Professor Ulrich Günther

Professor Ulrich Günther

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Professor Of Biophysical Chemistry

Contact details

0121 414 8361
0121 414 8357
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Metabolism and Biochemistry, Biomolecular NMR.


Structural Biology and Biomarkers

Research Activity

My main research interest has always been in Biomolecular NMR with a primary focus on protein interactions. This work included the development of line shape analysis as a tool to study protein ligand interactions.

More recently I started to work on metabolic analysis, mainly in the context of cancer. I am developing this work in the direction of metabolic flux analysis. Much of the recent work about metabolomics of AML cell lines was done in collaboration with Chris Bunce and Mark Viant.

Another field of research has been in Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) which has great potential in the context of metabolic flux analysis but also opens new avenues for NMR as it can boost its sensitivity by several orders of magnitude. My DNP research has been focussed on low temperature ex situ polarization. Recent work highlights quantum tunnelling as an additional polarisation mechanism at low temperatures.

I am also part of the at the Systems Science for Health scheme funded by the University of Birmingham, a new research initiative at the University of Birmingham focussed on Systems Science in a medical context with applications in cancer, inflammation and obesity.

I am part of serval EU programmes and coordinator of the EU projetcs WW-NMR and METAFLUX.

Other activities

Scientific Director of the Henry Wellcome Building for Biomolecular NMR.



D.V. Rubtsov, H. Jenkins, C. Ludwig, J. Easton, M. R. Viant, U. Günther, J.L. Griffin and Nigel Hardy. 'Proposed reporting requirements for the description of NMR-based metabolomics experiments'. Metabolomics, 3(3), 223-229 (2007).

Helen M. Parsons, Christian Ludwig, Ulrich L. Günther and Mark R. Viant. 'Improved classification accuracy in 1- and 2-dimensional NMR metabolomics data using the variance stabilising generalised logarithm transformation'. BMC Bioinformatics 8, 234 (2007)

MR Viant, C Ludwig, S Rhodes, UL Günther and D Allaway. 'Validation of a urine metabolome fingerprint in dog for phenotypic classification'. Metabolomics 3(4), 453-463 (2007).

M. R. Viant, C. Ludwig and U. L. Günther, '1D and 2D NMR Spectroscopy: from Metabolic Fingerprinting to Profiling'. In: Metabolomics, Metabonomics and Metabolic Profiling, Ed. W. Griffiths (2007).

A.-H. Emwas, S. Tiziani, C. Ludwig, M.R. Viant and U.L. Günther. 'Optimised Metabolite Extraction from Blood Serum for 1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy'. Analytical Biochemsitry, 377(1), 16-23 (2008).

S.Tiziani, V. Lopes, U.L. Günther. 'Metabolic profiling of head and neck cancer from human blood serum using 1H NMR spectroscopy'. Neoplasia 11(3), 1-8 (2009).

S Tiziani, A Lodi, M Viant, C Bunce, U Günther. 'Metabolomic profiling of drug responses in acute myeloid leucaemia cell lines'. PloS ONE, 4(1), 4251 (2008).

C Ludwig, M. R. Viant, D. Ward, A. Martin, T. Ismail, P. Johnson, M. Wakelam, U. L. Günther. 'Fast Multidimensional NMR Metabolomics of Colon Cancer', Magn Reson Chem, 47 suppl 1, 568-73 (2009).

Romanska HM, Tiziani S1, Howe R, Gunther U1, Gulzar Z and Lalani E-N. 'NMR Detects PI3k/Akt-Independent Traits Common to Pluripotent Murine Embryonic Stem Cells and their Malignant Counterparts'. Neoplasia, 11, 1301-8 (2009).


Emwas A-H, Saunders M, Ludwig C, and Günther UL. 'terminants for Optimal Enhancement in ex situ DNP Experiments'. Applied Magn Reson, 34, 483-494 (2008).

Saunders MG, Ludwig C, and Günther UL. 'Optimizing the Signal Enhancement In Cryogenic ex situ DNP-NMR'. J Am Chem Soc, 130, 6914-5 (2008).

Ludwig C, Marin-Montesinos I, Sauners MG and Günther UL. 'Optimizing the Polarization Matrix for ex Situ Dynamic Nuclear Polarization'. J Am Chem Soc 132(8), 2508-9 (2010).

Ludwig C, Saunders M, Marin-Montesinos I, Günther, UL. 'Quantum Rotor Induced Hyperpolarization'. Proc Nat Acad Sci U.S.A., in press.

Ludwig C, Marin-Montesinos I, Günther UL. 'Rapid two-dimensional NMR Spectra for ex situ Dynamic Nuclear Polarization'. PCCP, in press.n

Binding Properties and Structures of Proteins

U. L. Günther, Y. Liu, D. Sanford, W.W. Bachovchin, and B. Schaffhausen. 'NMR analysis of interactions of a PI-3 kinase SH2 domain with phosphotyrosine peptides reveals interdependence of major binding sites'. Biochemistry 35, 15570-15581 (1996).

T. Weber; B. Schaffhausen; Y. Liu; U. Günther. 'Structure of p85 N-SH2 complexed with a doubly phosphorylated peptide reveals second phosphotyrosine binding site'. Biochemistry, 39, 15860 (2000)

UL Günther, B Schaffhausen. 'NMRKIN: Simulating lineshapes derived from two-dimensional spectra of proteins'. J. Biomol. NMR. 22(3), 201-209 (2002)

U. Gunther, T. Mittag, B. Schaffhausen. 'Probing SH2 Domain Ligand Interactions by Differential Line Broadening'. Biochemistry, 41(39), 11658-11669 (2002)

U. L. Günther, B. Weyrauch, X. Zhang, and B. Schaffhausen. 'The NMR Structure of the P395S mutant of the N-SH2 domain of the p85 subunit of PI3-kinase: An SH2 domain with altered specificity'. Biochemistry, 42, 11120-7 (2003)

T. Mittag, B. Schaffhausen and U. Günther. 'Tracing structural intermediates in ligand binding'. E. Biophys. J. 32(3), 243 (2003)

T. Mittag, B. Schaffhausen, and U. L. Günther. 'Direct Observations of Protein Ligand Interaction Kinetics'. Biochemistry, 42, 11128-36 (2003)

T. Mittag , B. Schaffhausen and U. L. Günther. 'Tracing Kinetic Intermediates in Ligand Binding'. J.Am.Chem.Soc. 126(29), 9017-23 (2004)

T. Mittag, L. Franzoni, D. Cavazzini, B. Schaffhausen, G.L. Rossi and U.L. Günther, 'Retinol Modulates Site-specific Mobility of apo-Cellular Retinol-Binding Protein to Promote Ligand Binding', J.Am.Chem.Soc., 128(30), 9844-8 (2006).

Ludwig, C, Michiels, PJA Wu, X, Kavanagh, KL, Pilka, E, Jansson, A, Oppermann, U, Günther, UL. 'SALMON: Solvent Accessibility, Ligand binding and Mapping of ligand Orientation by NMR spectroscopy'. J Med Chem, 51(1), 1-3 (2007) (Rated 'must read' by Faculty1000Biology).

C. Ludwig, P.J.A. Michiels, A. Lodi, J. Ride, C. Bunce, U.L. Günther, 'Evaluation of Solvent Accessibility Epitopes for Different Dehydrogenase Inhibitors', ChemMedChem, 3(9):1371-6. (2008).

Christian Ludwig and Ulrich Günther. 'Ligand based NMR methods for Drug Discovery' (review). Frontiers in Bioscience, 14, 4565-74 (2009). Available here.

P.J.A. Michiels, C. Ludwig, M., Stephan, C. Fischer, G. Möller, J. Adamski, M. van Dongen, H., Thole, U.L. Günther. 'Ligand based NMR spectra demonstrate an additional phytoestrogen binding site for 17-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type-1'. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 117, 93-98 (2009). .

Konstantin Knoblich, Tao Jiang, Brian Schaffhausen & Ulrich Günther. 'NMR Backbone assignment of the a 28kD N-terminal Region of the Partially Folded Polyoma Large T Antigen'. Biomol NMR Assign. 3(1), 119-23 (2009)

Atkins K, Michiels P, Ludwig V, Witthaker S, vanDongen M, Günther U. 'Assignment of the Orphan Nuclear Receptor Nurr1 by NMR'. Biomol NMR Assign. Epub ahead of print (2010).