Professor Steven Bull

Head of School of Chemistry

School/Department: Chemistry, School of



Steve obtained a BSc Joint Honours degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry from the University of Cardiff (Wales) in 1986 and a PhD in biocatalysis under the guidance of Dr David Kelly. He then carried out postdoctoral studies on natural product synthesis at the University of Queensland (Australia) working in collaboration with Dr Ray Carman. He returned to the UK in 1994 to take up a postdoctoral position with Professor Stephen G Davies on stereoselective synthesis at the University of Oxford. After a brief time working in the drug discovery companies Oxford Asymmetry and Oxford Combinatorial, developing asymmetric and combinatorial routes to chiral drug molecules, he took up a Lectureship at St Catherine’s College, Oxford (1998) where he continued his research working on a range of synthetic and sensing projects. He then moved to take up a fully independent Lectureship position at the University of Bath in 2001, progressing through the ranks before being appointed to a full Professorship in Organic Chemistry and Drug Discovery in 2016. After 20 years at Bath, Steve moved to Chemistry at the University of Leicester to take up the Head of School of role in 2023.


The Bull group is interested in developing synthetic methodology to prepare functional molecules that exhibit interesting physical and biological properties. Over the years, these interests have led to the discovery of novel reactions, new stereoselective protocols for the preparation of natural products, metabolites, pheromones, repellents, drugs and antibiotics and the development of fluorescent sensors to detect analytes in cellular systems. His multidisciplinary research team collaborates widely with research groups from the UK, Ireland, USA, Australia, China, Thailand and Japan, with researchers from >15 different countries having spent time in his research group over the years.


Steve has published >220 papers that currently attract a H-Index of 52. A representative range of recent publications from his research group are given below.

For a full up to date publication list see Google Scholar.


Steve supervises projects in organic chemistry and chemical biology, many of which are carried out collaboration with other research groups throughout the UK and the rest of the world. He has successfully graduated >50 PhD students and collaborated with >20 PDRAs, several of whom now hold senior positions in academia and the wider chemical industry. Her received the University of Bath prize for Excellence in Doctoral supervision in 2013.

He currently has research programs investigating a range of projects in the areas of Novel Synthetic Organic Methodology, Sustainable Chemistry, Molecular Sensing, Chemical Biology, and Drug Discovery.

Please contact Steve directly for enquires regarding opportunities for PhD studentships or postdoctoral positions:


Steve has taught a wide range of material across organic and medicinal chemistry modules over the years.

From 2023 he will teach:

  • CH3025 Metals in Synthesis
  • CH4211 Medicinal Chemistry.

Press and media

  • Drug Discovery
  • Chemical Biology
  • Sustainability
  • Sensing.


  • RSC Prize for UG degree performance
  • Teaching and Research Fellowship at St Catherines College, Oxford
  • Royal Society Industrial Fellowship
  • Tetrahedron:Asymmetry prize for most cited paper
  • Daiwa prize for Scientific collaboration with Japan
  • University of Bath Prize for Excellence in Doctoral Supervision
  • Visiting Research Fellowships/Professorships at Clermont Ferrand, Paris, Sydney, Orsay, ECUST, Monash, Osaka and Canterbury.


Steve has delivered over 125 national and international seminars on his research work at Universities, Conferences and Companies.

Talks at Top 50 Universities: Cambridge (UK), UCL (UK), NUS (Singapore), NTU (Singapore), Peking (China), Tokyo (Japan), ANU (Australia), Kyoto (Japan), Kings (UK), Seoul National (Korea), Melbourne, UCLA (USA), Melbourne (Australia), NYU (USA), UNSW (Australia), Zhejiang (China).

Selected Conference talks. IUPAC (Queensland, Bangkok), ACS Conferences (Washington. San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, Boston, New Orleans), Pacifichem (2005, 2010, 2015), CASE Conferences (Bath, Austin, Dublin, Xian, Shanghai x 2, Tokyo). RSC Carbohydrate conference.

Selected company talks: GlaxoSmithKline Stevenage; Astra Zeneca Avonmouth; Astra Zeneca Macclesfield; Astra Zeneca Charnwood; Evotec; Charles River; UCB Celltech.


  • Synthetic Chemistry
  • Sustainability
  • Chemical Biology
  • Chemical Sensing
  • Drug Discovery.


  • BSc Joint Honours in Chemistry/Biochemistry (University of Cardiff)
  • PhD (University of Cardiff)
  • PDRA (University of Queensland)
  • PDRA (University of Oxford)

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