Jon did a DPhil in chemistry in the lab of Professor Sir Jack Baldwin at the University of Oxford, working on antibiotic biosynthesis and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases. He did a post-doc in the lab of Professor Chris Schofield working on the Hypoxia-inducible-factor hydroxylase Factor-Inhibiting-HIF and enzymes involved in biosynthesis of clavulanic acid. He joined the SGC in 2004 with responsibility for a team producing structures of proteins involved in membrane receptor signalling such as GTPases, 14-3-3 proteins, RGS domains and PDZ domains. Since 2007 he has focussed his research on kinase structural biology and structures of key proteins involved in cell signalling.
We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of proteins involved in cellular signalling, especially those involved in phosphorylation such as protein kinases. There are over 500 protein kinases in the human genome and most of them remain poorly characterized despite the importance of signalling in regulating physiology. Our approach is to use high resolution structural information for the generation of selective inhibitors (chemical probes) which we use to gain understanding of the functions of these largely uncharacterized proteins. Our lab generated a large repository of efficient expression systems, recombinant proteins and crystal structures that now enables family wide structural comparison and screening. Together with the recently established SGC site at the University of Campinas we aim to generate new chemical probes against novel protein kinases. We also have research interests in cellular regulation by ADP-ribosylation, which links epigenetics to metabolism; lipid kinases; and sphingolipid biosynthesis, which has strong links to both inflammation and cancer, and where mutations in the various proteins involved are associated with a variety of rare diseases.