Sir Alan Fersht FMedSci FRS

Alan Fersht is an organic chemist who has led pioneering studies into the folding and stability of proteins. By applying a broad range of analytical and engineering techniques, Alan has been able to examine the way in which cancerous mutations affect proteins throughout the lifecycle of their host cells.

Long fascinated by the complex systems involved in structural biology, Alan has been a significant contributor to the study of enzymes, as well as one of the founders of protein engineering. The approaches he developed in this field have led to an improved understanding of protein structure and activity, and inspired new treatments for a number of diseases.

Widely recognised for his contributions across chemistry and biology, Alan is a member of many of the world’s most prestigious scientific societies. Amongst his numerous awards, he holds the Royal Society’s Copley, Gabor, Davey and Royal medals, and has been honoured with a knighthood for his work on protein science.

Professional position

  • Emeritus, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
  • , Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology

    Biochemistry and molecular biology

  • Chemistry

    Chemistry, biological


  • Copley Medal

    He has developed and applied the methods of protein engineering to provide descriptions of protein folding pathways at atomic resolution, revolutionising our understanding of these processes.

  • Davy Medal

    In recognition for his pioneering work on the analysis of proteins by combining the methods and ideas of physical-organic chemistry with those of protein engineering thus illuminating such processes as enzymatic catalysis, protein folding, protein-protein

  • Gabor Medal

    In recognition of his pioneering work in the use of protein engineering to study protein structure and enzyme function.

  • Royal Medals

    For his seminal work in protein engineering, which he has developed into a fundamental tool in enzyme analysis and the problem of protein folding.

Sir Alan Fersht FMedSci FRS
Elected 1983