Professor Glenn Burley

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Personal statement

Glenn A. Burley (GAB) is Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Strathclyde. The main focus of GAB’s research programme is the development of molecular probes to further our understanding of processes involved in gene expression. GAB was awarded a Bachelor of Medicinal Chemistry (Hon. I) and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wollongong, Australia. GAB was a post-doctoral fellow in the Fullerene Science Centre at the University of Sussex (2001-2003) and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Munich (2004-2006).  GAB began his independent career as an EPSRC Advanced Fellow in 2007 at the University of Leicester, before moving to Strathclyde in 2011.


Biocatalytic alkylation cascades: recent advances and future opportunities for late-stage functionalization
McKean Iain J W, Hoskisson Paul A, Burley Glenn A
Chembiochem (2020)
Contra-thermodynamic E → Z isomerization of cinnamamides via selective energy transfer catalysis
Becker Marc R, Morack Tobias, Robertson Jack, Metternich Jan B, Mück-Lichtenfeld Christian, Daniliuc Constantin, Burley Glenn A, Gilmour Ryan
Tetrahedron (2020)
Two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy : an emerging analytical tool?
Fritzsch Robby, Hume Samantha, Minnes Lucy, Baker Matthew J, Burley Glenn A, Hunt Neil T
Analyst Vol 145, pp. 2014-2024 (2020)
S-adenosyl methionine cofactor modifications enhance the biocatalytic repertoire of small molecule C-alkylation
McKean Iain J W, Sadler Joanna C, Cuetos Anibal, Frese Amina, Humphreys Luke D, Grogan Gideon, Hoskisson Paul A, Burley Glenn A
Angewandte Chemie International Edition Vol 58, pp. 17583-17588 (2019)
Molecular construction of sulfonamide antisense oligonucleotides
Korotkovs Valerijs, Reichenbach Linus F, Pescheteau Clémentine, Burley Glenn A, Liskamp Rob M J
Journal of Organic Chemistry Vol 84, pp. 10635-10648 (2019)
Splice-switching small molecules : a new therapeutic approach to modulate gene expression
Taladriz-Sender Andrea, Campbell Emma, Burley Glenn A
Methods Vol 167, pp. 134-142 (2019)

More publications

Research interests

The Burley group applies a problem-based ethos that utilizes synthetic organic chemistry, biosynthesis and physical organic chemistry to explore regulatory mechanisms of transcription and RNA processing. In collaboration with bio-engineers, the group is constructing a new generation of nucleic acid-programmed nano-assemblies for diagnostic and light-harvesting applications.  

Three nodes of research are currently being pursued:

  1. Chemical Biology of alternative RNA splicing (in collaboration with Prof. Ian Eperon & Dr Cyril Dominguez, University of Leicester) – Alternative RNA splicing is a major contributor to protein diversity and genetic regulation operating in eukaryotic cells, yet the mechanisms by which it is regulated are poorly understood. This research programme is aimed at unravelling fundamental issues associated with splice site selection using small molecule and large molecule (oligonucleotides and protein hybrids) probes. These methods are being applied to further our understanding in diseases such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Prostate Cancer.
  2. DNA-based construction of molecular devices (in collaboration with Prof. Richard Cogdell FRS & Dr Alasdair Clark, University of Glasgow) - We are currently developing self-assembly approaches for the construction of DNA-programmed optoelectronic and light-harvesting devices. DNA-binding molecules are being developed that read the genetic code of DNA and direct the assembly of noble metal nanoparticles and light-harvesting proteins in defined positions along a DNA nanostructure. We are now applying this technology to build DNA-programmed light-harvesting devices and plasmonic waveguides for molecular electronics and medical diagnostic applications.
  3. Synthetic Organic Chemistry (in collaboration with Dr Allan Watson, University of St. Andrews) - New bioconjugation methodology is being developed using ynamines as a new generation of click chemistry reagents. These functional groups display unique reactivity relative to their alkyne cognates enabling the efficient and chemoselective construction of bioconjugates and as target identificaiton and validation tools in chemical biology.

See for further details.

Professional activities

EXternal Examiner
Invited Lecture
Dynamic Biosensors User Meeting
Alexander von Humboldt Visiting Professorship
Copper-Catalysed Modification of Biomolecules: Mechanistic Insights and Applications
External examiner

More professional activities


How do RNA-binding proteins control splice site selection?
Burley, Glenn (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2025
Glasgow Early Treatment Arm FavIpiravir (GETAFIX): A randomized controlled study of favipiravir as an early treatment arm in COVID-19 hospitalized patients (COVID-19)
Burley, Glenn (Principal Investigator)
18-Jan-2020 - 17-Jan-2020
Industrial CASE Account - University of Strathclyde 2017 | Mowat, Jenna
Jamieson, Craig (Principal Investigator) Burley, Glenn (Co-investigator) Mowat, Jenna (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2023
Doctoral Training Partnership 2018-19 University of Strathclyde | Mowat, Jenna
Jamieson, Craig (Principal Investigator) Burley, Glenn (Co-investigator) Mowat, Jenna (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2023
Industrial Case Account - University of Strathclyde 2019 | Abate, Immacolata
Burley, Glenn (Principal Investigator) Tomkinson, Nick (Co-investigator) Abate, Immacolata (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2023
BBSRC Pathfinder: A new genetically-encoded catalytic platform for RNA imaging
Burley, Glenn (Principal Investigator)
09-Jan-2019 - 08-Jan-2019

More projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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