Professor Colin J Suckling


OBE, BSc, PhD, DSc, CChem, FRSC, FRSA, HonFRCPSEdin, FRCPSGlas, FHEA, FRSE Freeland Professor of Chemistry, University of Strathclyde.

Prof. Colin Suckling obtained a first class honours degree from the University of Liverpool in 1967, and his PhD in 1970 working on the synthesis of porphyrins. His DSc followed in 1989 based on work carried out at the University of Strathclyde where Colin has been employed since 1972.

Prof. Suckling was Freeland Professor of Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde from 1989 to 2012. During the 1990s until 2002, he served successively as Dean of the Faculty of Science, Deputy Principal, and Vice Principal of the University of Strathclyde. Much of Colin’s work during that time was strategic, including the development of inter-institutional and interdisciplinary research partnerships, notably the research collaboration with the University of Glasgow (WestCHEM), which was recognised publicly with the award of OBE in 2006. During this time, significant effort was also put into the commercialisation of research both through his work as a senior officer of the University and specifically in the commercialisation of discoveries related to the synthesis of leucovorin, a compound extensively used as part of cancer chemotherapy.

Prof. Suckling was one of the first scientists to emphasise, and to exemplify, the symbiosis of chemistry and biology through his studies of enzymes and their models. Particular progress has been made in the field of fused pyrimidine compounds with anticancer and anti-parasitic activity, and in the field of minor groove binders for DNA with antibacterial activity. In the case of the minor groove binders, MGB Biopharma has developed one compound for clinical trials against Clostridium difficile, and further compounds with exciting activity have been identified in the fields of parasitic and viral infectious disease and cancer. Colin’s standing in the field of heterocyclic and medicinal chemistry has been recognised by the award of the Adrien Albert Lectureship of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2009-10), his appointment as chairman of the 2011 International Congress of Heterocyclic Chemistry held in Glasgow, the Nexxus Lifetime Achievement Award (2011), and the Gold Medal of the Indian Society of Chemists and Biologists (2011). Colin is a Fellow of many learned societies and Royal Colleges including the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Together with his team, Professor Suckling discovered and patented innovations related to the MGB Project. He was one of the first to emphasise the symbiosis of chemistry and biology. Pursuing this interaction, recent research has created genuine therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of various diseases.