Dr Darren Flower

Darren Flower

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I am a truly interdisciplinary scientist. I am an innovative specialist in bioinformatics, computational chemistry, and cheminformatics, with unique experience of the pre-clinical research environment in both academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

I am a world leader in the area of Immunoinformatics, the application of informatics techniques to immunological biomacromolecules and immune systems.

My past experience includes a PhD in Structural Biology, 7 years doing drug design in the pharmaceutical industry, and 10 years in preclinical vaccine design and discovery.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and I chair its Molecular Modelling Group.

I am the author of ~140 papers, including 1 citation classic (400+ citations) and 12 mini-classics (100+ citations); I am a member of 11 Editorial Boards.

I am the editor of 5 books. I am one of BMCs HOT 100 authors 2006 and 2007. I wrote the monograph: Bioinformatics for Vaccinology.

Research interests

Archilochos (?????????) (c680-645 BC), the ancient greek poet famously said: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Though not remotely vulpine, I am nonetheless a Fox by this definition. I have many research interests, many more than my track-record can attest. I see Aston as the place to develop these interests and discover many more.

More specifically, my initial research objectives lie at the intersection of drug design and immunology. My greatest accomplishments lie in the field of Immunoinformatics, and thus many of my goals lie in that area: in silico, in vitro, and in vivo discovery of novel small-molecule adjuvants; epitope identification leveraging a range of techniques; and also the discovery of novel whole protein antigens as candidate vaccines.

At the same time, I also anticipate developing research in other including bioinformatics, cheminformatics, and the molecular dynamic simulation of semi-stochastic systems.

Teaching Activity

PH2504: X-ray crystallography, drug design methodology.
PH2507: Scientific communication.
PH3605: Drug design methodology, computational chemistry, immunoinformatics and vaccine discovery.
PH3608: Scientific communication, research methodology.
PH4704: Research methodology.


  • BSc, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London, 1988.
  • ARCS, Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London, 1988. 
  • Wellcome Prize PhD in Molecular Biophysics. Thesis Title: Structural Studies of the Lipocalin Protein Family. University of Leeds, 1992.
  • Chartered Chemist, Royal Society of Chemistry, 1995.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2005.


I joined Aston as a Reader in the School of Life and Health Sciences in January 2010 after 4 years as a Jenner Fellow and Principal Investigator at the University of Oxford, following 6 years as a Senior Group Leader at the Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research, and 7 years as a Principal Research Chemist with Astra Pharmaceuticals. 

PhD Supervision

Keen to supervise as the opportunity arises.

Membership of Professional Bodies

Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Make PhD enquiry

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Clinical and Systems Neuroscience

Organisational unit: School

  1. VaxiJen Dataset of Bacterial Immunogens: An Update

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Computational design of a legacy-based epitope vaccine against Human Cytomegalovirus

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  3. Proteochemometrics for the prediction of peptide binding to multiple HLA class II proteins

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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  1. Immunology and Immunogenetics Insights (Journal)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

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