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Professor David Roper

Professor of Biochemistry and Director of Research


Phone: 024 765 28369

Office: IBRB 2.25

Twitter: @davidroper2

Roper webpage

Research Clusters

Microbiology & Infectious Disease

Warwick Centres and GRPs

Health GRP

Warwick Antimicrobial Interdisciplinary Centre

Vacancies and Opportunities

For PhD and postdoctoral opportunities, and interest in potential collaborations, please contact me at the above email address.

Research Interests

Research in my group is focused on the way in which pathogenic bacteria make their cell walls grow, how that is related to the ways in which they divide and reproduce and also the relationship of these processes to the discovery and resistance to antibiotics

  1. Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis: The majority of my work is concentrated on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underpin the biosynthesis of peptidoglycan pathogens with particular emphasis on the way in which cell shape is determined and controlled by RodA-PBP and the wider elongasome. This involved coordination of processes from inside to outside the cell membrane
  2. Bacteria Cell division: Cell division is the largest morphological change that any cell undergoes and has common elements in all forms of life. In bacteria this is controlled by a dynamic complex of proteins, many of which are located at or in the cell membrane making their study and analysis challenging. FtsZ and the proteins which interact are of key interest in that respect.
  3. New antibacterial drug discovery: Our studies on cell division and their linkage to peptidoglycan synthesis has an intimate connection to the targets of existing and potentially future antimicrobial drugs. We are investigating a number of these including the potential of the lipid II polymerisation process as a target for such drugs.
  4. Molecular Mechanisms of Antibiotic resistance. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, in relation to the biosynthesis of the cell wall including the mode of action of the lipid II sequestering antibiotic, vancomycin and our discovery of the way in which D-cycloserine targets three different aspects of peptidoglycan biosynthesis.

Research: Technical Summary

David Roper has a background in microbial biochemistry and was awarded an MRC Career Development Award fellowship at the University of York prior to taking an academic position at the University of Warwick, where he has now Professor of Biochemistry and Director of Research.

The Roper group uses interdisciplinary approaches from basic microbiology to molecular structure determination by X-ray crystallography, relating enzyme and protein mechanism to structure and function at a cellular level. His research encompasses both fundamental and translation approaches including assay development and drug discovery approaches. In addition, his research group uses a number of approaches to reengineer pathway intermediates as chemical probes, substrates and inhibitors to allows novel insight to the biology underpinning these pathways which may lead to biotechnological exploration and exploitation. This includes the design and synthesis of chemical mimetic small molecule probes for mechanistic and translational studies.

  • 2018 - . Professor, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick
  • 2020 - 2021. Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University New York, 2020 visiting Schaefer Research Scholar
  • 2018 - 2019. Academy of Medical Sciences, Hamied Foundation UK-India AMR Visiting Professorships
  • 2014 - 2017. Reader in Structural Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick
  • 2015 - 2016. BBSRC-RSE Enterprise Fellow, Antimicrobial Discovery Solutions Ltd.
  • 2006 - 2014. Associate Professor of Structural Biology, Biological Sciences, University of Warwick.
  • 2001 - 2006. Lecturer in Structural Biology, Biological Sciences, University of Warwick
  • 1996 - 2001. MRC Career Development Fellow, Dept Chemistry, University of York.
  • 1990 - 1996. SERC & BBSRC Post-doctoral Fellow, Dept Chemistry, University of York.
  • 1987-1990. Ph.D. Biochemistry, Dept Biochemistry, University of Leicester.
  • 1983-1997. B.Sc. Biochemistry, Dept Biochemistry, University College Cardiff.