Andrew McLachlan was distinguished for his theoretical work in chemical physics and molecular biology. He focused his career on studying chemical processes from the point of view of physics and understanding the interactions between the various systems inside our cells. Andrew pioneered powerful methods for interpreting and analysing the sequences and structures of DNA and proteins.
In 1987, alongside biochemists Michael Gribskov and David Eisenberg, he introduced the method of ‘profile comparison’ — a way to detect and evaluate similar or repeated protein sequences that provided a foundation for later approaches. Additionally, his studies also revealed that many proteins evolve by duplications of a motif.
Andrew also made contributions to the field of magnetic resonance. He was a member of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge from 1967–2006. Together with colleague Alan Carrington, a leading spectroscopist and chemist, he wrote a classic textbook about magnetic resonance.