Greg Challis graduated with a BSc in Chemistry (1994) from Imperial College London and a DPhil in Organic Chemistry (1998) from the University of Oxford, for research carried out under the supervision of Prof Sir Jack Baldwin FRS. He carried out postdoctoral research as a Wellcome Trust International Prize Travelling Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, USA, with Prof Craig Townsend (1998-2000) and in the Department of Genetics at John Innes Centre, UK, with Prof Keith Chater FRS (2000-2001). In 2001 he took up a lectureship in Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick. In 2003 he was promoted to Senior Lecturer and in 2006 he was promoted to Professor. In July 2016, he was appointed as the Monash Warwick Alliance Professor of Sustainable Chemistry (Chemical and Synthetic Biology), a joint position between the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick, and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. From 2014-2022 he was the 'Engineering Biosynthetic Pathways' theme leader in the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology (WISB) Centre. In July 2021, he was appointed as a Distinguished Research Professor at Monash University, a position he holds alongside the Monash Warwick Alliance Professorship at the University of Warwick. He is currently a Chief Investigator in the Monash node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science (CIPPS) and co-director of the Monash Warwick Alliance AMR Training Program in Emerging Superbug Threats.
Challis has co-authored more than 140 publications on the chemistry and biology of bioactive natural products with >21,450 citations and an H-index of 57, and has given more than 200 invited lectures at international conferences, universities and research institutes. He has delivered several named lectures, including the GlaxoSmithKline Lecture at the University of Nottingham (2011), the Amgen Lecture in Organic Chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2017), the GE Healthcare Lecture at McGill University (2018), the Bristol Myers Squibb Lecture in Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley (2020) and the Andy Derome Lectures in Organic Chemistry at the University of Oxford (2022), and has twice been invited to deliver lectures to the Basel Chemical Society (2011 and 2023). He is the recipient of several awards and prizes including the Gabor Medal (2009) and a Wolfson Research Merit Award (2013-2018) from the Royal Society, the 2017 Interdiscplinary Prize and 2009 Hickinbottom Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the 2007 Fleming Prize Lecture of the Society for General Microbiology, the 2007 Wain Medal Lecture of the University of Kent, the 2002 Meldola Medal and Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the 1998 GlaxoWellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB).
Challis served as a commissioning editor for Natural Product Reports, the premier review journal in the natural products field, from 2013-2018, and currently serves on the editorial advisory boards for the Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology and Antibiotics. He previously served as a member of the editorial advisory boards for Current Drug Discovery Technologies (2008-2014) and Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology (2015-2022). He was a core member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's Committee D (Molecules, Cells and Industrial Biotechnology) from 2012-2015 and has served as a member of advisory committees for industrial biotechnology (2010) and metagenomics (2012-2013) for this research council. He was also a member of the management board for BBSRC's NPRONET network in industrial biotechnology and bioenergy (2014-2019). In addition, he has served on the organising committee for all five of the Royal Society of Chemistry's highly successful Directing Biosynthesis series of International Conferences and was the committee chair for the sixth and seventh meetings in the series. He also serves as an organising committee member for the Society of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology's Natural Products Discovery and Development in the Post Genomic Era International Conference Series and was on the scientific committee of the 4th European Conference on Natural Products. In 2018, he became co-director of the John Innes / Rudjer Boskovic Summer Schools in Applied Molecular Microbiology and a Scientific Committee Member for the International Course on Antibiotics and Resistance (ICARe).