Samuel Roberts

Dr Samuel Roberts


Sam is a postdoctoral research associate at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology working on the chemistry of the origins of life, with a particular interest in the development of coded peptide synthesis.

Samuel Roberts

After completing his undergraduate masters in Chemistry at Oxford in 2014, Sam moved to UCL to study for a PhD under Professor Matthew Powner. At UCL his work focused on studying the origins of nucleotides on Earth and it was here that he developed his interest in canonical biological molecules vs xeno-biological molecules - asking why is life based on RNA? In 2018 he took a break from prebiotic chemistry and moved to Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian FRS’s lab at the Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry in Cambridge. There he worked on epigenetic marks in DNA focusing on G-quadruplexes. He also took on a voluntary secondment at the COVID-19 PCR testing centre at the Anne Maclaren building as part of a collaboration between GSK, Astra Zeneca and the University of Cambridge during the first wave of the 2020 pandemic. He started his current position at the MRC-LMB in April 2021.


Sam’s current work focuses on the origins of the mechanisms of translation in Biology i.e. how genetic code gets converted into proteins. These studies have centered around building tRNA – the molecule which ensures the correct amino acid matches the correct codon sequence - in a prebiotically plausible manner. He and his colleagues are supervised by Professor John Sutherland FRS. Sam is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and supervises undergraduate chemistry for the natural sciences courses. He also takes part in outreach events for the MRC and the university, such as the I’m a Scientist – Pandemic Prevention Zone for the Royal Institution and Microscopes4Schools competition. 


What's on

'You' by Gavin Fry

Art Exhibition: 'Things Put Differently'

03/06/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Things Put Differently' featuring Gavin Fry and works by Anthony Green and Mary Cozens-Walker.

Photo of artist Gurpran Rau holding a piece of her artwork

Art Exhibition: 'Patterns of Renewal'

03/06/2023 at 10.00

We're delighted to be the first to display Gurpran Rau's latest exhibition 'Patterns of Renewal', featuring a series of paintings created during lockdown inspired by her walks in the woods of Cambridgeshire.

A poster for the publicity of the event Solutions to Plastic Pollution. The event details are shown on a blue-ash green background in both white and black text. To the right is an image of a plastic water bottle and a recycling sign on the front of it.

Solutions to Plastic Pollution

05/06/2023 at 17.00

Join us on the 50th World Environment Day for an engaging panel discussion and keynote speech on solutions to plastic pollution.

Inger Mewburn

Kicking the can down the road: How to create research impact in seven (not so easy) steps

06/06/2023 at 17.30

We hear terms like ‘research impact’ and ‘engagement’ all the time, but what does ‘impact’ and ‘engagement’ actually look like in practice?