Joseph P. Bluck


I am a current fourth and final year DPhil student with an interest in using in silico tools to aid hit-to-candidate optimisation, searching for increased potency and selectivity. Through combining alchemical free energy calculations with medicinal chemistry decisions, the aim is improve the efficiency of the drug design process.

This exciting project finds me combining the expertise of multiple departments; Under the shared supervision of Prof. Stuart J. Conway in the Department of Chemistry, Prof. Philip Biggin in the Department of Biochemistry, and Prof. Garrett Morris, from the Oxford Protein Informatics Group (OPIG). Through the SABS DTC Industrial Collaboration, I am very lucky to also be supervised by Dr. Philip G. Humphreys, and now Francesco Rianjongdee, from GSK. If you are after Coco's videos, click here or here.

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With our increased understanding of the role epigenetics play in various diseases, finding small molecule inhibitors is proving vital in our probing of the complex epigenetic regulation networks. I am looking at using in silico free energy calculations to direct inhibitor optimisation. This methodology will be applied to various bromodomains within family VII, to investigate how the method can be used to increase affinity and selectivity of known binders.


L. E. Jennings, M. Schiedel, D. S. Hewings, S. Picaud, C. M. C. Laurin, P. A. Bruno, J. P. Bluck, A.R. Scorah, J. K. Reynolds, M. Moroglu, I. N. Mistry, A. Hicks, J. Clayton, C. Evans, G. Stazi, P. C. Biggin, K. Mapp, E. M. Hammond, P. G. Humphreys, P. Filippakopoulos, S. J. Conway. (2018). BET bromodomain ligands: Probing the WPF shelf to improve BRD4 bromodomain affinity and metabolic stability. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 26, 2937–2957.

M. Aldeghi, J. P. Bluck, & P. C. Biggin(2018). Absolute Alchemical Free Energy Calculations for Ligand Binding: A Beginner’s Guide. In M. Gore & U. B. Jagtap (Eds.), Computational Drug Discovery and Design, Methods in Molecular Biology (Vol. 1762, pp. 199–232). Humana Press, New York, NY.



DPhil, University of Oxford

(2015 - )

Through the Systems Approaches to Biomedical Sciences Centre for Doctoral Training (SABS CDT).

MChem, University of Oxford

(2011 - 2015)

Part II Title: 'Studies on Protein Methyltransferases and their Targets', under Prof. Chris Schofield FRS.

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