School of Chemistry

Search site

Megan Wright

University Academic Fellow
Member of the Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry group

Contact details

Room: G18b
Tel: +44 (0)113 3433196


Chemical biology
Chemical probes
Peptide synthesis
Protein chemistry

Photograph of Megan Wright

Research interests

Our research uses the creativity of chemistry to understand basic biology and tackle important questions in health and disease. We work in the area of chemical proteomics, developing chemical tools to detect and manipulate small molecule-protein interactions. These interactions range from the modification of a protein with a small molecule, to the binding of a drug to an enzyme, or the interaction of a signal with its receptor. This research is highly interdisciplinary and spans organic and peptide synthesis, protein biochemistry, cell biology and quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics.

We are interested in exploring interactions between molecules directly in living systems. For example, we are studying the interplay between bacterial pathogens and the host: cells communicate and manipulate each other using small molecule signals, yet in many cases we do not know how signals are sensed or we lack the tools to understand the mechanism of sensing. One area of our research is in ‘weaponising’ compounds with photo- or chemically-reactive functionalities to stabilise their interactions with protein targets. Because we are interested in applying tools in live cells, we develop probes equipped with small, minimally disruptive tags. These tags then act as handles for selective labelling of probe-protein complexes for analysis.

A funded PhD studentship, joint with Prof Frank Sobott and Prof Richard Bayliss in the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, is available for start October 2017. Please contact Megan with any enquiries. Details are given here:



Wright MH, Fetzer C, Sieber SA Chemical Probes Unravel an Antimicrobial Defense Response Triggered by Binding of the Human Opioid Dynorphin to a Bacterial Sensor Kinase Journal of the American Chemical Society 139 6152-6159, 2017
View abstract

RITZEFELD M, WRIGHT MH, TATE EW New developments in probing and targeting protein acylation in malaria, leishmaniasis and African sleeping sickness Parasitology 1-18, 2017
View abstract

Wright MH, Paape D, Price HP, Smith DF, Tate EW Global profiling and inhibition of protein lipidation in vector and host stages of the sleeping sickness parasite trypanosoma brucei ACS Infectious Diseases 2 427-441, 2016
View abstract

Lehmann J, Wright MH, Sieber SA Making a Long Journey Short: Alkyne Functionalization of Natural Product Scaffolds Chemistry - A European Journal 22 4666-4678, 2016
View abstract

Wright MH, Sieber SA Chemical proteomics approaches for identifying the cellular targets of natural products NATURAL PRODUCT REPORTS 33 681-708, 2016

Wright MH, Paape D, Storck EM, Serwa RA, Smith DF, Tate EW Global analysis of protein N-myristoylation and exploration of N-myristoyltransferase as a drug target in the neglected human pathogen leishmania donovani Chemistry and Biology 22 342-354, 2015
View abstract

Hutton JA, Goncalves V, Brannigan JA, Paape D, Wright MH, Waugh TM, Roberts SM, Bell AS, Wilkinson AJ, Smith DF, Leatherbarrow RJ, Tate EW Structure-based design of potent and selective leishmania N -myristoyltransferase inhibitors Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 57 8664-8670, 2014
View abstract

Thinon E, Serwa RA, Broncel M, Brannigan JA, Brassat U, Wright MH, Heal WP, Wilkinson AJ, Mann DJ, Tate EW Global profiling of co- and post-translationally N-myristoylated proteomes in human cells Nature Communications 5 -, 2014
View abstract

Guttery DS, Poulin B, Ramaprasad A, Wall RJ, Ferguson DJP, Brady D, Patzewitz EM, Whipple S, Straschil U, Wright MH, Mohamed AMAH, Radhakrishnan A, Arold ST, Tate EW, Holder AA, Wickstead B, Pain A, Tewari R Genome-wide functional analysis of plasmodium protein phosphatases reveals key regulators of parasite development and differentiation Cell Host and Microbe 16 128-140, 2014
View abstract

Bell AS, Goncalves V, Hutton JA, Waugh TM, Wright MH, Yu Z, Brannigan JA, Paape D, Leatherbarrow RJ, Tate EW, Wilkinson AJ, Smith DF N-Myristoyltransferase inhibitors as anti-leishmanial agents ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY 247 , 2014

Wright MH, Clough B, Rackham MD, Rangachari K, Brannigan JA, Grainger M, Moss DK, Bottrill AR, Heal WP, Broncel M, Serwa RA, Brady D, Mann DJ, Leatherbarrow RJ, Tewari R, Wilkinson AJ, Holder AA, Tate EW Validation of N-myristoyltransferase as an antimalarial drug target using an integrated chemical biology approach Nature Chemistry 6 112-121, 2014
View abstract

Tate EW, Bell AS, Rackham MD, Wright MH N-Myristoyltransferase as a potential drug target in malaria and leishmaniasis Parasitology 141 37-49, 2014
View abstract

Poulin B, Patzewitz EM, Brady D, Silvie O, Wright MH, Ferguson DJP, Wall RJ, Whipple S, Guttery DS, Tate EW, Wickstead B, Holder AA, Tewari R Unique apicomplexan IMC sub-compartment proteins are early markers for apical polarity in the malaria parasite Biology Open 2 1160-1170, 2013
View abstract

Morkunas B, Galloway WRJD, Wright M, Ibbeson BM, Hodgkinson JT, O'Connell KMG, Bartolucci N, Valle MD, Welch M, Spring DR Inhibition of the production of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence factor pyocyanin in wild-type cells by quorum sensing autoinducer-mimics Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry 10 8452-8464, 2012
View abstract

Hodgkinson JT, Galloway WRJD, Wright M, Mati IK, Nicholson RL, Welch M, Spring DR Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of non-natural modulators of quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry 10 6032-6044, 2012
View abstract

Price HP, Hodgkinson MR, Wright MH, Tate EW, Smith BA, Carrington M, Stark M, Smith DF A role for the vesicle-associated tubulin binding protein ARL6 (BBS3) in flagellum extension in Trypanosoma brucei Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research 1823 1178-1191, 2012
View abstract

Heal WP, Wright MH, Thinon E, Tate EW Multifunctional protein labeling via enzymatic N-terminal tagging and elaboration by click chemistry Nature Protocols 7 105-117, 2012
View abstract

Heal WP, Jovanovic B, Bessin S, Wright MH, Magee AI, Tate EW Bioorthogonal chemical tagging of protein cholesterylation in living cells Chemical Communications 47 4081-4083, 2011
View abstract

Wright MH, Heal WP, Mann DJ, Tate EW Protein myristoylation in health and disease Journal of Chemical Biology 3 19-35, 2010
View abstract

Evans AC, Skey J, Wright M, Qu W, Ondeck C, Longbottom DA, O'Reilly RK Functional and tuneable amino acid polymers prepared by RAFT polymerization Journal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry 47 6814-6826, 2009
View abstract