Dr David J Wright


My work at the University of Leeds has two main aims: firstly to identify small molecule binding sites to ion channels with chemical crosslinking and secondly to determine the 3D structures of these channels with cryo-electron microscopy. This multidisciplinary project is funded by the BBSRC in a collaboration between Dr Robin Bon, Professor David Beech, Dr Stephen Muench, Dr Stuart Warriner and Dr Megan Wright between the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Faculty of Biology and the School of Chemistry.

In previous positions, I have worked towards identifying the 3D structures of drug resistance transporters with x-ray crystallography.  I studied my PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge in the membrane protein structural biology lab of Dr Chris Tate. My project was to develop a method to improve the probability of the crystallisation of bacterial drug resistance transporters by mutagenesis. I then completed a post-doctoral placement at Astex Therapeutics, where I set up membrane protein expression, construct screening, purification and crystallisation screening at the company.

Research interests

It is estimated that over half of drugs target membrane proteins. To design more selective and effective drugs it is often necessary to find out where and how they interact with these membrane proteins. A common theme in my research is to find these interaction sites: this can be achieved using a chemical crosslinking technique as well as the determination of the 3D structure of the membrane protein bound to its drug. With this information, it might then be possible to design more effective drugs to treat a wide variety of diseases.


  • MBioch – University of Oxford
  • PhD – University of Cambridge (MRC LMB)

Professional memberships

  • Early Career Membership Biochemical Society

Student education

Course Tutor – Introduction to Medical Sciences (IMS) 

Lecturer – Membrane Proteins and Carbohydrates 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine