Professor Simon Phillips

Professor Simon Phillips


I came to the University of Leeds in 1985 as a Lecturer in the Department of Biophysics, which later joined the School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  I progressed to Reader, Professor and Astbury Professor of Biophysics and the founding Director of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology.  I left my post at Leeds in 2008 to become the Director of the new Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) near Oxford, but I have remained a Visiting Professor of Biophysics at Leeds.  I am also a Visiting Professor of Molecular Biophysics at the University of Oxford. 

I read Chemistry at University College London, and then carried out research leading to a PhD in structural chemistry using X-ray diffraction in 1974.  Following postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, I moved to the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge in 1976 to work with Max Perutz on the structure of proteins, including a short period working with neutron scattering at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the USA.  I then spent two years at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, studying the molecular structure of antibodies, before moving to the University of Leeds in 1985.  I was Director of the RCaH from 2008 to my retirement from that post in 2016.  I remain active part-time in research, and still do some teaching at Oxford.  I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and winner of the 2001 RSC Award for Peptides and Proteins, a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, and author of over 200 scientific papers.  I am currently the President of the British Crystallographic Association.

Research interests

My current research mainly focuses on the structure and function of proteins that process DNA, metalloenzymes, anti-cancer drug design and virus structure.  I use X-ray crystallography and scattering, neutron scattering, electron microscopy and biophysical analysis, well as molecular biology and protein chemistry.

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


  • BSc and PhD in Chemistry, University College London

Professional memberships

  • British Crystallographic Association, President
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow
  • European Molecular Biology Organization, Member
  • Biochemical Society, Member
  • British Biophysical Society, Member