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

Photograph by Hannah Lister

Art Exhibition: 'Signs for the Living'

04/02/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Signs for the Living' featuring work by Hannah Lister, winner of this year's Wolfson Royal Academy Schools Graduate prize.


Lent Term College Service

07/02/2023 at 18.15

Wolfson's termly College Service led by our ecumenical Chaplaincy Team.

Old photograph album in the foreground; basket of old documents in the background

WolfWorks - Research data management for your dissertation or thesis

11/02/2023 at 10.00

A hands-on session to help you manage your data - whether copies of archival documents, interview transcripts, code or physical samples.

Photograph by Hannah Lister

Hannah Lister: Signs for the Living Exhibition Opening Event

14/02/2023 at 17.30

We warmly invite you to the opening night of Wolfson’s new exhibition: Hannah Lister - Signs for the Living.