Dr Darren Flower

Research Group

Molecular Biomedical Research

Research Centre

Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) 

Dr Darren Flower
Dr Darren Flower
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.
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. 
I will be teaching on at least two courses: the MPharm and the MSC in Drug Design.

Archilochos (Ἀρχίλοχος) (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. 

  • BBSRC Grant: India Partnering Award 1713: Anglo-Indian Immunoinformatics: delivering in silico vaccinology. £24.5K over 3 years. 

  • Wellcome Trust Grant: Ref 079287. Identification of CD8 epitopes in cattle pathogens by systematic synergistic analysis of peptide specificity and 3D structures of cattle MHC class I. ~£280K over 3 years. 

  • BBSRC Grant: Ref: BB/D004020/1. Robust experimental definition & computational prediction of peptide binding specificity of the Major Histocompatability Complex allele HLA-Cw*0102. ~£231K over 3 years. 

  • EPSRC Grant: Ref: EP/D501377/1. A Synergistic Integration of Natural and Artificial Immunology for the Prediction of Hierarchical Protein Functions. ~£430K over 2.5 years. 

  • Royal Society Grant: International Incoming Short Visits. ~4K for 2 months 2006.
Keen to supervise as the opportunity arises.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Editorial Positions

  • I am Editor-in-Chief for Immunology and Immunogenetics Insights
  • I am Editor-for-Europe for Current Computer-Aided Drug Design
  • I am an Associate Editor for BioInformation
  • I am a Section Editor for Immunomics Research
  • I am a member of the Editorial Advisory Panel of the Biochemical Journal

I am also a member of following Editorial Boards:

  • The Open Vaccine Journal
  • The Open Proteomics Journal
  • The Open Organic Chemistry Journal
  • The Open Natural Products Journal
  • Evolutionary Bioinformatics
  • Current Drug Discovery Technologies
I was formerly a member of the Editorial Board of Applied Bioinformatics (now defunct).

I am one of Biomed Central’s HOT 100 2006 and 2007.


Bioinformatics for Vaccinology. Wiley, Author: Flower, DR. WileyBlackwell. 2008. ISBN-10: 0470027118. ISBN-13: 978-0470027110.

Edited books:

  • Bioinformatics for Immunomics (IIMS series). Springer. Editors: Davies MN, Ranganathan S, and Flower DR. Springer. 2009. ISBN-10: 1441905391. ISBN-13: 978-1441905390 

  • Immunoinformatics: predicting immunogenicity in silico. Editor: Flower, DR. Methods in Molecular Biology series, Humana Press. ISBN: 978-1-58829-699-3 (print). ISBN: 978-1-60327-118-9 (Online). 

  • In silico Immunology. Editors: Flower, DR and Timmis, J. Springer, 2006. ISBN-10: 0-387-39238-6 ISBN-13: 978-0-387-39238-7. 

  • Lipocalins. Editors: Flower, DR, Salier, JP, Akerstrom B, Borregarrd, N. Landes Press. 2006. ISBN: 1-58706-297-6. 

  • Drug Design: Cutting Edge Approaches. Editor: Flower, DR, The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 1st edition, March 2002. Hardcover, 192pp. ISBN: 0854048162. ISBN-13: 978-0854048168

 Selected publications