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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Dr Lesley Howell


Director of Education | Reader In Pharma And Medicinal Chemistry | Queen Mary Academy Fellow 2021-2024

Room Number: Joseph Priestley building, Room G.03


Lesley is a Queen Mary Academy Fellow for 2021- 2024.

As a Queen Mary Academy Fellow, Lesley is leading on Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL). PLTL is an active-learning pedagogy that takes a workshop-based approach to student learning. PLTL was developed to address low success rates amongst students. Students who have previously done well in a course are recruited to become Peer Leaders. They meet with small groups of students on a regular basis and facilitate discussions as well as engaging in problem solving related to the course material. In the U.S.A, PLTL has proven effective in increasing student engagement programme, reducing attainment gaps between BAME and White students and has significantly reduced the number of students who are not eligible to progress. These areas are of strategic priority to Queen Mary’s 2030 strategy.

Undergraduate Teaching

Module Organiser for Foundations of Practical Chemistry (CHE101),Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Sem A) (CHE206A) andAdvanced Pharmaceutical Chemistry (CHE306U)

Teaches on:

  • Foundations of Practical Chemistry (CHE101)
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Sem A) (CHE206A)
  • Professional Skills in Chemistry (CHE310)
  • Chemistry Research Project (CHE600)
  • Chemistry Investigative Project (CHE601)
  • Chemistry MSci Research Project (CHE700)

Postgraduate Teaching

Teaches on:

  • Advanced Pharmaceutical Chemistry (CHE306P)


Research Interests:

Research in our group is focused on two themes:

  1. Medicinal Chemistry
  2. Chemical Education

The medicinal chemistry research is focused on protein-protein interactions (PPIs) and harnessing their potential as drug targets. We have a particular interest in G-protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) and collaborate with the McCormick Group at the WHRi on this. We use both solution and solid phase synthesis to generate compounds/peptides capable on interacting with these targets. We take inspiration from natural products when designing compounds but also design new molecules from scratch. Within this theme we have several projects:

  • Development of new approaches/technology to target PPIs
  • Disruption of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) heteromers as novel drug targets
  • Identification and synthesis of ligands for orphan GPCRs

The chemical education research is focused on several areas including outreach and inclusion and diversity. We are interested in the impact of chemistry outreach work. Specifically, what are the most effective forms of outreach and who benefits the most from these with a view to improve the outreach provision here at QMUL and across the UK. We also have an interest in decolonising the National Curriculum (and higher education curriculum) by highlighting the contributions of BAME scientists in the Chemical Sciences and collaborate with Dr Tippu Sheriff on this project. Specific projects include:

  • Does chemistry outreach influence a student’s university choices?
  • Which chemistry outreach events are the most effective?
  • Highlighting the contributions of BAME Scientist within the Chemical Sciences
  • The development and implementation of mixed reality environments to enhance the laboratory experience

Research department



PhD supervision

Public Engagement

See the Chemistry Department's outreach activities here.

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