Professor Marcel Jaspars

Professor Marcel Jaspars
FRSE, FRSC, CChem, BA Hons (Cantab), PhD (Dublin), ScD (Cantab)

Chair in Chemistry

Professor Marcel Jaspars
Professor Marcel Jaspars

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272895
fax 01224 272921
The University of Aberdeen Meston Building Room G21

Marine Biodiscovery Centre



  • Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of Aberdeen, 2003-
  • Sabbatical at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, 2004
  • Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry, University of Aberdeen, 2000-2003
  • Lecturer in Organic Chemistry, University of Aberdeen, 1995-2000
  • Post-Doc, Crews Lab, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1993-1995
  • Post-Doc, Burgess Lab, Texas A & M University, 1992-1993



  • Sc.D. Cantab, 2018
  • PhD in Davis group, Trinity College, Dublin, Eire entitled "Electrophilic Catalysis of the Sakurai Reaction", 1987-1991
  • BA (Hons) Cantab, Natural Sciences (Chemistry), 1987



  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Research Development Fellow, 2006-2009
  • American Society of Pharmacognosy Matt Suffness Award for young investigators, 2003
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Chartered Chemist


Industrial Involvement:

  • Adviser to GlycoMar, Oban, CEO: Dr Charlie Bavington
  • Adviser to Aquapharm, Oban, CEO: Dr Andrew Mearns-Spragg 




Research Interests

"Some chemists, having synthesised a few compounds believe themselves to be better chemists than nature, which, in addition to synthesising compounds too numerous to mention, synthesised those chemists as well."

"Form follows function" benchmarks can serve as predictions for how Darwinian organisms ought to work. The more uncannily the engineering specifications for a system match the facts of the organism, the more confidently we can infer that the organism was selected to perform that function.

Steven Pinker, Nature 2000, 404, 441

It is often said that 'form follows function' and this can be shown to be true of many biological systems. We are particularly interested in showing the converse for those marine natural products whose functions have yet to be defined. My premise is that we can infer the true biological/ecological function of a natural product by careful study of its form using spectroscopic and physicochemical techniques. This type of investigation is the main theme of our research program. In addition we are taking examples from nature and modifying them in order to carry out alternative functions.

Visit the Marine Biodiscovery Centre website


Teaching Responsibilities

Professor Jaspars teaches in the following courses: 

1st year General Chemistry (1st half session)

1st year Organic Chemistry (2nd half session)

3rd year Organic Spectroscopy

4th year Organic Spectroscopy

5th year Organic Spectroscopy

Further Info

External Responsibilities

2007-2012 Visiting Professor at MabCent, University of Tromsø, Norway 

2008-     On the Scientific Advisory Board of MabCent, Tromsø, Norway

2009-  Member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Subcommittee on Biotechnology

2010- Member of the Industrial Biotechnology Sector Group of the Biosciences Knowledge Transfer Network

2010 -   UK member of the Marine Biotechnology working group of the European Science Foundation's Marine Board Marine Biotechnology Working Group that authored the report "Marine Biotechnology – A European Strategy"


"Organic Structure Analysis, 2nd Edition" Phillip Crews, Jaime Rodriguez and Marcel Jaspars. Oxford University Press, New York, 2010, 636 pp.