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

Professor Helle Porsdam

Humanities Society: Science as a Cultural Human Right

24/05/2022 at 17.45

Join Professor Helle Porsdam for an evening talk which focuses on the right to science – a little known but potentially powerful human right.

Ellie Bladon, PhD student in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Science Society: Parental care: an evolutionary case of “use it or lose it”

27/05/2022 at 17.45

Phenotypic plasticity enables animals to flexibly adjust their behaviour to their social environment – sometimes through the expression of adaptive traits that have not been exhibited for several generations. The ability to revive these ‘ghosts of adaptations past’ could prove beneficial for populations living in a changing world.

Decorative image.

Working on Your Dissertation

28/05/2022 at 10.00

This workshop will cover several aspects of formatting and proofreading a dissertation.

Kill or Cure poster

Art exhibition: 'Kill or Cure'

28/05/2022 at 10.00

Lethal or life-giving? Wolfson's exciting contemporary art exhibition explores the potential of animals, plants, and substances from the natural world to ‘Kill’ and/or ‘Cure’ (open to the public Saturday and Sundays, 10am - 5pm).

Daniel Phillips playing violin and Victor Wang playing Piano

Music Society Lunchtime Concert: Daniel Phillips & Victor Wang

28/05/2022 at 13.30

Join us live in the Lee Hall for an hour-long lunchtime concert of violin and piano, performed by Daniel Phillips and Victor Wang.