Dr Anna Peacock MChem, PhD

Dr Anna Peacock

School of Chemistry
Reader in Bioinorganic Chemistry

Contact details

School of Chemistry
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Anna is a Reader in Bioinorganic Chemistry in the School of Chemistry. She leads the Peacock Research Group, a diverse, vibrant and enthusiastic group of researchers working at the interface of inorganic chemistry and peptide design. The group are focused on developing novel metallopeptides capable of function beyond the repertoire of biology.


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, University of Birmingham (2012)
  • PhD in Bioinorganic Chemistry, University of Edinburgh (2007)
  • MChem (Hons), University of York (2003)


Anna Peacock grew up in The Netherlands, but graduated from the University of York (UK) with a MChem in 2003. Here, she was first exposed to Bioinorganic Chemistry research when she performed her dissertation project with Professor Robin Perutz and Dr Anne-Kathrin Duhme-Klair. She then went on to complete a PhD under the supervision of Professor Peter Sadler FRS at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) in 2007.

After this Anna moved to a post-doctoral position at the University of Michigan (USA) with Professor Vincent Pecoraro. In 2009 she joined the School of Chemistry here at the University of Birmingham, and was promoted to Reader in Bioinorganic Chemistry in 2019.


Anna is involved in various teaching activities in the School of Chemistry. Current lecture courses include Chemistry of the d-block, and Bioinorganic & Coordination Chemistry.

Postgraduate supervision

Research projects in the Peacock group provide excellent training for anyone wishing to conduct research in bioinorganic chemistry and metallopeptide design. 

Potential applicants interested in joining the group are encouraged to contact Dr Peacock directly by email.


The Peacock group is interested in the de novo (from “first-principles”) design of functional metallopeptides. Specifically, the group focuses on the use of designed artificial miniature protein folds as novel ligands for metal ions. These miniature protein scaffolds offer unprecedented opportunities to exploit the advantages afforded by biomolecules, yet with the simplicity more commonly encountered in small molecule inorganic chemistry complexes.

Importantly the group is focused on the use of these as ligands for metal ions with no known biological role, but with attractive chemistries, so as to develop biology-chemistry hybrids with new functions for new applications. To date the group has extensively explored the coordination of lanthanides to coiled coils.

We are able to effectively tune the lanthanide coordination chemistry and resulting physical properties using peptide design, which has included exploring their potential for use as MRI contrast agents.

Other activities

Selected Professional Societies, Activities, Service and Awards

  • Member of the EPSRC Associate Peer Review College
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 
  • 2016 IBDG RSC Young Investigator Award.
  • Member of the RSC Division Review Advisory Group
  • Member of the RSC Research Fund Working Group
  • Elected member of the RSC Chemistry Biology Interface Division (CBID) Council
  • Editorial Board Member for Transition Metal Chemistry
  • Elected member of the RSC Dalton Division Council
  • RSC Inorganic Biochemistry Discussion Group (IBDG) Committee Member 
  • Member of EU COST Action CM1105: Functional metal complexes that bind to biomolecules (2012-2016)
  • Member of EU COST Action D39: Metallo-Drug Design & Action (2009-2012)
  • Leader of Working Group 3 for EU COST Action CM1105 (2015 – 2016)


Selected publications

  • Newton, S. L.; Franke, A.; Zahl, A.; Molinaro, G.; Kenwright, A.; Smith, D. J.; Ivanovic-Burmazovic, I.; Britton, M. M.; Peacock, A. F. A., “Understanding the mechanism by which Gd(III) coiled coils achieve magnetic resonance relaxivity – a study into the water coordination chemistry“, Dalton Trans., 2023, 52, 15665-15668.
  • Shah, A.; Taylor, M. J.; Molinaro, G.; Anbu, S.; Verdu, M.; Jennings, L.; Mikulska, I.; Diaz-Moreno, S.; Mkami, H. E. L.; Smith, G. M.; Britton, M. M.; Lovett, J. A.; Peacock, A. F. A., “Design of the elusive proteinaceous oxygen donor copper site suggests a promising future for copper for MRI contrast agents“, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA., 2023, 120, e2219036120
  • Slope, L. N.; Daubney, O. J.; Campbell, H.; White, S. A.; Peacock, A. F. A., “Location Dependent Lanthanide Selectivity Engineered into Structurally Characterized Designed Coiled Coils“, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021
  • Webster, A. M.; Peacock A. F. A., “De novo designed coiled coils as scaffolds for lanthanides, including novel imaging agents with a twistChem. Commun., 2021, 57, 6851-6862
  • Peacock, A. F. A.; Iranzo, O. Special issue on Designing functional metallo-biomoleculesJ. Inorg. Biochem., 2021, 222, 111515.
  • Peacock, A. F. A. Can proteins be truly designed sans function?Science, 2020, 369, 1166-1167. 
  • Slope, L. N.; Hill, M. G.; Smith, C. F.; Teare, P.; de Cogan, F. J.; Britton, M. M.; Peacock, A. F. A. “Tuning Coordination Chemistry Through the Second Sphere in Designed Metallocoiled Coils” Chem. Comm., 2020, 56, 3729-3732.
  • Teare, P.; Smith, C. F.; Adams, S. J.; Sellamuthu, A.; Ciani, B.; Jeuken, L. J. C.; Peacock, A. F. A. “pH dependent binding in de novo heterobimetallic coiled coils”, Dalton Trans., 2018, 47, 10784. Invited contribution - New Talent in Europe Special Issue.
  • Sweeney, S. M.; Bullen, G. A.; Gillis, R; Adams, G. G.; Rowe, A. J.; Harding, S.; Tucker, J. H. R.; Peacock, A. F. A. *; Murphy, P. V.* “Coiled coil type N-glycoproteins presenting three lactose residues” Tetrahedron Lett., 2016, 57, 1414.
  • Peacock, A. F. A. “Recent advances in designed coiled coils and helical bundles with inorganic prosphetic groups - from structural to functional applications” Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol., 2016, 31, 160.
  • Berwick, M. R.; Slope, L. N.; Smith, C.; King, S. M.; Newton, S. L.; Gillis, R; Adams, G.; Rowe, A.; Harding, S.; Britton, M. M.; Peacock, A. F. A. “Location dependent coordination chemistry and MRI relaxivity, in de novo designed lanthanide coiled coils” Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 2207.
  • Slope, L. N.; Peacock, A. F. A. “De Novo Design of Xeno-Metallo Coiled Coils” Chem. As. J., 2016, 11, 660.
  • Bullen, G. A.; Tucker, J. H. R.; Peacock, A. F. A. “Exploiting anthracene photodimerization within peptides: light inducedsequence selective DNA binding” Chem. Commun. 2015, 51, 8130.

View all publications in research portal