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The University of Southampton

Professor Ali Tavassoli 

Professor of Chemical Biology

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Ali is Professor of Chemical Biology at the School of Chemistry, and Chief Scientific Officer of Curve Therapeutics, a VC-backed spin-out company from the Tavassoli lab.

Ali leads an interdisciplinary team of scientists whose efforts are focused on the development of novel chemical tools that enable new insight into the role of protein-protein interactions in cell biology, and as the starting point for new therapeutics. Ali is president of the Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) chemical Biology Interface Division (2020-2023), and a Fellow of the RSC. Ali is on the editorial board of RSC Chemical Biology. Ali was Chair of the RSC's Chemical Biology and Bioorganic Group (2012-2015), and an elected member of the RSC's Chemistry and Biology Interface Division council (2012-2016).

Ali has won a number of awards during his career, including the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences' medal for European Young Chemist in 2008, the RSC Medimmune Protein and peptide Science Award in 2017, and the European Peptide Society's Leonidas Zervas award in 2020.
Ali started his career with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Bristol, this was followed by a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Reading where he developed [2,3]-sigmatropic rearrangement of ammonium ylides under the supervision of Prof. Joe Sweeney.
Ali next moved to the University of Sussex to work with prof. Douglas Young to decipher the mechanism of shikimic acid biosynthesis. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Pennsylvania State University working with Professor Stephen Benkovic; Ali worked on a number of projects there, including being part of the team whose work led to Tavaborole, and being part of the team that developed SICLOPPS screening for protein-protein interaction inhibitors. Ali returned to the UK in 2006 to start his independent career as Lecturer in Chemical Biology at the University of Southampton. Ali was promoted to Reader in 2011 and Professor in 2015. 

Research interests

Ali Tavassoli's Publications and Citation Metrics

The main focus of the Tavassoli lab is the identification and development of cyclic peptide inhibitors of protein-protein interaction using a genetically encoded high-throughput screening platform. Our goal is the development of compounds capable of disrupting the association and assembly of protein complexes. The compounds uncovered in our lab serve as valuable tools that allow better understanding of the role of individual protein-protein interactions in cells. These compounds also form the starting point for the development of therapeutic compounds that target key protein-protein interactions in disease. Our research group is an excellent environment of the training of scientists at the chemistry-biology interface. We use a variety of interdisciplinary techniques to help understand the fundamentals of cell biology and to develop new therapeutic agents.

Ali's postdocs are

Dr Soran Mohammed

Dr Nagarajan Elumalai

Dr Johanne Mbianda

Research group

Chemical Biology, Diagnostics and Therapeutics

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Book Chapters

Professor Ali Tavassoli
Chemistry University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 30

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