Welcome to the Beekman Research Group

We are based in the School of Pharmacy at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

We are a Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry group that research the control of protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions with peptides and small molecules.

We are well equipped for synthetic organic chemistry and peptide synthesis, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysical analysis.

Our research designs new methods and new molecules to control biomolecular interactions in disease.


Our research focuses on controlling protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions.

Work in the research group focuses on targeting biomolecular interactions in cancer highlighted by mutations in non-cancerous disease. We have expertise in the design of protein-protein interaction modulators and their evaluation in in vitro protein assays and cellular assays. We use peptides derived from the natural protein partners as scaffolds to identify small molecule inhibitors, suitable for drug development.

Current projects look at 1) inhibiting the immune checkpoint of PD-1/PD-L1 by developing small molecules based on cyclic peptides. 2) Inhibiting the protein-protein interactions in telomerase based on mutations observed in early ageing diseases. 3) Inhibiting the protein-protein interactions of the transcription factors Nrf2 and MafG based on mutations observed in inflammation related cataracts. 4) Controlling protein-protein interactions in the cell division machinery of actinobacteria to identify new antibiotic targets with greater specificity.

A key element of our research includes the application of new methods to design drug like small molecules capable of controlling biomolecular interactions. Our method, peptide-directed binding, uses bioactive peptides as scaffolds to identify small molecular peptide mimetics able to control the target interaction. Peptide-directed binding has remarkably high hit rates with few compounds prepared, enabling the identification of chemical probes and leads.


Our research is funded by UEA Faculty of Science, BBSRC Norwich Research Park Doctoral Training Program, BigC: Norfolk’s Cancer Charity, The Academy of Medical Sciences, The Royal Society, The Royal Society of Chemistry, and Worldwide Cancer Research


Funded PhD positions will be advertised here. Research Assistant and Post-Doctoral positions will be advertised here.

Current Opportunities

Self-funded opportunity:
Designing inhibitors of essential protein-interactions for bacterial cell division (BEEKMANA_U23SF)

We are always happy to discuss supporting applications to externally funded studentships and fellowships. Please email Andrew to discuss current and potential projects with the group. Some funding agencies for PhD studentships and Post-Doctoral fellowships are listed in the Join Us page.