton

Research Fellow

School/Department: Leicester Cancer Research Centre, Department of Genetics and Genome Biology

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2126



I studied for my first degree in chemistry at Manchester University which is where my interest in chemical biology began during research into antibiotic resistance. I completed my PhD in chemical biology at Manchester University working on a medicinal chemistry project which allowed me to develop organic chemical reactions and design novel methods for identifying new drug targets.

I moved to University of Leicester in 2004 and worked in the Biochemistry Department with the MRC Toxicology Unit to study the effect of dietary compounds that potentially cause DNA damage and cancer including acrylamide. I moved to the Department of Cancer Studies and worked in the Cancer Prevention and Biomarkers group. I studied the cancer chemoprevention properties of compounds found in the diet. I was given an honorary lectureship in the School of Chemistry in 2013 and now work in the Leicester Cancer Research Centre as part of the Department of Genetics and Genome Biology. I am a synthetic organic chemist at heart and love using chemistry to understand biological systems with the ultimate aim of improving health.


Chemical Biology

Chemical biology involves the use of chemical tools to interact with biological systems with the aim of better understanding biological processes. Chemical biology in underpinned by novel synthetic organic chemistry and an understanding of the biochemistry problems posed.

Medicinal Chemistry

The design of molecules based on protein structure and subsequent synthesis is a crucial step in the drug development process. By synthesising structurally relevant compounds we can start to validate candidate target proteins and develop small-molecule inhibitors from tool compounds to drugs.

Chemical proteomics

‘Omics’ research is the study of an entire set of biological molecules in a given system. By quantifying changes in biological molecules under different conditions we can identify potential drug targets discover biomarkers and even start to predict clinical response and personalise medicine. The field of chemical proteomics utilises mass spectrometry to study protein-chemical interactions which can be used to elucidate biological mechanisms of action or identify ‘off-target’ proteins.


Charlotte E. Dickenson, Richard A. R. Blackburn, Robert G. Britton. 3D Printing Workshop Activity That Aids Representation of Molecules and Student Comprehension of Shape and Chirality. Journal of Chemical Education, 2020, 97, 10, 3714-3719

Hong Cai, Edwina Scott, Abeer Kholghi, Catherine Andreadi, Alessandro Rufini, Ankur Karmokar, Robert G. Britton, Emma Horner-Glister, Peter Greaves, Dhafer Jawad, Mark James, Lynne Howells, Ted Ognibene, Michael Malfatti, Christopher Goldring, Neil Kitteringham, Joanne Walsh, Maria Viskaduraki, Kevin West, Andrew Miller, David Hemingway, William P. Steward, Andreas J. Gescher, Karen Brown. Cancer chemoprevention: Evidence of a nonlinear dose response for the protective effects of resveratrol in humans and mice.  Science Translational Medicine Vol. 7, p. 298-117, 2015

Robert G. Britton, Christina Kovoor, Karen Brown.  Direct molecular targets of resveratrol: identifying key interactions to unlock complex mechanisms.  RESVERATROL AND HEALTH Book Series:  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Vol. 1348,  p.  124-133,  2015

Catherine Andreadi, Robert G Britton, Ketan R Patel, Karen Brown.  Resveratrol-sulfates provide an intracellular reservoir for generation of parent resveratrol, which induces autophagy in cancer cells. Autophagy Vol. 10, p. 524 - 525, 2013

Ketan R. Patel, Catherine Andreadi, Robert G. Britton, Emma Horner-Glister, Ankur Karmokar, Stewart Sale, Victoria A. Brown, Dean E. Brenner, Rajinder Singh, William P. Steward, Andreas J. Gescher, Karen Brown.  Sulfate Metabolites Provide an Intracellular Pool for Resveratrol Generation and Induce Autophagy with Senescence.  Science Translational Medicine Vol. 5, p. 205ra133, 2013

Charles Simon, Robert G. Britton*, Hong Cai, Andreas J. Gescher, Karen Brown, Paul R. Jenkins.  Novel analogues of resveratrol: metabolism and inhibition of colon cancer cell proliferation.  Tetrahedron Vol. 69, p. 6203-6212, 2013

Britton RG, Horner-Glister E, Pomenya OA, Smith EE, Denton R, Jenkins PR, Steward WP, Brown K, Gescher A, Sale S.  Synthesis and biological evaluation of novel flavonols as potential anti-prostate cancer agents.  European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  Vol. 54 p. 952-958, 2012 

Cai H, Sale S, Britton RG, Brown K, Steward WP, Gescher AJ.  Pharmacokinetics in mice and metabolism in murine and human liver fractions of the putative cancer chemopreventive agents 3 ',4 ',5 ',5,7-pentamethoxyflavone and tricin (4 ',5,7-trihydroxy-3 ',5 '-dimethoxyflavone).  Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology Vol. 67, Issue 2, p. 255-263, 2011

Patel KR, Brown VA, Jones DJ, Britton RG, Hemingway D, Miller AS, West KP, Booth TD, Perloff M, Crowell JA, Brenner DE, Steward WP, Gescher AJ, Brown K.  Clinical Pharmacology of Resveratrol and Its Metabolites in Colorectal Cancer Patients.  Cancer Research Vol. 70, Issue 19, p. 7392-7399, 2010 

Howells LM, Britton RG, Mazzoletti M, Greaves P, Broggini M, Brown K, Steward WP, Gescher AJ, Sale S.  Preclinical Colorectal Cancer Chemopreventive Efficacy and p53-Modulating Activity of 3 ',4 ',5 '-Trimethoxyflavonol, a Quercetin Analogue.  Cancer Prevention Research  Vol. 3, Issue 8, p. 929-939, 2010 


I supervise across colleges on a range of projects from in silico projects to 'wet lab' chemistry and biochemistry projects:

PhD students in chemical biology currently working towards the development of novel pharmaceuticals.

MSc research projects from the School of Chemistry Leicester Cancer Research Centre and Biological Sciences on a range of research projects relating to cancer prevention and treatment.

Undergraduate projects in the School of Chemistry including final year MChem projects. Focusing on using synthetic organic chemistry to answer biological questions.

Undergraduate projects in Biological Sciences including in silico drug design and analytical projects. 


Lectures and tutorials on the Cancer Molecular Pathology and Therapeutics MSc

Tutorials in Biological Sciences BSc


MChem Hons. with Industrial Experience - Manchester University

PhD - Chemical Biology - Manchester University

AdvanceHE Fellowship (FHEA) - University of Leicester

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