Dr Dan Donnelly

Dr Dan Donnelly


I am a Senior Lecturer (equivalent to Associate Professor) in Molecular Pharmacology and the Programme Leader for MSc Drug Discovery and Development. I studied BSc Biological Chemistry at Leicester and carried out a PhD in computational molecular modelling of membrane proteins in the Dept Crystallography at Birkbeck College, University of London, under the supervision of Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS and in collaboration with MSD. I moved to Leeds in 1991 as a post doc in Dept. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, working on the molecular biology of tachykinin receptors with Professor John Findlay, before moving to the Dept. Pharmacology (later merged into the School of Biomedical Sciences) as a Lecturer in 1995 where I set up an independent research laboratory focussed mainly on the molecular pharmacology of the GLP-1 and PTH receptors. I have held various roles over the year in the school, including postgraduate tutor and programme leader for the BSc/MBiol Pharmacology degree programmes (10 years). Having had an active research career, including the supervision of 15 PhDs, I have more recently switched my focus fully towards UG and PGT teaching and have been leading the development of a new MSc Drug Discovery and Development (launched October 2022), while I continue to contribute extensively to the teaching on undergraduate BSc/MBiol programmes.


  • Programme Leader for MSc Drug Discovery and Development

Research interests

I started working on understanding the structure, function and molecular pharmacology of GPCRs at the start of my PhD. GPCRs are one of the most diverse and ubiquitous families of integral membrane proteins and they constitute a significant proportion of known drug targets. Mostly preceding the recent explosion of new x-ray and cryo-EM GPCR structures, my group’s research was involved in elucidating the mechanisms by which many of these receptors bind their ligands and transduce their signals across the plasma membrane. Over the years, we contributed to published research on the receptors for tachykinins, angiotensisn, melanocortin, GLP-1, CGRP, and parathyroid hormone using a combination of molecular modelling/dynamics, molecular biology, and cell-based pharmacological assays (funded by Novo Nordisk, GSK, AstraZeneca, BHF, Wellcome and BBSRC).

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


  • BSc 1988, Leicester
  • PhD 1992, London
  • CLTHE 1996, Leeds

Professional memberships

  • British Pharmacological Society

Student education

Academic roles:
  • PGT Programme Leader - MSc Drug Discovery and Development

  • Member of Faculty Taught Student Education Committee (Co-opted member)

  • Member of BMS School Taught Student Education Committee (Programme Manager: MSc Drug Disovery and Development)