Skip to main content
School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Dr Wojciech Kopec


Lecturer in Computational Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Room Number: Joseph Priestley Building, Room G.06


Dr Wojciech Kopec is a Lecturer in Computational Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry, working on biophysical mechanisms and pharmacology of ion channels using computational approaches. Before joining QMUL in 2023, Wojciech worked for several years at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Goettingen, Germany, focusing on computational electrophysiology simulations. Wojciech enjoys integrating computational and experimental approaches in a truly interdisciplinary manner.

Dr Kopec got his bachelor and master degrees in Chemistry from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, where he worked on the application of graph theory in chemistry and molecular modelling of polycation interactions with lipid membranes. For his doctoral studies, he moved to Odense, Denmark, where he worked at MEMPHYS - Centre for Biomembrane Physics, located at the University of Southern Denmark, where he focused on studying ion binding and selectivity of ion pumps. During his PhD, Dr Kopec visited the University of Chicago, working with prof. Benoit Roux on polarizable force fields. After obtaining his PhD degree, Dr Kopec moved to Germany, to work with prof. Bert de Groot at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Goettingen, on ion permeation and gating mechanisms of potassium channels. After working for a few years as a postdoc, Dr Kopec became a Project Group Leader at the same institute, continuing his work on ion channels. In August 2023, he moved to the Queen Mary University of London.



Undergraduate courses

  • CHE305, Computational Chemistry (since 2024)
  • CHE100, Essential Skills for Chemists (since 2023)


Postgraduate courses

  • CHE705P, Molecular Modelling for Drug Discovery (since 2024)


Research Interests:

I use physics-based numerical models to understand the dynamic behavior, on the atomistic scale, of complex molecular machines - proteins, membranes and small molecules. In particular, I use Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations and related methods to gain an unfiltered view into physics of processes happening at the interfaces of biological cells and their synthetic counterparts. Such an approach is often referred to as ‘computational microscope’, and I am using it to discover novel mechanisms governing biological processes, with an overarching goal of exploiting them in the future to solve major societal issues: in medicinal or environmental science.

I am currently focused on computational studies of transport phenomena across biological and synthetic membranes. In our bodies, these processes are controlled by specialized proteins - ion channels and transporters. Malfunctions of those proteins often lead to diseases, and it is estimated 15-20% of current drugs target ion channels. I aim to discover and characterize molecular mechanisms of action of these proteins, and exploit them for drug design and biotechnological applications.



Kopec W., Thomson A.S., de Groot B.L., Rothberg B.S., Interactions between selectivity filter and pore helix control filter gating in the MthK channel, Journal of General Physiology, 155(8), 2023.

Öster C., Mollevan, K.T., Goold B., Hendriks K., Lange S., Becker S., de Groot B.L., Kopec W., Andreas L.B., Lange A., Direct detection of bound ammonium ions in the selectivity filter of ion channels by solid-state NMR, Journal of American Chemical Society, 144(9): 4147-4157, 2022

Mironenko A., Zachariae U., de Groot B.L., Kopec W., The persistent question of potassium channel permeation mechanisms, Journal of Molecular Biology, 167002, 2021

Kopec W., Rothberg B.S., de Groot B.L., Molecular mechanism of a potassium channel gating through activation gate-selectivity filter coupling, Nature Communications 10(1):5366, 2020

Kopec W., Köpfer D.A., Vickery O.N., Bondarenko A.S., Jansen T.L.C., de Groot B.L., Zachariae U., Direct knock-on of desolvated ions governs strict ion selectivity in K+ channels, Nature Chemistry 10(8):813-820, 2018


    Back to top