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. He is also a theme leader in the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology (WISB) Centre and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science (CIPPS).
Challis has co-authored more than 135 publications on the chemistry and biology of bioactive natural products with >17,600 citations and an H-index of 52, and has given more than 190 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), and the Bristol Myers Squibb Lecture in Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley (2020). He was invited to give the Andy Derome Lectures in Organic Chemistry at the University of Oxford in 2020 (postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic). 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, Antibiotics and Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology. He previously served as a member of the editorial advisory board for Current Drug Discovery Technologies (2008-2014). 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 is the committee chair for the sixth meeting 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 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).