Dr Michael Webb

Dr Michael Webb


Mike Webb is an organic chemist with particular interests in biological chemistry. He gained his MSci and PhD from the University of Cambridge working with Professor Chris Abell. He then undertook postdoctoral work with Professor Stephen Benkovic (Penn State) and Professor Alison Smith (Plant Sciences, Cambridge). He joined the School of Chemistry as a Lecturer in Chemical Biology in 2007 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014. His research interests lie at the interface of biochemistry and chemistry and he is a member of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology.


  • Head of Organic Chemistry

Research interests

Mike has long-standing research interests in both biosynthesis and mechanistic aspects of protein chemistry. This has included work on the pathways to the essential metabolites pantothenate (vitamin B5), thiamine (vitamin B1), purines (the constituent building blocks of DNA) and sirohaem. Our current studies in this area are currently focussed on the nature of regulation within such pathways. More recently, we have developed interests in the controlled modification of proteins, the chemical biology of phosphorylation as well as the biosynthesis of natural products. Recent highlights include the characterisation of a fifth protein essential for pantothenate biosynthesis in bacteria, developing methods for quantitative N-terminal labelling of proteins and the synthesis of stable analogues of phosphorylated histidine. The group uses a wide range of complementary biophysical approaches including calorimetry, macromolecular crystallography and organic synthesis. More detailed information about recent research and current projects can be found at the group website.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • MA MSci

Professional memberships

  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Biochemical Society

Student education

I am currently head of the Organic Chemistry teaching section as well as the outgoing lead for assessment and examination in School of Chemistry. In addition to teaching organic and biological chemistry to all levels of the MChem, MNatSc and BSc undergraduate programmes, I teach on the Wellcome Trust PhD scheme's training courses.

Courses taught in 2019/20

  • CHEM1000 Chemistry 1: Bonding and Behaviour (Module Leader)
  • CHEM2290 Equilibrium and Analysis: From Ions to Proteins
  • CHEM3010 Foundations of Chemical Biology
  • CHEM560X Advanced Topics in Chemistry topics O4 Biological Chemistry and M2 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHEM5315 Emerging Topics in Chemical Biology - Protein modification

Research groups and institutes

  • Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>