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John Gardiner, B.Sc., Ph.D., F.R.S.C.


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

• Carbohydrate chemistry, including related to synthesis of biologically relevant targets, new methodologies in synthesis, and collaborative applications in biophysical and chemical biology studies. Glycosaminoglycans, and antibiotic related, or COVID-targeted carbohydrates for example.
•Synthesis and properties of complex polyaromatics, 3D structures and nanographene precursors
• Terpenoid as synthetic precursors
• Oligobenzimidazoles - synthesis and biological activities.

Personal profile


BSc (Durham). Harrison-Shearer Prize for Chemistry (highest First) and University Pemberton Scholarship (Highest Finals Part 1, University)

PhD (Durham). Total synthesis of alkaloids in Prof Martin Bryce's lab.

Postdoctoral research: University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) 1988-90 with Mike Jung, returing as Visiting Research Fellow @ UCLA, 1991 and 1992.

Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry : Aston University 1990-93

Moved to UMIST Chemistry in January 1994, and then to the University of Manchester.

Around 16 postdoctoral researchers, ~50 graduate students and 30+ visitors/interns have worked in our group.

Publication output of over 120 papers, review and book chapters.

Research interests

Our research group has interests in synthetic and biological chemistry encompassing methodology, target synthesis, carbohydrate chemistry of various types including oligosaccharide synthesis, biocatalysis and heterocycle chemistry, and also interests in novel dendrimer material synthesis. The group currently comprises a mixture of PDRA/research student members and is based in the Organic Chemistry Labs of the Department of Chemistry.

Carbohydrates and Oligosaccharides: We have active interests in developing new methods to provide biologically-relevant oligosaccharides, with a focus on tools to probe chemical biology and for biomedical targets. Particularly significant interests are in the synthetic heparin oligosaccharide area where we have recently reported a large jump in synthetic scalability for long heparins, a new accelerated block synthesis and have also developed the longest synthetic heparin-like sequences yet reported.

Biocatalysis: Collaboration with Prof Nigel Scruttons lab discovering, developing, engineering and applying new enzyme catalysis for high value chemical synthesis, using screening, engineering and synthetic biology.

Heterocycles: Oligo-heterocyclic synthesis and biological activities (eg DNA ligands).

Dendrimers, polyaryls and nanographene: New arhcitectures based on polaryles and their applications nanographenes.

[visit Gardiner Research Site for further information and any current research vacancies ] 

My group

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Synthesis of Cephalotaxine Alkaloids, University of Durham

Award Date: 1 Sept 1988

Bachelor of Science, BSc Chemistry, First Class. Highest First Prize; University Pemberton Scholar for Highest University-wide Finals Part I, University of Durham

Award Date: 1 Jul 1985

External positions

Supervisor, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Nat Univ of Malaysia)

27 Jan 202230 Sept 2024

Co-Supervisor, University of New England

14 Apr 202130 Jun 2025

Areas of expertise

  • QD Chemistry
  • Synthesis, Carbohydrates, Biocatalysis, Medicinal Chemistry, Oligosaccharides

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Biotechnology
  • Cancer
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Institute of Biotechnology


  • carbohydrates and oligosaccharides
  • biocatalysts
  • glycosaminoglycans
  • dendrimers and polyaryls
  • heterocycles


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