McTernan lab Artificial Molecular Machinery Laboratory

Crick exterior

We are a synthetic chemistry group at the Francis Crick Institute and King’s College London working to create artificial molecular machines capable of performing complex biological tasks.

Supramolecular chemistry is the study of non-covalent interactions between molecules. These non-covalent interactions are critical to biological processes like protein folding, DNA base pairing, and cellular signalling.

Our research looks at how we can combine principles from supramolecular chemistry with biological chemistry and nanotechnology to create new systems capable of carrying out tasks like detecting and responding to chemical signals, or seeking out certain cells in the body. 

We work with interlocked molecular structures like rotaxanes and catenanes, and molecular capsules with defined internal voids. By tapping into the chemical properties of these structures, we can create a host of useful molecular machines including targeted drug delivery vehicles and artificial cellular receptors.