Professor James Tucker BSc, PhD

Professor James Tucker

School of Chemistry
Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry

Contact details

School of Chemistry
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Jim Tucker is a Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry and a former EPSRC Leadership Fellow (2009-2014).

He runs an active research group focused on the design and study of supramolecular systems and functional DNA-based assemblies. For more information on his research, please visit his group website.


  • PhD in Chemistry 1993, King’s College London
  • BSc in Chemistry 1989, King’s College London
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)


After completing his PhD at King’s College London in 1993, Jim undertook two postdoctoral fellowships, firstly in Prof Eiichi Kimura’s group in Hiroshima University, Japan (1993-4) and then in Nobel Prize winner Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn’s group at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France (1994-5).

In 1995, he returned to the UK to take up a Lectureship in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Exeter. In 2005, Jim moved to the University of Birmingham and from 2009 to 2014 held an EPSRC Leadership Fellowship on Functional DNA Assemblies.


Teaching Programmes

  • Supramolecular Devices (MSci Chemistry 4th year course)

Postgraduate supervision

Jim has an active research group. For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Research Themes 

  • DNA synthesis and DNA sensing
  • Modified nucleosides and nucleic acids
  • Supramolecular chemistry including functional receptor design, photochromic systems and interlocked structures
  • Ferrocene and anthracene chemistry
  • Molecular motion
  • Chiral sensing
  • Bioorganometallic chemistry and medicinal chemistry

Research Activity

Research in the Tucker group is focused primarily on the design and study of functional supramolecular and DNA-based systems, which often contain redox-active or photo-active sub-units. Students and postdocs receive training in a variety of techniques, including molecular synthesis, DNA synthesis, fluorescence spectroscopy and electrochemistry.

For more information on current projects, many of which involve collaborations with research groups in the UK and abroad, please visit the group website.

Other activities

  • EPSRC Peer Review College member (since 1998) 
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry 
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Chem. Soc. Rev. 
  • Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Supramolecular Chemistry. 


  • Ultrarapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using a reverse transcription–free exponential amplification reaction, RTF-EXPAR, JG Carter, LO Iturbe, JHA Duprey, IR Carter, CD Southern, M Rana, CM Whalley, A Bosworth, AD Beggs, MR Hicks, JHR Tucker, TR Dafforn Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2021, 118, e2100347118
  • Role of Order in the Mechanism of Charge Transport across Single-Stranded and Double-Stranded DNA Monolayers in Tunnel Junctions, NK Gupta, EA Wilkinson, SK Karuppannan, L Bailey, Ay Vilan, Z Zhang, D Qi, A Tadich, EM Tuite, AR Pike, JHR Tucker, CA Nijhuis. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 20309–20319

  • Cisplatin adducts of DNA as precursors for nanostructured catalyst materials. K Englert, R Hendi, PH Robbs, NV Rees, APG. Robinson, JHR Tucker, Nanoscale Advances, 2020

  • Effect of Regiochemistry and Methylation on theAnticancer Activity of a Ferrocene-ContainingOrganometallic Nucleoside Analogue.  MK Ismail, Z Khan, M Rana, SL Horswell, Louise Male, HV Nguyen, A. Perotti, I Romero-Canelón, EA. Wilkinson, NJ Hodges, and JHR Tucker. ChemBioChem, 2020, 21, 2487-2494
  •  Light-controlled thrombin catalysis and clot formation using a photoswitchable G-quadruplex DNA aptamer. A Ali, B Cross, HA Little, GA Bullen, J Manchester, TR Dafforn, AFA Peacock, JHR Tucker. Chem. Commun., 2019, 55, 5627-5630
  • Rationalisation of a mechanism for sensing single point variants in target DNA using anthracene- tagged base discriminating probes. JLHA Duprey, DM Bassani, EI Hyde, G Jonusauskas, C Ludwig, A Rodger, Neil Spencer, JS Vyle, J Wilkie, ZY Zhao, JHR Tucker. Org. Biomol. Chem. 2018, 16, 6576-6585
  • Duprey, J.L.H.A., Carr-Smith, J., Horswell, S.L., Kowalski, J., Tucker, J.H.R. (2016), Macrocyclic Metal Complex-DNA Conjugates for Electrochemical Sensing of Single Nucleobase Changes in DNA, J. Am. Chem. Soc.,138: 746-748

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